Did you catch the news this morning? Chances are you got a link to a story about a traffic accident. It was awful. It was tragic. It was devastating. But it was an accident. It just happened. No one is to blame. Right? Wrong. We know better.
Planes don't just fall out of the sky. They crash. Trains don't just run off the tracks. They crash. And car drivers don't just accidently hit other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. They crash.
A car crash is not an accident.
In recent years, a movement has picked up steam. Advocating for transparency and neutral reporting in the news, it urges reporters, editors and the general public to think twice before automatically using the "A" word.
Accident implies that no one is responsible. Accident means nothing can be done to change it. Accident means it was an Act of God. And we are powerless to stop it. But that's not true. Ask any car crash survivor. They will set you straight. There is a reason why that survivor's life has been turned upside down. Why they were in the hospital for weeks or months on end. Why they suffered through multiple surgeries and then years of painful therapy. Why they missed their kids' graduations, hockey games and weddings. Why they lost their job and career. Why they are afraid to get behind the wheel or on the road at all. Another driver, or another human being responsible for bad road design or maintenance, made a choice. And that choice destroyed another person's world.
Old habits are hard to break. We automatically call a car crash a car accident because that's the way it's always been done. But sometimes we need to ask ourselves why we say what we say. Maybe it's time we say what we mean. It's time to call a crash a crash.
When you suspect that a crash survivor is being blamed for a devastating crash, be supportive. Be in the know. Read Martin Law's companion blog Blaming the Victims.
If you've been seriously injured in a car crash, call an experienced injury lawyer who knows that your car crash was not an accident.
Call Martin Law. Find Out Where You Stand.
Car Crash Survivors Deserve Better