Much depends on how bad your HDD failed. Does it still appear in BIOS (Setup)?
If so it may be possible to boot your Laptop from a disk or a USB device to see if there are any readable files on your HDD. Recommend Ubuntu, you can download the ISO from herehttp://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/questions?distro=desktop&bits=32&release=latest
Choose 'Not now,take me to download'
Once you have the ISO you can burn it to a disk or create a bootable USB with unetbootinhttp://unetbootin.net/
Then change the boot order of your Laptop to DVD or USB whichever suits. Your laptop will then boot from the selected media without having to install, and you can then look for your files from the Ubuntu desktop, and recover them to an external HDD or flash drive