Wrongly Accused: Criminal Defense 101

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A Crash Course In Culpability: Who Or What Caused Your Car Wreck?

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Auto accidents happen in a flash, and determining responsibility can be tricky. Many circumstances, including the wacky weather befalling the nation lately, influence culpability and even if you think Murphy's Law caused your car wreck, someone or something may actually be to blame.

Ice And Snow

A storm can swoop in quickly, leaving no time for town and city road crews to protect drivers with plowing and salting, but ice and snow that should have been taken care of by the time you drove upon it can be called into question. Although such circumstances may present tricky waters for an attorney to navigate, the legality of maintaining road safety and keeping up with conditions should be scrutinized, and it may very well be determined that the conditions directly leading to your accident were, indeed, preventable.

This type of case would fall under a poor road conditions suit and you must be able to show negligence, such as some kind of delay in sending out the plows and sanders or that a buildup of ice and snow from a previous storm was not properly cleared, contributing to your accident. It's important to note that you may share in responsibility, if some action taken (or not taken) by you also played a part in the mishap. In such cases, though, you'd still be able to sue, provided the city or town was also negligent in some way.

A Falling Tree

While trees are falling all over the world and all on their own at any given moment, if a tree adjacent to an accessible roadway (public or private) comes down and causes an accident, the circumstances should be questioned by an attorney. There are various conditions which could have affected the tree, many of which fall under the category of property maintenance. For example, an old tree, with visible signs of decay or disease would be the responsibility of the property owner; if they neglected their property, ignoring the obvious indications of danger, they could be held liable.

Your lawyer will find out if the property was looked after regularly, any work was done on the tree in question (which may indicate the owner had knowledge of a potential problem beforehand) and there were complaints registered with the property owner regarding the tree, such as neighbors complaining it was an eyesore due to its decrepit condition.


If you or another driver were under the influence of some medication at the time of an accident and the effects of the medication were not expected and mentioned to the person taking them, those circumstances, if they contributed to the wreck, should come into question. Although most medications will clearly indicate that the patient is advised against operating heavy equipment, such as a vehicle, unusual reactions are not unheard of with pharmaceuticals. It's quite possible that too much medication or not enough was prescribed or that the drug interfered in some other, unexpected manner.

When medication is suspected of being culpable in any accident, it's extremely important that all facts are brought to light, especially considering that medical records are private. You'll need a lawyer to sort it all out, no matter who caused the wreck under the influence of their prescribed medication. Long-lasting benzodiazepines, like those found in some insomnia and anti-anxiety prescriptions, for example, are suspected of increasing accidents among older folks by 45 percent, perhaps due to the fact that "long-lasting" can be different from person to person, and some may not realize they're still under the influence of the drug.


Windshield wipers, brakes, air bags and other potentially faulty equipment in a vehicle could have led to the accident and it's wise to ask an accident attorney to investigate the matter for you. Ultimately, they may discover no known defects and come to the conclusion that you only thought the wipers or brakes weren't working; however, it's certainly worth looking into and the information uncovered may help answer future questions, if your circumstances are repeated elsewhere.

You might begin with a search of known recalls for your car or specific equipment, but you should also speak with an accident attorney if mechanical defect or failure is suspected, no matter who was operating the vehicle or whether or not injuries were incurred.  

Maybe it was Murphy's Law that caused your car wreck, but if you don't have the surrounding circumstances fully circumvented by a professional legal team, you'll never know. It's quite possible that culpability rests with someone or something only a lawyer can figure out.