Road traffic accidents

Lorry and HGV Accident Claims

Any accident on the road can have serious consequences, but when an accident involves a heavy goods vehicle, the risk of severe injury increases. If you’ve been injured in a lorry accident, our award-winning solicitors are on hand to support you.

Meet our road traffic accident and serious injury experts

Many of our road traffic accident solicitors are considered leaders in the field with a significant amount of expertise.

Tracey Benson, head of serious injury south

Tracey Benson

Head of Serious Injury - South

Matthew Tomlinson, our Head of Serious Injury in the North

Matthew Tomlinson

Head of Serious Injury - North

Expert profile of Richard Gaffney

Richard Gaffney

Principal Lawyer

Richard Crabtree

Richard Crabtree

Principal Lawyer

One of the UK’s leading specialist law firms.

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What are lorry and HGV accidents?

Lorries and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are a common sight on UK roads, and while most journeys made by these vehicles occur without incident, accidents are inevitable. Unfortunately, due to their size and weight, when accidents do happen the risk of severe injury is increased.

In 2023, the government announced a change of legislation that would allow longer lorries to be driven on UK roads. The move is thought to have the potential to boost the economy by £1.4 billion, while saving 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the air.

Lorry and HGV drivers are obligated to undergo training and to follow strict regulations regarding how long they are behind the wheel, in an attempt to ensure safe practices are followed and the risk of accidents is kept as low as possible. When the worst does happen, however, it’s important that those affected know how to react, and what help and support is available to them.

What does the law say about driving lorries or HGVs?

According to UK law, any vehicle that weighs more than 3.5 tonnes is classified as a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

The government also places strict rules on drivers in terms of how long they are allowed to be behind the wheel within a given period of time. For instance, a HGV driver cannot drive for longer than 4.5 hours without a break of at least 45 minutes, and can only drive for 9 hours a day. They must also not exceed 56 hours of driving in the course of a week, though they are not allowed to drive more than 90 hours over the course of two weeks (so if a driver worked for 56 hours in the first week, they would not be allowed to work for longer than 34 in the second week).

By law, all hours driven must be logged and tracked, and any driver found to have broken the rules can be issued a fine of up to £1,500 for breaches within a 28 day period. If a driver has more than five breaches in any 28 day period, they can be taken to court and their vehicle immobilised.

Why do I need a lawyer after a road traffic accident?

Cardiff-based personal injury lawyer, Nick Collins, explains the benefits of seeking legal advice after a traffic accident and the various options of compensation that a lawyer can provide.

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What are the most common causes of lorry accidents?

As lorries and HGVs are so large and cumbersome, special care needs to be taken not only by the driver, but also by other road users when driving near or overtaking them. This is because lorry drivers often don’t have the same level of visibility in their wing mirrors, and have no visibility of road users who get too close to the back of their vehicle.

Some common causes of lorry and HGV accidents include:

  • Tailgating: when a motorist drives too close to the rear of another vehicle, without leaving enough room for the front driver to react to potential hazards (such as emergency braking)
  • Failure to look or notice potential hazards: a type of negligent driving where a driver is not paying enough attention to what is happening around their vehicle
  • Driver fatigue: the driver of the lorry or HGV has not had enough rest and concentration begins to slip, making mistakes far more likely
  • Driver distractions, such as mobile phones, or use of alcohol or drugs: It is illegal for drivers to use mobile phones while driving, or to be under the influence of alcohol or drug
  • Vehicle condition: the lorry or HGV has not been properly maintained, reducing the functioning of the vehicle, or it has been poorly loaded, making it more prone to overturning
  • Weather conditions: bad weather, such as strong winds, can affect the balance of the vehicle, particularly at high speeds or in exposed areas

What can I claim for as part of a HGV accident claim?

When making a claim for a lorry or HGV accident, the damages you can claim for fall into two categories; general and special.

‘General damages’ refers to any physical or mental injuries caused by the accident. The amount that you will receive will be determined by the extent of the injury caused, and by how quickly you are likely to recover, according to a medical expert.

