Lorry Accident And Injury Claims Explained
By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 21st April 2023. This is our guide on claiming compensation for injuries sustained in a lorry accident. Over the course of this article, we will give you information regarding how to claim if a lorry accident has caused you to be injured and if you could be eligible to claim.
The process of making a road traffic accident claim can seem daunting at first, but we are here to help. Our advisors are standing by to answer any questions you may have on the subject.
The value of claims can vary between cases. However, you may be able to claim through an online government portal called the Whiplash Reform Programme if your injuries are valued at £5,000 or lower. However, you can only claim this way if you:
- Experienced your road traffic accident in England or Wales
- Are 18 or older
- Were injured as a driver or a passenger
- Sustained the injury on or after 31st May 2021
- Were travelling in a vehicle (not a motorcycle or as a pedestrian, for example)
If you do not meet all of these criteria, you may not be eligible to claim through the Reform Programme. You will have to take more traditional routes. You can do this by getting in touch with us. We have a panel of expert solicitors who have made many road traffic accident claims in the past.
We may be able to connect you with one to assist you in claiming for your injuries sustained in a lorry accident that wasn’t your fault.
Get in touch to get started. Our advice is free of charge. You are under no obligation to start a claim just for getting in touch. Read on for more.
Select A Section
- Lorry Drivers’ Duty Of Care To Road Users
- When Could You Make Lorry Accident Claims?
- Causes Of Lorry Accidents
- Time Limits For Lorry Accident Claims
- Why Make Lorry Accident Claims?
- How Much Could You Claim?
- Start A Commercial Vehicle Accident Claim
Recent changes to The Highway Code mean that vehicles that can cause the most harm in an accident are also those that have the most responsibility to reduce any risk they pose to more vulnerable road users.
All road users have a duty of care to use the roads with standard care and skill. However, a lorry has the potential to cause great harm, so the driver should take appropriate precautions. It is part of a lorry driver’s duty of care to other road users to follow this guidance and allow other road users to take priority when it is safe to do so.
If another road user’s negligence causes the accident and the lorry driver is injured, the lorry driver could make a claim.
The presence of a duty of care is just one factor when it comes to whether or not you could claim for injuries sustained in a lorry accident. This duty of care also needs to have been breached. For example, a lorry may not have allowed a pedestrian to cross at a junction. This could be a breach of the duty of care the lorry driver owed to the pedestrian.
Additionally, injuries must have been sustained as a direct result of the breach of the duty of care. If there are no injuries, you cannot make a claim.
It’s also possible that you are partially to blame for your injuries. If so, you could still receive compensation. However, this would be reduced to reflect your part in the accident.
A lorry accident can be described as an accident involving a lorry or HGV and another road user. The other road user could be a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, car or even another lorry.
A lorry driver could be the one who was to blame for the accident taking place, or the accident may have occurred due to the actions of another road user entirely.
If a lorry driver is injured due to a car rear-ending them through negligence, then the lorry driver could still be eligible to claim a claim against the driver of the car. Inversely, if a lorry does not slow down in time because the driver is distracted and crashes into a car or other road user then they could have a claim made against them.
Alternatively, the cause of the accident could be poor road conditions. For example, there may be potholes or other damage. It is the responsibility of the local authority to maintain the roads for which they are responsible. This is stated in the Highways Act 1980.
An example of a local authority could be a body such as the local council. If they are aware of potholes in their roads then they have a legal obligation to make sure that they are repaired. Otherwise, they could cause certain vehicles to lose control on the road. Not carrying out these repairs is an example of a local authority breaching their duty of care towards road users.
There can be many different reasons why a lorry accident may occur. Some may be the fault of the lorry driver, whilst some may be the fault of other road users.
Some examples include:
- Fatigue – this could concern either party. However, some lorry drivers need to make long journeys on a regular basis. It’s important that they take regular breaks to reduce the risk of accidents.
- Driving under the influence – operating a vehicle under the influence of a certain level of alcohol or drugs is against the law. It can lead to a variety of safety issues including reaction times and overall control.
- Use of a device – smartphones and similar devices can distract the driver’s attention from the road.
- Tailgating – this is when a driver is trailing too closely behind the vehicle in front. If the vehicle in front needs to suddenly slow down or stop then the one behind may not have enough time to react and could crash into the vehicle.
- Failure to maintain the vehicle – for example, you may be aware that you need new tyres as your current ones are too worn down. If you choose not to replace them, then you could be breaking the law, and it could affect stopping distances.
If you are unsure as to whether or not what caused your lorry accident could constitute negligent behaviour, get in touch with our advisors today.
Lorry Accident Statistics
Figures for reported road accidents including vehicles and casualties can be found on the government website. As you can see from the graph below, there were a total of 3,399 reported accidents of varying severity that involved HGVs in 2020.
Over this period, fatal accidents were the most common of the three categories. There were 209.
Serious accidents were the next most common. Serious accidents can include broken bones, lacerations, and even paralysis in some cases.
