[Skip to main content] [Skip to secondary navigation]

Inquest into Fatal Accident in Lichfield

On Wednesday 4th March 2013 Rutherfords represented the family of Mrs Wendy Williams who was killed in a car accident two days before Christmas, December 2009.  Mrs Williams had just pulled out of a “dangerous” staggered junction at Quarry Hills Lane and Lichfield Road, intending to cross to Cricket Lane.  As she was pulling out of the junction she was struck by a high speed Ambulance Response Vehicle, and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

We advised the family during the criminal proceedings against the ambulance driver, and represented them at the Inquest. Mrs Williams’ family were particularly concerned to understand what happened in the moments before the crash, and to try to help ensure that such an accident did not occur again. 

A coroner's court is a legal body that helps determine who, how, when and why a person died, but the inquest is not investigating whether anyone (or any organisation) is responsible for the death. Often the family of the deceased wish to understand the reasons why the accident happened and whose ‘fault’ it was. Good legal representation can use the legal interpretation of the ‘why’ question to understand the responsibility for the accident (indirectly), and encourage the Coroner to make recommendations, if the Coroner is convinced this may prevent a similar accident from occurring.

The evidence provided at the Inquest made it clear that ambulance drivers were instructed to attend calls as “quickly and safely as possible”, with no upper cap on speed limits.  This driving policy is different and less restrictive than some other ambulance services throughout the UK and, in addition, less restrictive than the guidance to Police vehicles whilst responding to emergency calls.  The driver also did not know the level of seriousness of the incident that they were responding to.

Mrs William’s family were convinced by the evidence that the prime cause of the accident was the high speed of the ambulance vehicle.  The Ambulance Trust have already made a number of changes to the way in which ambulance drivers are trained, and has made it clear that it will carefully consider further comments made by the Coroner. The Coroner said that he will be writing to the Trust and the Highways Authoirity with his recommendations.

Despite the circumstances of this case, Mrs Williams' family always approached the case with a desire to understand why the accident occurred, and try to prevent the tragic circumstances occurring again.

If you require advice on any of the subjects in this article do not hesitate to contact Steve Wengraf, Litigation Partner at Rutherfords LLP on 01827 311411 or s.wengraf@rutherfordslegal.com

Return to news list

Copyright © 2019 Rutherfords Legal LLP. All rights reserved.

Site by Carousel Marketing, powered by Big Room Internet