There are lots of ways lorries can give rise to personal injury claims and whilst I’ve seen a whole variety of claims, I’m sure there will be another accident around the corner that I haven’t seen before – one of the things that makes my job so interesting.
One of the first cases I encountered, as a very new trainee solicitor was a fatal claim where a motorist had been struck by a lorry whilst waiting on the hard shoulder to be rescued after his car had broken down.
Collisions involving lorries are always nasty due to their sheer size and weight but some of the more unusual cases involving lorries have included:
Cars being pushed or pulled by lorries
These accidents typically occur on motorways or dual carriageways when cars travelling alongside lorries in their ‘blind spot’ are then trapped as the lorry attempts to change lane, or just ‘drifts’ over.
Cow vs lorry
A client HGV driver hit a cow as he was travelling up the A1. Unfortunately, the cow wasn’t immediately killed in the collision and our client was traumatised listening to its cries of agony until a vet arrived to put it down.
I had a client whose foot was rolled over by a lorry in the yard where he worked. Fortunately, the vehicle was moving very slowly and the injury was not as severe as it might have been.
A client drove a transporter that collected wrecks. As a vehicle approached him from round a bend, the trailer on the approaching vehicle swung outwards striking the transporter and travelling upwards and over the top. Shaken and shocked my client stopped his HGV and climbed out, his heart sinking as he saw what he thought was one of his wrecks on the road behind his lorry. In fact, it was the car that had been following him, almost completely flattened by the runaway trailer.
Climbing in and out of lorries
This is a source of numerous claims – often because lorries park in yards which are generally not in good condition. Stepping down and into a pothole causing twists, sprains and fractures is a common occurrence.
HGV drivers are usually responsible for the loads they are carrying – ensuring that loads are secure and unable to move around in transit is a vital aspect of many drivers’ jobs. Unfortunately, accidents here are legion straps and their fastenings striking people as they’re thrown from one side of a load to another, straps breaking causing loads to topple onto drivers and so on. Many HGVs are fitted with straps to assist drivers getting in and out, unfortunately, without regular checks and maintenance they wear and break, inevitably resulting in falls from height.
Curtains and trailers
Curtain sided trailers are another rich source of claims. There are more and more of these on our roads as their accessibility allows for rapid loading and unloading when instead of loading front to back as is the case with a conventional wagon, removal of the sides means that multiple pallets can be loaded at once. However, as a personal injury lawyer I would say that regular and thorough maintenance is key. I’ve seen claims involving the metal frames which become rusty and stiff and difficult to manoeuvre and then the curtains get stuck and efforts to fix, pull and push curtains on misaligned frames cause a variety of injuries from eye strikes to lacerations to crushing injuries and from life changing to those attracting compensation awards of a few thousand pounds.
These are just a few of the lorry accidents I’ve encountered over the years and I haven’t even touched on tail lifts, which probably merit a whole piece of their own.
Author: Diane Parker
If you have been involved in an accident involving a HGV, on the road, in a yard, whilst driving or unloading, and it wasn’t your fault, then we may be able to help. For a confidential chat with one of our experienced Personal Injury team, please call 01302 320621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org