In November, Laurel Huibregtse of Madison, WI died. The fact that an 85-year-old died is rarely news that makes headlines, but Mrs. Huibregtse did while a passenger in an ambulance that was taking her husband, 86-year-old newspaper publisher Donald Huibregtse, to Agrace Hospice Care. Mrs. Huibregtse, who was in good health before getting in the ambulance, struck her head when the ambulance suddenly braked.

Her husband died only hours later from complications related to cancer.

The driver of the Ryan Brothers ambulance braked to avoid hitting a vehicle that was stopped behind another vehicle. Mrs. Huibregtse, who was not wearing a seat belt, slid off the bench seat and it her head. Her husband was not injured.

It was determined that this was a freak accident and no one was to blame.

Ambulance accidents aren’t uncommon. In 2009, there were 3,029 accidents involving ambulances. About one-third of these occurred when the ambulance was using lights and sirens. These crashes resulted in 29 deaths and 959 injuries.

When you are injured and are placed in an ambulance, you trust that you are on your way to get help. You have faith that the ambulance staff will take care of you and get you to the hospital quickly, but that they won’t risk your life to do so.

However, ambulance drivers make mistakes. By law, an ambulance driver has the right to ignore certain traffic control devices, make illegal passes, and travel faster than the speed limit—but only if it is safe to do so. If the driver is negligent or misjudges, he can be held responsible for any injuries that occur. A driver who doesn’t give an ambulance the right of way may also be held liable in a crash.

How do you know who is at fault for a Wisconsin ambulance accident? Our advice is to contact a Madison wrongful death attorney. The Wisconsin personal injury lawyer will examine all aspects of the accident and determine who is responsible. To learn more or to discuss a Wisconsin wrongful death claim, please contact Hupy and Abraham at 888-277-4879.