In cases where criminal activity is suspected, such as driving under the influence, drivers have been known to use this confusion to their advantage. The driver and his or her defense attorney may attempt to deflect blame by accusing someone else in the car of causing the accident. This is the case with a recent crash that happened not far from Pittsburgh.

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The car accident last August happened as a young New Kensington, Pennsylvania, man and his friend were driving in Lower Burrell around 3 a.m. after spending a couple of hours at a local bar. Their car hit a utility pole, causing both the vehicle and a nearby business to catch fire. A police officer who came upon the crash found one man lying outside the car, seriously injured. He discovered another man lying in some bushes near the crash scene. Both were rushed to a hospital.

From there things get confusing. The first man found was the presumed passenger, and the man in the bushes the driver. Blood alcohol tests confirmed that both men were intoxicated at the time of the crash. But the presumed driver’s defense attorney said that a shoe found under the brake pedal is two sizes smaller than the driver’s size 11 feet. He added that the passenger was more likely to have driven drunk because he has two previous DUI convictions. But the passenger insists he wasn’t driving. For one thing, he said, the car has a manual transition, which he doesn’t know how to operate. But his criminal record also shouldn’t have any bearing on the argument. A judge agreed and has ordered several charges against the presumed driver.

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The passenger missed three months of work due to his injuries and continues to suffer from them. He could use the compensation that a personal injury lawsuit might bring, but first he’ll likely have to fend off more accusations from the driver and his attorney. He may benefit from consulting with his own personal injury attorney to gauge whether he has a chance at recovering his losses from the accident.

Source: TribLive, “New Kensington driver held for trial in Dutch Girl crash, fire,” Chuck Biedka, Jan. 30, 2013

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