Hawaii’s scenic vistas and year-round tropical weather make it a popular vacation destination for people all over the world. One unfortunate side effect of this is that Hawaii often has a surplus of drivers who are unfamiliar with the area, which can put them and those around them in danger of a serious car accident. No one ever plans on being in a car accident, especially on vacation. Unfortunately, no matter how cautiously you drive, you are subject to the actions of every other driver on the road, even when they are negligent.
If you are a tourist who was injured in a car accident in Hawaii, you could be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries and other losses. An experienced Hawaii car accident attorney can ensure that you receive just compensation for your injuries through an insurance claim or by filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Why Do I Need a Hawaii Car Accident Attorney?
Although not every car accident in Hawaii requires the aid of an attorney, many do. The more serious your accident and injuries are, the more crucial the assistance of a skilled attorney can be. A qualified Hawaii car accident attorney will have experience in helping accident victims from out of town or even out of the country understand the state’s unique traffic and personal injury laws, understand how the state’s no-fault laws apply to their case, identify all potential avenues of recovery, know the most effective means of representing tourists who have been injured due to the negligence of others, and make sure they are justly compensated for their damages.
Hawaii Car Insurance Laws
Just like other states, all Hawaii drivers are required to carry certain amounts of insurance coverage. The state’s minimum limits are:
- Personal injury protection: $10,000 in coverage per person
- Bodily injury liability: $20,000 coverage per person and $40,000 coverage per accident
- Property damage liability: $10,000 coverage per accident
Hawaii’s Insurance Types Explained
Personal Injury Protection Coverage: Personal injury protection insurance is a specific type of insurance coverage that drivers in no-fault insurance states, such as Hawaii, are required to carry. This coverage can be used no matter who was at fault for an accident. PIP coverage pays for the policyholder’s medical expenses as well as the medical expenses of any passengers injured in the crash. It can also cover any pedestrians or other motorists who were involved.
Bodily Injury Liability: This insurance covers hospital bills and other losses sustained by those involved in a car accident in Hawaii.
Property Damage Liability: Property damage covers any damage to the vehicles involved in the collision.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: In Hawaii, this type of insurance coverage is optional. It covers your damages if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance coverage or even no insurance. While this coverage is not required, it is a good idea for drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage to protect them in case they are involved in a serious accident.
Hawaii Negligence Laws
Even if you have never been involved in a car accident, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the legal concept of negligence. Where personal injury law is concerned, proof of negligence is what will determine whether a plaintiff is entitled to compensation from the other motorist.
Hawaii follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This means that an injured driver is eligible for recovery only if they were less than 51% responsible for the accident. If they are successful in recovering damages, their total compensation will be reduced by their overall percentage of fault, which is an issue that is frequently litigated.
A skilled Hawaii car accident attorney can help you avoid mistakes often made by those unfamiliar with no-fault insurance and comparative negligence laws that could jeopardize or even invalidate your right to recovery.
Bringing a Personal Injury Claim in Hawaii
In some cases, when a car accident case is unable to be resolved through an insurance claim, a civil suit may be filed. This occurs when you and the other driver or their insurer are unable to reach a settlement agreement or they simply refuse to negotiate in good faith.
In most cases, Hawaii personal injury victims have two years from the day their accident occurred to file a claim with the appropriate court. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. Although two years sounds like plenty of time, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney and get started on your claim right away. If this deadline passes and you have not taken the necessary steps to file, you will lose your right to compensation. Knowing this, the insurance company is unlikely to be motivated to settle since employing delay tactics that are especially effective on victims who do not live locally, can help them avoid liability.
By working with a Hawaii car accident attorney from Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, you ensure that all relevant deadlines are met and the strongest case possible is built on your behalf.
If you were badly injured in a car accident in Hawaii that was caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, Hawaii personal injury laws entitle you to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.
The laws relating to motor vehicle accidents in Hawaii are extremely nuanced and complex, especially for out-of-state tourists who are used to a very different set of rules and regulations. To further complicate matters, insurance companies are motivated by profits and will do anything they can to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all for your claim. Once they find out that you do not have legal representation and you do not live in the area, they will try to convince you to accept a lowball settlement because it is fast and convenient or simply keep putting you off until the statute of limitations expires.
Interesting Related Article: “Understanding Personal Injury Law: What to Do After a Car Accident“