The word “accident” is used to describe an event that happened without an apparent cause. So when it is applied to car and truck collisions, it’s clearly the wrong word for an injury lawyer or anybody to use.
Consider just a few of the horrible crashes, collision, and wrecks, that happened on our Dallas Fort Worth roads this weekend that could have easily been prevented with safe driving:
God did not make the DWI, texting and speeding happen
Human error is the primary cause of most vehicular crashes but insurance companies love to use this euphemism to minimize the severity of the crash. The word “accident” is used by them to let their drivers off the hook when their careless actions cause a crash. You know, stuff happens. Noone’s perfect. Get over it.
The New York Times reports that only about 6 percent of crashes are caused by weather, vehicular malfunctions or other nonhuman-related factors. But even these factors may actually have human conduct at their roots. For example, the GM and Takata “malfunctions” resulted from manufacturer negligence and purposeful cover-ups that could have been prevented by the people who worked for these corporations.
Most traffic incidents are caused by drivers’ behavior, such as drinking, texting, talking on the telephone, speeding or engaging in other reckless or distracting conduct. Accident conveys that nobody was at fault when in fact the driver’s conduct was clearly to blame.
Change the words, change the attitude, change the outcome
The New York Times notes that a new movement has arisen to change the misleading semantics in order to change attitudes about why car collisions occur. The idea is that if language better conveys car collisions as preventable events over which drivers maintain control, drivers’ deeper understanding about their role in the occurrence of these events will follow.
The transportation departments of 28 states (not Texas) have replaced the word “accident” and newspapers now refuse to use it. A grassroots effort has also taken hold. There are groups like Families for Safe Streets, founded by a woman whose son was mowed down by a car in New York and who writes a blog called Crash Not Accident.
This is an important issue. Traffic deaths killed about 38,000 people 2015, an increase of almost 8 percent. We can’t just pretend this tremendous waste of lives isn’t happening or minimize it, like the way we say “he passed.”
Our Fort Worth law firm Berenson Injury Law advocates for safer drivers, roads, automobiles. We don’t let insurance attorneys and adjusters call wrecks “accidents.” They didn’t have to happen. We fight to make insurance companies take responsibility for their negligent policyholder’s bad driving when they kill and injure innocent drivers.