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How Car Accident Compensation Works In Hawaii

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Hurt In A Car Crash In Hawaii? Find Out How Much Your Claim Could Be Worth 

Being involved in a serious car accident in Hawaii caused by another driver can be a chaotic experience. Whether you’re dealing with a high-speed accident on H1 in Honolulu or a rear-end collision in Hilo on the Big Island, knowing what to do next can be confusing. Worst of all, if you don’t act fast, you might not get the money you deserve for your accident-related expenses.

This is why it’s important that understand how the car accident compensation system works in Hawaii. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for your accident-related expenses out of your own pocket.

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Yes. Hawaii has a no-fault car insurance system. This means you generally need to first file an accident claim with your own insurance company. This might sound simple. But the reality is dealing with your own insurance company can be more complicated than you might suspect.

In addition, this might be just the first step in filing a car accident claim in Hawaii and seeking financial compensation. Many times, you can file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or seek compensation from them.

Is car insurance mandatory in Hawaii?

Yes. All drivers in Hawaii are required to have car insurance in order to legally drive a vehicle. The mandatory minimum car insurance requirement in Hawaii is:

  • $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for medical expenses and rehabilitative costs, regardless of who was at fault. This is also known as “no-fault insurance.”
  • $10,000 for property damage liability insurance, which pays for vehicle damage and other property damage in an accident the policyholder causes.
  • $20,000 per person for bodily injury insurance for any single injury victim.
  • $40,000 per accident for bodily injury insurance for multiple victims.

What types of optional car insurance are available in Hawaii?

Along with Hawaii’s minimum car insurance requirements, drivers can choose to get additional car insurance coverage. Some of the most common optional car insurance options in Hawaii include:

  • Collision Coverage – Pays for damage to your vehicle in case of a collision involving another vehicle, regardless of who's at fault.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Covers the cost of vehicle repairs due to events beyond your control, such as theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters or collisions involving an animal.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage – Protects you in the event of an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay for your accident expenses.
  • Rental Reimbursement Coverage – Covers the cost of renting a car while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.
  • Roadside Assistance Coverage – Offers help when your car breaks down on the road, covering roadside services like towing, tire changes, jump-starts and fuel delivery.

The short answer is you should be financially compensated for all your accident expenses. As a result, your car accident claim or lawsuit could potentially be worth thousands of dollars or significantly more.

Sounds simple, right? Don’t be so sure. In many cases, there’s a great deal of debate when it comes to determining how much money you or other injury victims should receive for their car accident claim in Hawaii. That’s because there’s often a lot of money at stake.

Who decides how much my car accident is worth in Hawaii?

You might be surprised to learn that the people who have the most to say about how much money you and other injury victims receive are often the very ones responsible for paying for your Hawaii car accident claim.

Often, it’s the insurance companies who determine how much money to award someone injured in a collision. This includes your car insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Fortunately, you can be involved in these important conversations. And the best way to do that? By having an experienced attorney representing you at the negotiating table with the insurance companies and presenting evidence in support of your accident claim.

How is car accident compensation calculated in Hawaii?

Insurance companies often claim the process for determining how much money injury victims should receive for their accident-related expenses is a very complex procedure that takes into account many different variables, including the severity of someone’s injury and the length of their recovery.

While that is true, the reality is insurance companies often only take into account some accident expenses and leave out others. The initial settlement may not account for future anticipated expenses, which can be substantial if someone has long-term medical issues due to an accident.

So don’t simply take insurance companies at their word when they claim that you’re only entitled to receive a specific amount of money for your car crash. In many cases, how much money you should receive could be substantially more.

In most cases, you should be financially compensated for all accident-related expenses. What you might not realize is just how many expenses this might include:

  • The cost of all your medical care, from emergency medical treatments to future, anticipated medical care.
  • Physical therapy, especially if you have mobility issues after your collision.
  • Prescription medications, especially if you suffer from chronic pain after your accident.
  • Compensation to repair damage to your vehicle or buy a new one if your car is a total loss.
  • Replacement income if you need time off from work to rest and recover from your injury.
  • Lost future income if your car accident injury prevents you from returning to work or limits your ability to work full-time in the future.

Should I accept a car accident settlement offer?

One approach insurance companies often take after a serious car accident is to make a quick settlement offer. If you receive such an offer, you might be tempted to accept it. However, it’s important to understand the legal implications if you agree to accept a settlement offer.

A settlement offer is a one-time payment intended to cover all your accident-related expenses, including future ones. As a result, if you agree to accept such an offer, you forfeit your right to request more money in the future.

This matters since your future anticipated expenses could turn out to be much higher. So if you already agreed to accept a settlement offer, you cannot ask for more money months or years after your accident. This is why you should carefully consider any settlement offer before you agree to accept it.

Can I ask for more money for my car crash claim?

Yes. You might not realize it, but you have the right to request more money if you receive a settlement offer for your accident. Insurance companies will often claim that their settlement offer is their best and final offer. But the truth is many insurance companies are willing to negotiate, especially if you have an experienced attorney presenting them with evidence in support of your accident claim.

Because Hawaii is a no-fault state, you must meet certain criteria in order to file a lawsuit. There are three ways to qualify to sue the negligent driver or drivers:

  • Someone was killed in the accident.
  • You sustained a severe or permanent injury in the accident, such as a traumatic brain injury or loss of a limb.
  • Your medical bills exceed your PIP policy limit.

This means if you have a serious injury, you can likely file a lawsuit. However, it’s important to realize that you only have a limited amount of time to take action after your collision. In Hawaii, you have two years from the date of your car crash to file a lawsuit, according to Hawaii Revised Statute §657.7.

Two years might seem like a long time. As a result, you might be tempted to wait to take legal action. But the longer you wait, the harder it often becomes to find the evidence you need to build a strong and successful legal case.

Can I get money for pain and suffering for a car accident in Hawaii?

If you decide to take legal action after your Hawaii car accident, one of the things you can file a lawsuit for is non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Non-economic damages refer to the indirect financial impact of an accident. In contrast, economic damages are expenses that have a specific financial cost, such as medical bills, car repairs or income lost due to not being able to work after an accident.

In most cases, injury victims can only receive $375,000 for pain and suffering in Hawaii due to the state’s cap on compensation for pain and suffering. However, that cap can be overcome in some circumstances. The best way to know how much you could potentially receive for pain and suffering is to talk to an experienced Hawaii car accident lawyer licensed to practice law in the state and who has years of experience handling such complex legal cases.

What if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance?

If you are involved in a collision caused by an uninsured driver in Hawaii, you have several options. First, you can always file a PIP claim whether the at-fault driver has insurance or not, and you can claim other optional benefits if you have them on your policy as well. Second, if you have uninsured motorist (UM) insurance, then you can file a claim with your own insurance company as if they insured the at-fault driver.

But just because you have UM insurance does not mean that your insurance company will automatically compensate you for your accident. In many cases, your insurance company can be just as difficult to deal with as an insurance company representing an at-fault driver. That’s because there’s often so much money at stake and insurance companies – even your own – will often do everything they can to keep expenses low, which means paying injury victims less.

Serious car accidents can quickly turn into complicated legal cases. If you don’t have an attorney on your side, you might not be aware of all the legal options available to you. And in many cases, that might mean that you could receive far less money for your car accident claim or lawsuit.

An experienced Hawaii car accident attorney can guide you through the process and make sure your rights are respected. They can answer your legal questions, explain your options and keep you informed throughout the process, whether it’s negotiating the best possible settlement claim or obtaining the maximum compensation in the form of a car accident lawsuit.

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