Key Difference: The word accident has a negative implication and could result in loss of life, or damage to goods. An incident on the other hand can refer to any even that happens; it could be positive or negative.
Accident and incident are two different words that are often confused and used interchangeably, however, these words are different from each other and have different implications.
The word accident has a negative implication and could result in loss of life, or damage to goods. It means mishap, an unforeseen event or an unplanned circumstance that occur, with a most common negative outcome. The word has also been started to use in positive manner, where something that happens unexpectedly can also lead to go things.
The word ‘accident’ is defined by Merriam Webster as:
- an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance
- lack of intention or necessity: chance
- an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
- an unexpected and medically important bodily event especially when injurious
- an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought
- There was huge accident, which cost many lives on the bridge.
- Mike was injured in an accident at work.
- I accidently lost my keys.
- Running into Molly was a happy accident. (Positive implication)
An incident on the other hand can refer to any even that happens; it could be positive or negative. In many times, incident is often interchanged with accident, if it has a most positive implication. It is used to describe any incidents in general. Incidents usually have adjectives before the word, in order to explain the type of incident it is.
The word ‘incident’ is defined as:
- something dependent on or subordinate to something else of greater or principal importance
- an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience: happening
- an accompanying minor occurrence or condition
- an action likely to lead to grave consequences especially in diplomatic matters
- Two people were shot yesterday in two separate incidents.
- Many such incidents go unreported.
- Mary was shaken by the incident.
- The bombing caused an international incident.
In this manner, every accident can be an incident as incidents can have both a positive as well as a negative implication. However not all incidents can be termed as an accident.