What you need to know if you're involved in an accident with an HGV or lorry

By:

Date: 15 July 2020

Picture of a truck and lorry crash on the motorway

Road accidents happen every day. In the UK alone, there were 27,820 deaths and casualties reported in 2019 as a result of road traffic accidents. If the accident involves a lorry or heavy goods vehicle (HGV), the consequences can be even more serious.

If you are involved in a lorry accident, and you sustain damages and injuries, you might be entitled to compensation.

How accidents happen

There are a variety of reasons HGV and lorry accidents happen. These can include bad weather conditions, driver error and operator negligence. Common driver errors can include fatigue and driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Operator negligence can involve poor haulage and loading or insufficient vehicle maintenance.

Who is responsible for a lorry accident?

HGV and lorry accidents are more complex than normal car accidents in terms of establishing liability. Many parties can be involved in a lorry accident, making it difficult to determine who is liable for the compensation.

One party that may be liable is the lorry or HGV driver. HGV drivers are expected to reach higher driver standards than other drivers in terms of driving skills. They are expected to drive with extraordinary care and diligence. However, the most common cause of lorry accidents is the negligence of the driver.

Another party that may be liable is the operator, especially if they have been negligent. An example of operator negligence is failure to maintain the lorry's condition. Another example is the failure to inform the driver of any relevant Health and Safety regulations.

In some cases, both the driver and operator might be liable for the lorry accident. This can happen if the lorry load falls on you or your property, and you suffer an injury or property damage. The driver and operator have the responsibility to secure the haulage and ensure that the load carried by lorry is properly secured.

Claiming compensation

Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident that involves am HGV or lorry, before thinking about your compensation claim, first you must make sure you are safe. For example, get to a safe place. Do not stay in the vehicle. Report your accident to the proper authorities. Next you need to assess the damages. This could be to your person or your possessions. If you are able to, gather evidence and contact details from witnesses and the things around you. These details will help strengthen your compensation claim.

Filing for compensation claims will be easier if you have an experienced lawyer who will process the claim for you. The information and evidence you have gathered will help set your claim in motion, with the help of a lawyer.

The level of compensation will depend on any injuries you may have sustained, the extent of any expenses you incur after the accident and any damage to your possessions or property. Aside from medical expenses, you can also claim for other damages, such as general damages, special damages, and travel expenses.

  • General damages - these damages include unspecified damages, such as pain and suffering. You can also claim for loss of reputation and how the accident affected your daily life.
  • Special damages - these damages are measurable. Examples are direct loss of earnings, damage to property, and cost of rehabilitation, if applicable.
  • Travel expenses - these damages include the expenses you pay for travelling to and from the medical institution where you are getting medication. It can also include expenses if medication or rehabilitation is found abroad.

Anyone who suffers an injury due to the lorry accident may file for compensation, whether they are employees of the operator or not. If you are filing as an individual, then you might be entitled to a personal injury claim. If you are filing as an employee of the operator, then the process is more complicated since you will need to prove operator negligence.

Compensation claims around the world

UK

If you get into an accident with a lorry or HGV, then you might be entitled to accident compensation. You can file a claim against the driver, operator, or both. The general rule is to make a claim against the operator.

You can also file for compensation if you get involved with a non-British lorry or HGV. The process for filing for compensation against a non-British lorry driver is the same as with a native driver. The difference is that the non-British driver will be represented by the Motor Insurance Bureau if the driver has no native insurance.

USA

Commercial trucks are regulated by state and federal laws in the US. Truck drivers, and trucking companies are held to higher standards than normal drivers. Multiple parties can be held liable in one truck accident, and things can get complicated.

You must prove the accident was caused by negligence to claim compensation in the US. This means it is essential you hire a lawyer in the state where you had the accident to process the claim. For instance, if your accident was in San Diego, then it's vital you appoint a truck accident lawyer in San Diego. The same practice should be observed in other counties across different states.

Canada

As in other countries, if you suffered damages as a result of an HGV accident in Canada, you are entitled to make a compensation claim. Compensation can be claimed by filing a lawsuit or by filing an accident claim with the appropriate insurance company. With accident claims, you can receive medical, rehabilitation, caregiver, and other types of benefits.

Takeaway

Accidents happen every day and anyone can be involved in a dangerous lorry accident. It is essential you understand your rights in the event of an accident.
Finally, you should not hesitate to seek legal help when making your compensation claim.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by Tiffany Wagner

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.