The words accident and incident often sound the same at the first instance, but there exists a fine line of difference between these two. While ‘accident‘ refers to a sudden unexpected and undesirable occurrence, which caused physical injury or any kind of harm or loss. On the other hand, ‘incident‘ can be understood as an uncommon occurrence or event, that can disturb any person’s daily routine.
- Many people died in the bus accident. The whole incident was caught in the nearby hotel’s CCTV camera.
- Can you tell us something about the incident? What caused the accident?
In the first example, the word ‘accident’ is used for tragedy, whereas the word ‘incident’ represents the instance. In the second example, the word ‘incident’ is used for the word ‘case’. Unlike, ‘accident’ is used for the mishap.
Content: Accident Vs Incident
|Basis for Comparison||Accident||Incident|
|Meaning||Accident means an unfortunate event that occurs suddenly unexpectedly, that causes damage or injury.||Incident is said to be the happening of an unusual event which may disturb the routine of a person.|
|Intent||Always unintentional||May or may not be intentional|
|Loss||An accident results in loss to property or even life.||An incident may result in loss or profit.|
|What is it?||Subset||Superset|
|Examples||He had an accident on Monday.||I was also there when the incident took place.|
|Alex died in an accident, last year.||That was a critical incident.|
|The reports said that it was not an accident but a murder.||We have read the entire incident on the newspaper.|
Definition of Accident
Any abrupt unforeseen and unfortunate event happening out of error, carelessness, negligence, etc. unintentionally, resulting in a loss, damage or physical injury to people is termed as an ‘Accident’. The word ‘accident’ has a negative meaning, which usually means mishap or casualty. Let’s look at the points given below to understand its usage:
- When something adverse takes place, which is not desirable, resulting in damage:
- Could you tell me the place where you met an accident?
- Do you have any idea of the accident?
- She took responsibility for the accident.
- A crash concerning car, plane, train, bus etc.:
- The couple died in a car accident.
- Seven people got injured in the accident, between bus and taxi.
- When something is not planned or intended:
- The baby was accidentally lost.
- Kate reached there by accident.
- Mistake causing a little harm or loss:
- It was just an accident.
Definition of Incident
Any isolated, random and sudden instance, action or situation which may not be common is called as an Incident.
An incident is a noteworthy event which may be good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, big or small, serious or trivial, intentional or unintentional, which gives experience or changes one’s way of living, thinking or dealing with something. Have a glance at its usage:
As a noun
- It denotes an unusual occurrence:
- After that incident, I am not able to face them.
- Surveillance cameras captured the entire incident.
- The report revealed a number of incidents that happened at the building in the past.
- All the college students involved in the incident are under police custody.
As an adjective
- It indicates resulting from:
- The development is incidental to change in the government policies.
- Falling upon or touching the surface:
- The incident wave.
- Dependent upon or related to:
- The event is incidental to the transaction.
- The increase in the selling of the product is incidental to the advertisement.
- The occurrence of an event concerning something of higher impact:
- The impact of the advertisement was incidental, not deliberate.
- The incidental expenses will be reimbursed to the field officer.
- To cover the incidental cost of the product, the company has to make some big changes.
Key Differences Between Accident and Incident
The difference between accident and incident are explained with the help of the points mentioned below:
- Accident implies any unpleasant event that occurs purely by chance, without any obvious or intentional cause, resulting in any kind of loss. Conversely, Incident may be defined as any event which may or may not be severe or pleasant, that did not cause damage or injury to people and property, but possesses the potential to do so.
- An accident is always unexpected and unintentional, whereas an incident can be intentional or unintentional, expected or unexpected.
- An accident always results in loss of life, physical injury or damage to property. Hence, its implication is always negative. On the other hand, the incident may be positive or negative, as it may not result in a loss to any person or property.
- Every accident is an incident, but the reverse is not true.
- I saw an accident when I was going to school.
- She told me about her accident.
- The accident took place in the evening.
- My views for Mr John are changed, after the incident.
- The incident raised doubt on the officer’s honesty.
- In the latest incident, the building was collapsed due to an earthquake.
How to remember the difference
In simple terms, we can use an accident for any natural event which takes place suddenly without any intention, resulting in some kind of loss to the person or property. As against, Incident can be any random event, which is noteworthy, that changes one’s habit, thinking or lifestyle. In other words, we can say that accident is nothing but an unfortunate incident.