How To Make HGV Accident Claims
HGV accidents can cause life-altering injuries. Were you involved in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle on the motorway? Did an HGV back into your car or knock you from your bike? Perhaps you are a pedestrian who was struck by a passing lorry or van and suffered injuries as a result? This article can help.
At UK Law we can explain whether you could make a HVG accident claim and what the eligibility criteria are for claiming against the driver (or company) that injured you. Because of their size, heavy goods vehicle accidents can cause long-term disability or chronic physical and emotional injuries. Compensation could help you adjust and recover after an incident like this. Contact our team now by:
- Calling us in confidence on 020 3870 4868
- Email or write to us if you prefer, at UK Law
- Or access the ‘live support’ option below for immediate free legal advice about your HGV accident
Select A Section
- What Is A Heavy Goods Vehicle Or HGV Accident?
- How Do HGV Accidents Happen?
- Types Of HGV Accidents
- Pedestrian HGV Accidents
- Calculating HGV Accident Claims
- Start A No Win No Fee HGV Accident Claim
A heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is an essential type of lorry used for moving products or large materials around countries. On any motorway journey in the UK, you will see a high volume of these very large vehicles from all over the country and EU. They often need to move both day and night.
HGV’s and lorries are by nature, large and heavy which means that any kind of accident involving one has the potential to be very serious. That said we must be clear from the outset that not all accidents that involve an HGV vehicle will be the result of them being negligent. All road users have a duty of care for each other and other drivers or unsafe road conditions can also be at fault in an accident that involves an HGV.
Accidents involving HGV’s could potentially be of the following types:
- Multi-vehicle pile-ups
- Crushing or compact collisions
- Side impact or ‘t-bone’ collision
- Rear and front-end impact
- Nudging or bumping incidents involving cyclists
- Pedestrian collisions
- Accidents caused by driver tiredness or poor driving
HGV drivers must get a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). In addition to the specific licensing and training requirements to drive very big vehicles like this, they must also adhere to the standards laid out in the Highway Code.
HGV accidents can affect other motorists, motorbike riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. From January 2022, recent changes in the Highway Code have placed a greater responsibility on those road users who could potentially cause the most harm.
A ‘hierarchy of vulnerable road users’ has been identified and pedestrians and cyclists need greater safety provisions on British roads. HGV and lorry drivers (and motorists) must now take certain additional steps at junctions and crossings to consider this safety.
Statistics on Road Casualties and HGVs
- 251 Fatalities
- 1,111 Seriously Injured
- 4,172 Slightly Injured
The statistics above are from RoSPA’s report in 2019. They are for road accidents that happened in Britain, involved HGVs and were reported to the police.
Lorry and HGV accidents can happen for several reasons, some of which may be outside of the control of the driver. It’s important to be clear at the start of a claim for compensation who was liable and how you are able to prove it.
Potential reasons why a road traffic accident may take place:
- A driver failed to pay due care and attention
- Poor visibility due to severe weather conditions
- Fatigue behind the wheel
- Drink or drug use
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Dangerous driving
- Careless driving
- Faulty road surfaces or lights
When a fault driver is untraced or uninsured, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) may provide compensation for those victims who are injured in the accident and also have suffered property damage.
A National Insurers’ Bureau (Green Card Bureau) guarantees that anyone who suffers an accident or injury that was caused by a foreign vehicle (that originates from a country participating in the Green Card System) will be compensated in the country where the accident happened.
If you are involved in an accident with an HGV driver that injures you in order to claim you must be able to establish liability. To make any kind of personal injury claim there must be a party that owes you a duty of care at least partially responsible for the accident because they failed to uphold the duty of care.
Careless or dangerous driving is against the law and would be considered a serious breach of the duty of care established under the Road Traffic Act 1988 stating that drivers should never cause avoidable harm when operating their vehicle.
It’s important to have solid evidence to back your claim up such as CCTV footage or witness and police statements. To make a successful accident claim would require clear proof showing liability and the injuries that were suffered as a consequence.
Under Section 41(1A) Highways Act 1980 road surfaces should be a safe passage this can include free of snow and ice as much as possible. There are practical limitations to these expectations, but if you can demonstrate those responsible for the highway maintenance failed in this respect which permitted circumstances that directly caused the accident, you could have a claim against them.
Heavy goods vehicles and large lorries are defined by weight and length and the government provides a useful guide to identifying them. It is fair to say that a pedestrian accident of any kind with an HGV could result in serious injuries by virtue of their size. If the HGV was moving at speed, the consequences for the pedestrian could be catastrophic. Furthermore, pedestrians have a responsibility under the Highway Code to take as much reasonable care for their own safety as well as others.
That said the new changes to the Highway Code mean that larger vehicles on the road have much more responsibility towards smaller road users, HGV drivers now have a larger responsibility when it comes to the safety of pedestrians.
