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The power of words

We use words to express our loves, fears, desires, hopes and more. As the meanings of words change and our wants and needs evolve over time, we alter the ways in which we communicate with each other.

One such change is taking place with the word "accident." It's a word we have all used to describe motor vehicle collisions, but is it the proper word? Maybe not.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "accident" means "something that happens by chance or without expectation; an event that is without apparent or deliberate cause." But the word is also used to describe those collisions that do have apparent and deliberate causes.

For example, think of collisions involving drunken drivers who speed, ignore traffic signals or allow their vehicles to stray into oncoming traffic. Is there an apparent and deliberate cause of the crashes resulting from their inebriated recklessness? It can be argued that the use of the word "accident" in these instances gives cover to drivers responsible for often terrible damage to innocent motorists and pedestrians.

Last month, the Associated Press acknowledged as much when it sent to copy editors around the world this simple message: "When negligence is claimed or proven, avoid 'accident,' which can be read as exonerating the person responsible."

Those are the kinds of incidents that we get involved in as well: when negligence is claimed or proven, and someone has suffered an injury as a result. We help accident injury victims fight back and hold reckless drivers accountable for the damage they do.

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The O'Connor Law Firm
45 Broadway, Suite 3020
New York, NY 10006

Toll Free: 800-724-1053
Phone: 212-566-4868
Fax: 212-208-2689
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