Difference Between Accident And Incident

“Accident” and “Incident” are two distinct words that are frequently misunderstood and used interchangeably; nonetheless, these terms are distinct and have different meanings.

People try to infer situations that are incidents like accidents and vice-versa. To make things easy and understandable it is inevitable to understand the differences between an accident and an incident.

Accident Vs Incident

The main difference between accident and incident is that the word accident has a negative connotation and might result in death or property damage. On the other hand, an incident can refer to any event that occurs, whether positive or unpleasant.

Accident Vs Incident

The word accident has a negative connotation and might result in death or property damage. It refers to a mishap, an unanticipated incident, or an unanticipated scenario that occurs, usually with a negative effect.

The term has also begun to be used in a positive context, where something unexpected can lead to beneficial outcomes.

An incident is an occurrence, a happening. If a fight breaks out in a pub, the police can record it as an “incident” that occurred in that location.

Another situation can be presented as “If there are too many incidents, the liquor license may be revoked.”

Witnesses to a quarrel between an employee and the supervisor may refer to the encounter as “an incident.” The occurrences can be counted.

Comparison Table Between Accident And Incident

Parameters of ComparisonAccidentIncident
MeaningAn unexpected event that happens unintentionally causes bad results and leaves a person in a misfortune state by either causing loss, injury, damage, etc.An occurrence or event of something happening due to the result of something else that may be good or bad and can probably cause damage or loss.
Term derivationThe term accident is derived from Latin which means “to happen” or “fall upon”.The term incident is derived from Latin meaning “likely to happen, to happen or befall.”
Part of SpeechNounNoun/adjective according to the usage in a sentence.
ClassificationsAccidents at the workplace, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slips, etc are a few classifications of accidents.Incidents are primarily of three types and they are complex incidents, repetitive incidents, and major incidents.
SynonymsCalamity, casualty, disaster, hazard, mishap, setback, etc.An event, occasion, episode, experience, happening, proceeding, adventure, etc.

What is an Accident?

Accidents happen for a variety of reasons that can’t be predicted.

One can explain with a predicament, If a mechanical part fails on a vehicle that has been frequently maintained and the vehicle is involved in an ‘accident,’ and in an accident, the investigators will examine the suspected failed item from every viewpoint, including any other information available. 

The failed part is examined and even x-rayed during the investigation. One may argue that the failure of the item was due to metal fatigue, which has never happened previously.

If it happened again, however, one could argue that it was not an accident because the risk of failure was now acknowledged.

An accident occurs when a series of circumstances lead to an unforeseen conclusion.

Accidents can be terrible, such as when a car crash kills people, or they can be beneficial, such as when mould grows on a bacterial specimen, leading to the discovery of antibiotics.

When it comes to car accidents and personal injury, it’s popular these days to say that every accident can be avoided, and many emergency responders are promoting “crash” as an alternative word to “accident” only in case when referring to a motor vehicle collision. 

All accidents, according to the theory, can be avoided. Hence, accidents in life, in general, can be prevented.

What is an Incident?

An incident is anything that has occurred that is most likely outside the typical of a process’ expected outcome. 

A circumstance to explain the term, If two forklift drivers collide in a warehouse’s blind bend portion, the trucks collide but no one is hurt, that is an event (note not a near miss as the trucks made contact).

After that, an H&S inquiry should look into why it happened, including why it had never happened before and what, if anything, has changed.

It is possible that because there haven’t been any documented occurrences in years, the risk of a collision was overlooked at the time.

In its simplest form, an incident can be defined as an event that occurs, a task that is completed, or labor that is completed favorably. Usually obtained in a predetermined method.

Some people pay the price or receive a reward in an incident, for instance, Yuvraj Singh smashed six sixes in a row, here the batsman is receiving a reward for his hard work, and other tiny stories are based on incidents.

Some other examples of incidents include a person getting arrested after fighting in a bar. As here the incident is bad, the incident can also be good such as a person winning a cash prize in a live show.

Incidents are also unintentional like a person spilling coffee on his colleague.

Here the person’s intention could be unintentional and didn’t plan beforehand and also there wasn’t any injury or loss, the situation is bad but is not irrecoverable as in case of an accident.

Incidents are not always bad as accidents. Incidents can also lead to a whole new direction which can change something in someone’s life.

Main Differences Between Accident And Incident

  1. An accident describes the nature of a situation but the incident describes that situation itself.
  1. Accidents don’t involve near-miss situations whereas incidents involve near-miss situations.
  1. Accidents are always dangerous and could result in a loss but incidents are not always dangerous.
  1. Accidents are incidents but not vice versa.
  1. The word accident has negative connotations whereas the word incident has positive and negative connotations.
Difference Between Accident And Incident


Both terms “accidents” and “incidents” are unexpected events and both are preventable if taken adequate measures at any place.

The words accident and incident are used mostly and regularly by the media houses. Both terms are used to describe past, present, and future events. 

General circumstances cannot be referred to as accidents as regardless of the context of an event it can be termed as incidents. Alternatively, accidents can be known as incidents.

To avoid misinformation people should equip themselves with the difference between accident and incident. 

For example, using the word accident for a positive situation could result in putting the opposite person in unwanted tension.

Similarly, using the word incident to explain a terrible situation could result in negative implications or cluelessness of the event.


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