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If you have been hurt by another vehicle colliding with yours, does the word “accident” accurately describe the situation? Probably not, especially if the other driver was fully at fault for the crash. Many believe that the continued use of the word only serves to benefit personal injury defense attorneys and insurance companies. In fact, grass-roots efforts are underway to educate the public on the misleading use of “accident” and the impact that language can have on public perception.
Over the last couple years, two New York-based advocacy organizations hae joined forces to launch a campaign discouraging the use of the word. Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives began an online pledge drive to eliminate the presuppositions created by the word “accident.” “An ‘accident’ implies that nothing could have done to prevent [it],” said Amy Cohen, founder of Families for Safe Streets. By referring to a crash as an accident, the groups maintain, it creates the perception that nobody should bear responsibility. In many cases, a party can and should be held responsible for causing the collision.
Power of Language
Choosing other words, proponents believe, will force a more honest conversation and open the door to in-depth inquiries. “If we stopped using that word,” said Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, “as individuals, as a city, in a national context, what questions do we have to start asking ourselves about these crashes?”
The campaign itself points out that prior to efforts to create safer workplaces, employers would call on-the-job injuries “accidents.” Before the nationwide crackdown on drunk driving and liability, drivers who crashed while under the influence would claim “it was an accident.” Conversely, news reports do not run headlines about airplane accidents; they are crashes. When a crash occurs, authorities and the public want answers as to who or what was responsible.
For too long, advocates say, public perception has been that traffic “accidents” simply happen as a part of life, like weather events or dropping a dish. They hope, by making linguistic adjustments, mentalities may begin to change, eventually leading to a new approach in public policy, traffic laws, and roadway design.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in any type of car crash, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in DuPage County for guidance with your case. Call 630-920-8855 to schedule your free initial consultation at Martoccio & Martoccio today.
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