Slight accidents were the most common over this period. This could be injuries such as whiplash or bruising.
As we discussed above, if you suffered injuries in an accident and the lorry driver was deemed to be negligent, you could be eligible for compensation. However, if you would like to claim, you must start proceedings within three years of the date of the accident as set out in the Limitation Act 1980.
There are some circumstances that can suspend the limitation period. These apply when an injured party cannot start legal proceedings for themselves. In these cases, a litigation friend can begin proceedings on the injured party’s behalf at any time during the suspension.
Injured parties who cannot start their own claim include:
- Children under the age of 18. The time limit is suspended until their 18th birthday. From that date, they have three years to start proceedings provided a litigation friend hasn’t already claimed for them.
- Those who lack the mental capacity to start a claim have the time limit suspended indefinitely. However, if they regain their capacity and a litigation friend has not claimed on their behalf, they will have three years from that date to start proceedings.
Call our advisors if you have any questions about lorry accident claims. They can assess your eligibility if you suffered injuries in a lorry accident in the UK. If your case seems valid, you could be put in touch with one of the No Win No Fee lawyers from our panel.
If you have been injured in a lorry accident, then your life could be affected for some time. In extreme cases, it may never return to how it was prior to the incident. In other words, the damage could be permanent. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of another road user, then you could seek financial compensation to acknowledge this hardship.
Aside from the sum that you are awarded for your injuries (general damages), you could also be awarded another figure that’s calculated to reimburse you for expenses incurred due to your injuries too; for example, a loss of earnings due to being unable to work. Additionally, you may have certain medical costs to cover such as prescriptions.
This compensation would be known as special damages. You will need to gather evidence to prove that these costs took place. Receipts and payslips can act well as evidence.
We have another article that focuses on the topic of calculating special damages.
General damages can make up part of the compensation in a road traffic accident claim. It is awarded for the mental and physical injuries you suffer because of the accident. A publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is used by legal professionals to assist them with arriving at an appropriate settlement for your injuries.
Within the JCG is a detailed list of possible injuries that may be sustained in an incident such as a lorry accident. There is a range of potential compensation brackets alongside the description of each injury.
We’ve put together a compensation table below made up of a few example entries so you can have a better understanding.
Injury Description Amount
Arm Amputation - (a) both arms lost £240,790 to £300,000
Arm (d) Simple forearm fractures £6,610 to £19,200
Paralysis (b) Paraplegia - amount will depend on effect on mental health, life expectancy, extent of pain etc. £219,070 to £284,260
Chest (a) The worst scenarios will involve the removal of a lung or serious damage to the heart £100,670 to £150,110
Neck (a) Severe - (ii) serious fractures or disc imagine involving the cervical spine £65,740 to
Sight (d) One eye completely lost £54,830 to £65,710
Post-traumatic stress disorder (b) Moderately severe - effects will have been worse, but there will be a better prognosis than in more severe cases £23,150 to £59,860
Wrist (b) Injury will result in a lasting and signficant disability, but there will still be some useful movement £24,500 to £39,170
Digestive system Traumatic damage - (iii) penetrating stab wounds or seat-belt pressure cases of a serious nature £6,610 to
Shoulder (e) Clavicle fracture £5,150 to £12,240
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash with a minor psychological injury lasting between 18-24 months. £4,345
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash injuries lasting between 18-24 months. £4,215
As part of the claims process, you’d attend a medical assessment. Your solicitor could arrange this for you. During an assessment, an independent healthcare professional checks your injuries and any medical records. They’ll then produce a report that includes an assessment of:
- The severity of your injuries.
- Whether the accident caused or worsened your injuries (or not had any impact at all).
If the report finds that you weren’t injured because of the accident, or your injuries weren’t exacerbated by it, you could find it difficult to claim. However, if that’s not the case, the report can act as useful evidence as well as a tool for your solicitor to value your injuries.
For a free estimate of what you could claim, why not contact our advisors?
It’s possible to make a lorry accident claim with the help of a solicitor under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This kind of arrangement can also be referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement. This is a way of covering the cost of hiring a legal professional should you choose to do so.
All of the solicitors on our panel work on a No Win No Fee basis. This can reduce the financial risk to yourself.
What it means is that if your No Win No Fee claim is not successful, you are not required to cover your lawyer’s costs. Should you be awarded compensation, then your lawyer’s fee is then covered by them taking a small percentage of your settlement. You will be made aware of this in advance, and the percentage is capped by law. There are no additional hidden charges either.
Get in touch today to see if you could make a No Win No Fee lorry accident claim.
Read More On This Topic
Follow the links below for additional information.
Find out more about appointing a litigation friend to claim on your behalf.
You have a right to request CCTV footage of yourself, and it can be useful evidence.
Read the NHS guide on Whiplash.
Read about your rights as a car accident victim.
Our general guide on road traffic accidents.
Claims for motor vehicle accidents.
Our guide on making a fatal accident claim.
Thank you for reading our guide on lorry accident claims.
Checked by HT