Personal Injury Claims Accident Compensation for HGV & Lorry Drivers

Driving large heavy goods vehicles can result in safety risks, if you have been injured whilst at work and feel you may be entitled to compensation contact the team at Lanyon Bowdler on 0800 652 3371 or complete the online enquiry form.

Driving 44 or 7.5 tonne articulated vehicles can be dangerous. The 2016 report issued by the Department for Transport states a total of 610 individuals were either killed or seriously injured as a result of being an occupant in a van or HGV.

A commitment to the best practices surrounding health and safety should avoid many accidents, but unfortunately, there will always be occasions when things go wrong. And when this happens, lorry drivers and workers in haulage, logistics and other depots may have grounds to make a claim for compensation.

There is a duty of care owed by employers to keep their employees safe whilst they are at work, this duty also extends to those delivering to their premises, and the duty includes the loading and unloading of trailers as well as keeping drivers safe whilst on the road.

A lorry can, in itself, be classed as a place of work as well as a piece of work equipment.

Keeping Safe whilst Driving & Working with Lorries

There are various ways an experienced lorry driver could be involved in a road traffic collision. Tiredness and distractions can result in bad driving, the provision of poor or inadequate transport routes can result in accidents, failure to report/repair mechanical issues, plus the actions by other road users can lead to incidents.

Accidents don’t just happen on the roads; complacency can result in risks being taken by employers and drivers at haulage depots. Such risks may result in parts of the load falling, trips, falls, working at height without proper safety or access equipment, eg ladders, gantries or scaffolding. Injuries sustained could be from relatively minor to catastrophic such as head, spinal or amputation.

Training can be an issue and health & safety procedures may need to be tightened up.

The Responsibilities of Employers

It is an employer’s duty to protect the health and safety of their staff as well as visitors and general members of the public. This duty extends to agency staff or self-employed workers, who are also owed a duty of care by the employer if they are provided with equipment to do a job, told where to go and what to do.

There is a legal obligation to consult with employees on health and safety related matters, where unions are involved this will be done via representatives; if no union is involved then the employer must consult directly with the employees, listen to any concerns and provide information when requested.

Under the management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992, an employer has to carry out risk assessments across all areas of health and safety and to then ensure measures are put in place to minimise risks identified. The employer must also advise employees of the risks identified. They must ensure adequate training and appropriate equipment is provided to deal with the risks. Measures may include:

  • Double checking traffic routes, including low bridges

  • Ensuring pedestrian, warehouse and delivery traffic is separated and clearly signposted, with appropriate lighting 

  • Having marshalls or banksmen available to oversee reversing manoeuvres and to provide assistance during loading and unloading 

  • Well lit parking areas with clear markings and appropriate surface

  • Training drivers and shunters in the coupling and uncoupling of any lorries they will be driving

  • Ensuring brakes on the trailer and in the tractor unit are always applied when parked

  • Complying with maintenance schedules and servicing of vehicles

  • In many circumstances, there is a duty on employers to warn employees of even obvious risks.

Responsibilities of Employees

Employees must safeguard their own health and safety, such as taking regular breaks as required by the law, as well as the safety of the general public, visitors and colleagues. They have to follow specific training, respect and obey site rules, eg loading and unloading procedures, parking, movement of vehicles, pedestrianized areas etc, and report vehicle defects.

Accidents when Making Deliveries

Even if an accident happens away from the employer’s depot, there are still duties of care owed by the owners of that premises to contractors, hauliers or visitors to the site.

Loads incorrectly secured can shift during transit, creating a hazard for the driver during unloading. Various regulations need to be considered including Manual Handling 1992 and Working at Height Regulations 2005, as well as Lifting Operations and Lifting Regulations 1998, along with general health and safety awareness such as over shoulder reaching. When necessary relevant protective personal equipment (PPE) needs to be made available, such as steel toe capped boots, hard helmets, gloves and glasses.

Reversing unexpectedly, or without guidance from marshalls or banksmen on delivery yards, can result in serious accidents as well as damage to property or vehicles.

Visiting Depots

It is the responsibly of the site manager to make sure any delivery drivers visiting their depot are clear as to the site rules, as well as who is responsible for loading and unloading.

Secondary Victim Claims

In the event a severe or fatal accident is witnessed, or a close member of the family is exposed to the immediate aftermath, there may be entitlement for the pain and suffering endured.

Rehabilitation and Returning to Work

Not all accidents involving HGVs and lorries will result in the inability to return to work, the Disability & Equality Act 2000 is referred to in the event of a compensation claim, where special damages, such as past and future loss of earnings, may be adjusted to reflect the type of work someone is now able to carry out, if this results in a decrease of income.

Examples of Compensation Recovered for our Clients

Experienced solicitor Phillip Roberts, a member of our personal injury team based in Hereford, recently recovered in excess of £100,000 at a joint settlement meeting, a matter of weeks before a trial was due to take place, for a lorry driver who had developed back pain as a result of faulty seats within the HGVs he had driven for his employer.

Dawn Humphries, a senior solicitor of the team based in Shrewsbury recovered damages in excess of £100k for a client whose fingers were severed as a result of strapping which was poorly fitted.

Contact Lanyon Bowdler

If you are a HGV or lorry driver and have suffered an accident which was not your fault, contact the team at Lanyon Bowdler on 0800 652 3371, or complete our enquiry form.