‘Special damages’ refers to any other expenses or losses that you may incur because of your injuries. For example, it can include the loss of any wages if you have been unable to work, any physiotherapy or other treatments you may need to pay for, any adaptations to your home that may be required, or any travel costs (if, for instance, you’ve been unable to drive).

If any of your property has been damaged in the accident – for instance, your car, bicycle or motorbike - you will also be able to claim for the cost of any repairs or, if the damage is too severe, you can claim the current market value towards a like-for-like replacement.

How do I make a claim for a lorry or HGV accident?

To make a claim for compensation, you’ll need to be able to prove that the lorry driver was responsible for the accident, either by negligence or because of poor vehicle maintenance, and you sustained injuries as a result.

You should try to collect as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident, if possible. This should include the driver’s details, the number plate of the cab and of the trailer (these can sometimes be different), and any photographic evidence that shows the extent of the damage, as well as where and how the accident occurred.

If the accident involved an international lorry, the driver should have a ‘Green Card’ to show that they are insured to drive in the UK. You should request this information from the driver if you can.

Why choose Slater and Gordon?

When not handled or maintained correctly, lorries and HGVs can present a significant risk to both the driver and other road users, and injuries sustained in a lorry accident can be severe.

Our team is consistently ranked highly in reputable independent legal directories, such as Chambers and Partners, and the Legal 500, and are among the best and most experienced injury lawyers in the country.

We work closely with medical professionals to ensure each and every one of our clients receives the best possible outcome, both in terms of finances and future care. We also have an in-house rehabilitation coordinator, who is on hand to provide immediate support, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

To start your claim, speak to a member of our team by contacting us online or calling 0330 041 5869.

Talk to us about your case

Call us now on:   0330 041 5869

Why choose Slater and Gordon?


We are an award winning law firm and have a dedicated team of road traffic accident solicitors to advise and guide you – no matter how complex your situation may be.

Affordability and advice

We're able to offer affordable expert legal advice and can provide guidance on all aspects of road traffic accident claims. Our Initial Consultation provides tailored advice on your situation giving you clear guidance and options regarding next steps.

Tailored advice

We understand that every claim is different – so we are able to provide tailored advice and guidance to suit your individual needs.

Local access

We are a national law firm, with legal experts available locally across the UK. Meetings can be arranged via telephone or video call, to suit your requirements.

Speak to one of our road traffic accident solicitors today

Call us now on:   0330 041 5869

Frequently asked questions

Will I need to attend a medical examination as part of my claim?

For most personal injury claims, you’ll be required to undergo a routine medical examination by an experienced medical expert, who will discuss your injuries and their impact on your life in detail. They will then produce a medico legal report, which is used as evidence by the courts and solicitors to determine the extent of your injuries and how quickly you might be expected to recover.

How long do I have to start a claim for a lorry accident?

Under UK law, you have three years from the date of your e-scooter accident to make claim. There are certain circumstances in which this time limit may change; for example if you’re claiming on behalf of a child, or someone who lacks mental capacity to do so for themselves, or if your accident happened abroad.

It’s always best to speak to a specialist road traffic accident solicitor to discuss your personal circumstances in more detail. To get in touch, call us on 0330 041 5869 or reach out online, and we’ll be able to help you start your claim.

Can I make a no win no fee HGV accident claim?

Many of the cases we pursue on behalf of our clients are done so by way of a conditional fee arrangement, more commonly known as No Win No Fee. There are no upfront costs, and if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a fee to your solicitor.

However, no win no fee arrangements are not the only way to fund your case. To learn more about the available funding options and which might suit you best, speak to a member of our team.

Can I make a claim for a HGV accident on behalf of someone else?

If a loved one has been injured in an accident and is not able to claim injury compensation themselves, it may be possible for you to do so on their behalf. Cases where this may be possible include:

  • Claiming on behalf of a child (under 18 years old)
  • Claiming on behalf of someone with diminished mental capacity
  • Claiming for someone with life-changing injuries
  • Claiming after a fatal accident

If you wish to discuss the possibility of claiming on behalf of someone else, our expert solicitors will be happy to discuss this with you in more detail.

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