Being involved in a car accident is frightening. A panicked driver may speed off after causing an accident rather than stopping at the scene as required by law. However, the fear of being involved in an accident is no excuse for any driver to flee the scene.
Not only is leaving the scene of an accident an unconscionable thing to do, but it is also illegal. Unfortunately, statistics from AAA show that hit-and-run accidents are on the rise and happen somewhere in the U.S. every 43 seconds.
If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver in Hawaii, don’t count on the insurance company to make things right. Contact Attorney Glenn T. Honda at the Recovery Law Center. Seeking an attorney’s guidance following a hit-and-run accident shows you are serious about protecting your rights. You do have options as the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
The legal team at Recovery Law Center understands that you may be in a financial bind, with time off work and medical bills piling up, and you may be hesitant to contact a lawyer. At the Recovery Law Center, we handle hit-and-run accident claims on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid until you get paid.
If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, don’t wait another day. Contact us online or call us at (808) 597-8888 to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
A hit-and-run car accident is any type of accident where the driver of a vehicle collides with someone or something such as another vehicle and leaves the scene of the accident. Drivers involved in accidents have a legal obligation to render aid to those who are injured, alert the nearest police department and exchange information with others involved in the accident. Hawaii law dictates that the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident must immediately stop at the scene and remain there until all obligations are fulfilled.
If a driver leaves the scene of an accident after hitting another car, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist and leaves the scene, that constitutes a hit-and-run accident. You are required to stop whether or not the accident is your fault. If someone else hits you and you leave the scene, that is also considered a hit-and-run accident.
Hawaii Hit-and-Run Laws
The Hawaii Revised Statutes § 291C-13 (2013) outlines the penalties that a hit-and-run driver may face if found guilty of violating the law. Hawaii considers a hit-and-run accident to have taken place when any driver is involved in an accident that results in damage to another vehicle or to property, then flees the scene.
Penalties for a hit-and-run accident in Hawaii vary from a fine up to a Class B felony if the accident causes serious bodily injuries or death. The penalties include:
- Striking an unattended vehicle – $100 fine for trauma system special fund
- Causing damage to an occupied vehicle – $100 fine for trauma system special fund
- Penalties for bodily injury
- Misdemeanor – imprisonment for up to one year plus the possibility of a fine up to $2,000
- $100 fine for neurotrauma special fund
- $100 fine for trauma system special fund
- Penalties for substantial bodily injury
- Class C felony – imprisonment of up to five years and a possible fine of up to $10,000
- $250 fine for neurotrauma special fund
- $250 fine for trauma system special fund
- Penalties for death and serious bodily injury
- Class B felony – imprisonment for up to ten years in prison and a possible fine of up to $50,000
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Being involved in a car accident is frightening enough. Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be downright terrifying, especially if you’ve been hurt. First, assess whether you or anyone else in the car with you has been injured. Your health is the most important thing:
- Call 911 if you are seriously injured or anyone else needs emergency medical help. If you don’t need immediate medical assistance, you still need to contact the police and report the accident. This is the beginning of a paper trail that establishes this as a hit-and-run accident and will allow police to investigate and search for the hit-and-run driver.
- If possible, gather witness information. If there are people present who saw the accident and you are able to do so, make sure to get their names and contact information.
- Takes photos and make notes about the accident. It may be difficult, but while the details are fresh in your mind, make sure you record as much information about the accident as possible. What did the other vehicle look like? Were there any stickers or identifying marks on it? Did you get a license plate number? Always take pictures of the damage to your car and the surrounding area as well.
- Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened.
- Contact experienced hit-and-run accident attorney Glenn Honda with the Recovery Law Center for guidance about your legal options.
Do not attempt to chase the driver who left the scene. Leaving the scene of the accident may place you in a compromising situation. It can be extremely difficult to prove who is at fault. In the age of social media where we want to share everything, it is important to refrain from posting anything about your accident or injuries on social media. You may inadvertently post information that the insurance company can use against you.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Hawaii is only one of a handful of states that follows a no-fault car insurance plan. No-fault means that injured drivers and passengers must first turn to their own car insurance company for payment of their medical bills. Your insurance will pay for injuries to you and any passengers in your vehicle up to the limits of the Personal Injury Protection policy.
If the accident causes a serious bodily injury, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver if the hit-and-run driver is caught. However, there may be another complicating factor if the driver fled the scene and has not been identified.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to file a claim against the UM policy for the harm caused by the hit-and-run driver.
How Can I Be Compensated for My Injuries?
If the hit-and-run driver is identified, the victims of hit-and-run accidents in Hawaii may file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, a loss in earning capacity, property damage, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. All car accidents are different and have their own unique circumstances, especially hit-and-run accidents.
An experienced attorney with Recovery Law Center will be able to review the facts in your particular case and determine the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We strive to gain the best possible outcome for your case. A hit-and-run accident shouldn’t send you into financial tailspin. Attorney Glenn Honda can help you determine the best way forward after a hit-and-run accident.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After I Am Injured in a Hit and Run Accident?
Insurance companies are for-profit entities, which means it is in their best interest to pay out as little as possible to resolve a claim. While this helps insurers’ bottom line, it does little to account for the pain and suffering you are going through following a hit-and-run accident.
That is why you need to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable and caring personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Hawaii. Glenn Honda and the legal team at Recovery Law Center have the experience to deal with all possible outcomes of a hit-and-run case.
If the at-fault driver is caught, we can pursue legal action against the individual to recover compensation and hold them accountable for their reckless actions. If the driver is not identified, we can negotiate with your insurance company to make sure you are getting the full compensation you deserve.