Whiplash Reform Program
The Whiplash Reform Program in May 2021 saw the launch of a new government online claims system. This must now be used for all whiplash or soft tissue injuries valued at £5,000 or less (to a maximum of £10,000 including property damages). The Official Injury Claim website was set up to process claims more evenly and reduce the burden that trivial claims were placing on insurance premiums. It applies to:
- Someone aged 18 or over
- Accidents that happened in England or Wales
- For accidents on or after the 31st May 2021
- If someone was inside a vehicle
The portal does not allow the settling of cases without medical evidence.
The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 has its own set of tariffs used to compensate victims. So the table below will not be applicable.
Importantly, the Whiplash Reform Program does not affect motorists or passengers under 18, motorcyclists, bike riders, or pedestrians, and those groups can still claim as before using figures that are listed in our compensation table below.
It is possible to calculate an amount of compensation by looking at general and special damages. General damages are amounts that may apply to your specific injuries. These figures come from a guide called the Judicial College Guidelines which lists appropriate amounts to reflect pain, suffering, or loss of amenity in life after an injury. These amounts are a guide rather than a guarantee and the table below gives a short example:
|Injury Type||How Severe?||Judicial College Guideline Award Bracket||Notes|
|Brain||Very Severe (a)||£282,010 to £403,990||A profound level of injury requiring 24 hour care, reduced life expectancy and little meaningful response to environment.|
|Neck||Severe (a) (i)||In the region of|
|Little or no movement in the neck and suffers severe headaches.|
|Back||Severe (a) (ii)||£91,090 to £160,980||Severe pain and disability with a combination of incomplete paralysis.|
|Arm||Severe (a)||£96,160 to £130,930||Cases which just fall short of the need to amputate. Severe tissue damage and deformity.|
|Hip||Severe (a) (i)||£78,400 to £130,930||Severe fractures with or a hip injury resulting in spondylolisthesis of a low back joint with severe pain .|
|Leg||Severe (b) (i)||£96,250 to £135,920||Although falling short of amputation this bracket will include devolving injuries, gross shortening and united fractures.|
|Knee||Severe (a) (i)||£69,730 to £96,210||Cases where the joint becomes disrupted and there is a high level of pain and suffering. Lost function and an increased risk of osteoarthritis.|
|Foot||Very Severe (c)||£83,960 to £109,650||Cases of very severe and permanent pain, this could include the traumatic loss of the forefoot where there is a high risk of full amputation.|
|Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||Severe (a)||£59,860 to £100,670||Trauma levels that prevent normal working or functioning, negatively impacting every area of life.|
Sitting for an independent medical assessment with an impartial GP or specialist is an essential requirement. The results of this medical will help calculate a figure that is appropriate.
HGV collisions can be very serious leaving the motorists or pedestrian with long-term health issues or disabilities. This can in turn create a wide range of additional expenses as you try to adjust to new circumstances. You may need to pay for:
- Care costs at home as you recover
- Expensive medical equipment
- Adaptations to your home or car (wheelchair access etc)
- Travel costs to and from hospital or work
- Prosthetics or rehabilitation costs
- Painkillers or other medications
- Loss of earnings
Special damages are out-of-pocket amounts that you can claim back by retaining all the bills, receipts, and invoices that relate to dealing with injuries. If you choose to work with a personal injury solicitor, they can help you go through them and present them as part of your HGV accident compensation request.
In addition to this, a personal injury lawyer could help you track and request predicted costs in the future. Long-term health issues can create expenses for months or even years to come. With this in mind, it’s vital to request the full amount appropriate to your circumstances.
Anyone could represent themselves when it comes to claims for HGV accidents. If you are considering seeking damages for your HGV accident, a personal injury solicitor could help. No Win No Fee agreements mean that a claimant can:
- Get professional help at no upfront costs
- Have nothing to pay as the case develops
- Pay nothing to the solicitors at all if the case does not win
No Win No Fee solicitors deduct a 25% ‘success fee’ only from cases that win and after they have received the settlement. This enables a claimant to access high-quality legal representation regardless of their financial position. Find out how eligible your HGV accident claim could be by getting in touch now.
There’s no obligation to start a claim until you feel ready, but be aware there is a three-year time limit for personal injury claims such as this. Also, it’s useful to know how long you have to report an accident. It’s important to start as soon as you can, so:
- Call us in confidence on 020 3870 4868
- Email or write to us if you prefer, at UK Law
- Or access the ‘live support’ option below for immediate free legal advice about your HGV No Win No Fee accident claim.
HGV Accidents – More Resources
Thank you for reading this UK Law guide on HGV accidents. Below are some further resources to help but please feel free to get in touch with our team if you have any questions or queries:
- Reading about compensation for pedestrians hit by a car at a junction
- Claims for traumatic brain injury compensation
- General frequently asked questions about personal injury compensation
- Road safety tips for pedestrians and cyclists from the Highway Code
- Information from the Government about compensation after an accident.
- Guidance from the NHS on when to call 999