Hawaii is celebrated for its beauty, the warmth of its people and its remarkable cultural history. But though it’s a dream location for many to visit and live, it shares in a problem plaguing the rest of the United States — drunk driving.
Drunk driving is a major cause for concern in Hawaii. The islands are small with dense populations, which means that driving after a few too many drinks is a recipe for disaster. Other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are at risk of serious injuries from a drunk driving crash.
Financial compensation is possible for victims who have been harmed by a drunk driver on Oahu. An experienced Honolulu drunk driving accident attorney at the Recovery Law Center can help.
Over the course of his legal career, attorney Glenn Honda has seen how drunk driving accidents have altered the course of victims’ lives, sometimes permanently. He dedicates his efforts in helping those people obtain the compensation they need to assist in physical, financial and emotional healing.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Honolulu, Honolulu County or anywhere on Oahu, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Hawaii Drunk Driving Statistics
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Hawaii. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 1.9 percent of drivers nationwide reported driving after drinking too much. But in Hawaii, the percentage is 2.9 percent.
What’s more, over a 10-year period in Hawaii, there were 484 people killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. Injuries from drunk driving accidents number in the thousands.
In addition, there appears to be a public perception that impaired driving arrests in the state aren’t likely to happen. The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s most recent annual report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included data from a survey of the attitudes of motorists in the state. In that report, 27 percent of respondents indicated that they believed the chances of being arrested for impaired driving were rare.
Effects of Drunk Driving
When a person consumes alcohol, their mental and physical faculties are impaired. Even small amounts of alcohol can:
- Slow reaction time
- Decrease cognitive ability
- Suppress the nervous system
- Make concentration and focus difficult
- Cause balance and coordination issues that could affect driving ability
The more alcohol a person consumes, the more their faculties are impaired. It’s also important to remember that everybody responds differently when they drink. Although 0.08 is the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Hawaii, people can begin showing signs of impairment at much lower levels.
Types of Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
The range of drunk driving accident-related injuries can vary depending on numerous factors, including the size of the vehicles involved, the speed at which vehicles are traveling at the time of the collision, and the angle of the vehicles upon impact (e.g., head-on collisions tend to be more deadly than rear-end accidents). With that in mind, serious injuries that may be sustained in a crash include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: TBIs can be mild or severe, ranging from a slight concussion to severe bleeding in the brain and permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are always serious, especially as there is currently no way to cure them. These injuries can cause permanent complete or partial paralysis from the site of the injury downwards.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries may stem from being punctured with an object or bone, such as a fractured rib. Being hit with a severe amount of force during a collision can also lead to potentially fatal internal bleeding.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries can be mild or severe. Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries, but it is by no means the only one that’s possible in a crash.
- Broken bones: While bones are flexible and pliable, they cannot withstand all stress. Too much force on a bone can result in fractures that may require surgery and long-term hospitalization.
- Psychological injuries: Being involved in an accident can result in psychological injuries as well as physical ones. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression are frequently seen among accident victims.
If you suffered any kind of injuries in a drunk driving crash, consider contacting the Recovery Law Center to learn about your legal rights. Compensation can include money to cover past, current and future medical bills, pain and suffering and more.
How to Prevent Drunk Driving
While there are numerous campaigns in Hawaii to curb drunk driving, the truth is that it’s very difficult to change human behavior. The only driving behavior you can control is your own, so commit to these steps to protect yourselves and others:
- Don’t get drunk: While there’s nothing wrong with having a drink, consuming alcohol strictly for the purposes of getting drunk is not a healthy behavior.
- Choose a designated driver if you plan to be drinking: Find a friend who plans to be sober and give them your keys so you won’t be tempted to drive.
- Get a taxi or rideshare: The good thing about Honolulu is that there are plenty of taxis or other services that can transport you if you’re too impaired to get behind the wheel.
You can also encourage others to avoid drunk driving by offering non-alcoholic beverages at any parties you host, not over-serving them and preventing them from leaving if they are too impaired to drive. If they do leave despite your attempts to stop them, call the police.
In addition, call the police if you see another driver on the road who you think might be drunk. If possible, get the make and model of the car and the license plate number.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured By A Drunk Driver
If you are involved in a crash with a drunk driver and suffer harm, you deserve to be compensated in full for your injuries. The best way to improve your chances of getting full and fair compensation is to take the proper steps to protect yourself after the crash.
- Seek medical care. Getting medical care, following your doctor’s orders and keeping track of all of your medical documents is one of the most important things that you can do after a crash.
- Gather evidence. If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, gathering evidence at the accident scene should be one of your top priorities. This includes the name and insurance information for the driver(s) involved, photos of the crash site and vehicle damage and any witness information.
- Report the accident. It will be absolutely critical that police arrive at the scene of the accident and perform a blood or breath alcohol test on the other driver. A BAC test that reveals that the other driver has alcohol in their system can be crucial evidence in proving fault during the claims process.
- Contact an experienced drunk driving attorney. Serious injuries warrant the care and guidance of a skilled attorney. A lawyer knows what it takes to build a case that stands up to any challenges that the drunk driver’s insurance company might use to deny or limit your compensation.
Whether you are a resident, military service member or tourist, Recovery Law Center can help. Our legal team has the experience and determination necessary to fight for the compensation that you are owed after being struck by an impaired driver.
Catastrophic Injury Compensation in Honolulu
Hawaii is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents. That means that drivers need to file a claim with their own insurance companies regardless of fault. However, this rule is waived for those who have suffered severe and permanent injuries.
If you are seriously injured in a drunk driving crash, you maintain the right to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party for damages. By stepping outside of the no-fault system, you can seek compensation for the full value of your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs and noneconomic losses, such as compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
How Can Recovery Law Center Help Me?
At Recovery Law Center, our compassionate legal team is committed to providing personalized legal services to accident victims.
When you call our Honolulu drunk driving accident lawyer, rest assured that we will start working on your case immediately. We know how important it is that you get the compensation award that you deserve as quickly as possible.
- Investigate your claim against the drunk driver, including any proof of alcohol intoxication. In addition to a BAC result, this may also include the testimony of a friend or bartender who can verify that the defendant had been drinking before the accident occurred or has a history of drinking and driving.
- Working with experts and other parties to calculate your damages to determine the total value of your claim. Compensation can account not only for current financial losses, but also for anticipated expenses in the future.
- Handle all negotiations with the insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of saving money, and they will look for any reason to deny you compensation. We can handle all negotiations with insurance adjusters to protect your rights and prevent you from accidentally saying anything that could jeopardize your claim. If a settlement isn’t offered that fully compensates you, we can weigh the option of filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
Call the Recovery Law Center Today
Discussing your legal rights with a drunk driving attorney at Recovery Law Center is simple. All initial consultations are free of charge. That means that you don’t pay a dime to learn whether you have a claim.
Call or contact us online today to get started.