HGV Accident Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a commercial vehicle accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a commercial vehicle accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), almost 10,000 people were injured, seriously hurt or suffered fatally in HGV accidents in the UK in a single year.
Lorry and HGV accidents are often much more serious than incidents involving smaller vehicles. Collisions often occur after overtaking or changing lanes, and can involve several vehicles.
Looking for help with a car accident claim?
Common causes of lorry and HGV accidents
Common causes of HGV accident claims include lane changes when a driver has failed to properly observe the presence of other road users, due to a blind spot.
Tiredness and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also increase the risk of HGV accidents occurring, and these factors may amount to negligence in the context of a claim.
Other causes of road traffic accident claims involving lorries include cases where drivers have failed to allow a safe breaking distance or the vehicle has been badly loaded.
Claiming against the lorry driver's employer
As a general road user
If you are a pedestrian or other road user, you may be able to make a claim against the employer of the lorry driver, due to the employer's vicarious liability. Your solicitor will be able to confirm the process, and will identify the defendant in your case, after reviewing the facts.
As an employee
If you were injured when driving an HGV in the course of your employment, you may be able to make a claim against your employer. Your employer may be negligent if they are responsible for the cause of the accident, such as requiring you to drive with an unstable load, without adequate rest between shifts, or where the accident is due to poor vehicle maintenance.
If you have not already done so, you should report the accident to police as soon as possible. This will help to create a verifiable record of what has happened.
There are several other ways to prove the accuracy of your account of events, including:
- Obtaining the contact details of any witnesses. Witnesses can help to corroborate your version of events, and prove that someone else was at fault.
- Taking photographs of the scene of the accident, if possible. If you are able to take photographs at the scene, they can be used as evidence in a claim for compensation.
- Taking photographs of your injuries. These can be used by your solicitor in support of other medical evidence.
Do I have an injury claim?
AN injury claim should be possible if your injury happened:
- within the last three years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
What if the road accident was my fault?
If you think you were partly responsible for the road accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.
In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.
For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.
What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?
If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).
The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
What if the hgv accident happened abroad?
Making a claim for a hgv accident abroad can be more complicated. Any number of factors can affect the best way to go about making a claim. These include whether it was a package holiday, which country you were in and your insurance position. Please call us for more information.
Low value injury claims - Updated June 2021
The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.
From 31 May 2021, some lower-value injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice’s new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.
If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.
Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.
The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.
No Win, No Fee compensation for low value injury claims
Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.
General damages for a serious internal injury can be £43,000
For a less severe scarring, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,500.
However, if you have a serious internal injury and a less severe scarring, you would typically receive £43,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,500.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Will a road accident claim affect my benefits?
It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a commercial vehicle injury claim take?
How long it can take to settle a commercial vehicle accident claim can vary significantly.
For example, a simple uncontested road accident claim could be completed in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take considerably longer. On average a road accident claim will take 4 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I get financial advice?
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your hgv accident claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee removes the risk from making an injury claim. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a penalty if I withdraw?
Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.