Generally speaking, the term “accident” implies that no one was at-fault, and works to downplay the most-common cause of car crashes: human error. Someone is almost always at-fault for a motor vehicle collision (except in extreme circumstances), so using the term “accident” is simply inaccurate and misleading 99.9% of the time. While it’s acceptable to interchange the terms when you are talking among friends and acquaintances, the choice of words can make a huge difference before a jury.
While in everyday conversation we refer to them as “car accidents,” official documents usually refer to them as car crashes, wrecks, or collisions. In fact, most states have now renamed their police “accident reports” as “crash reports.”
In legal terms, there is a difference between the word accident and crash. Terms such as crash, wreck, or collision provide a deeper understanding of what actually happened as opposed to simply saying “accident.” An accident could be many things not even connected with a car, while crash clearly implies a motor vehicle collision with no implied determination of fault.