A car accident can have a lasting impact on both your health and personal finances. Along with painful injuries, the medical bills and lost wages stemming from a collision can leave you facing crushing debts with few options to pay them off.
Because the physical and financial costs of a major car accident are so high, it’s important to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for your losses. But insurers have no incentive to make large payouts to accident victims. Getting fully compensated can be difficult.
Don’t settle for a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. A Honolulu car accident lawyer from Recovery Law Center can fight to maximize the value of your settlement, making it easier for you to move on from this difficult chapter in your life.
Glenn T. Honda is a proven Hawaii injury attorney who has successfully represented clients throughout Oahu for more than 25 years. Whether you live on the island or were injured while on business or vacationing, Recovery Law Center will work to secure full and fair compensation for you.
The clock is ticking on your injury claim. Don’t wait any longer to get started. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
What Affects Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
There are a number of factors that will impact the amount of your car accident settlement. These include:
- The extent of your injuries: Severe injuries mean higher medical bills, more pain and suffering for you, and more time away from work as you get the treatment you need to heal. The greater the injury, the more compensation you may be able to receive.
- Who was at fault for the accident: Hawaii is a no-fault state for car accidents, which means that you’ll first seek compensation for your injuries from your own insurer. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that fault doesn’t matter if your crash occurs in a no-fault state. Depending on the facts of the case, you could also be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver. Your own portion of a fault will come into question then and could lower your ultimate settlement amount.
- The quality of the evidence: To recover the amount you deserve after a car accident, you need solid evidence to back up your claim. Examples include photographs of your injuries, medical records, hospital, and prescription receipts, pay stubs to substantiate your lost wages and the police accident report.
- Insurance policy limits: Insurance companies only have to pay “reasonable” costs up to the dollar limits purchased by their policyholders. If your damages exceed these amounts, the policy limits could reduce your settlement amount.
Do’s and Don’ts to Improve Your Chances at a Fair Car Accident Settlement
The steps you take in the period after a car accident can help or hurt your ability to recover maximum compensation. Here are tips that could help tip the scales in your favor:
- Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries. Visual evidence can demonstrate the extent of your injuries in a much more compelling way than medical records can alone. Photographs can also help establish fault after a car accident. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the area surrounding the crash site, your injuries, and whatever else may be pertinent to your case.
- See a doctor right away. If you aren’t taken to the hospital after a crash, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. This can rule out any undetected injuries so that you receive proper treatment. Seeing a doctor quickly shows that you took immediate steps to address your injuries, which is important to maximizing the value of your claim.
- Save all your receipts and pay stubs. To obtain compensation for your medical bills and lost wages, you need to be able to document your financial losses. These records will be key in helping you recover compensation.
- Call a car accident attorney immediately. The sooner you speak to a car accident lawyer, the sooner you can take action.
- Post about your accident on social media. Insurance adjusters have been known to comb through social media sites to look for evidence that could reduce settlement payouts. Don’t post evidence that could be used against you. For example, if you sustained whiplash in a crash, a photo of you dancing at a party could harm your case. It’s best to stay away from social media entirely after a car accident, but if you do post anything, don’t say anything about the collision.
- Discuss fault with anyone. Even a simple “I’m sorry” can work against you in a crash investigation. If you’re asked about the accident by the police or insurance company, answer truthfully, but don’t speculate about who is to blame.
- Speak to the insurance company without consulting a lawyer first. A car accident lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance company for you. This can protect your rights and give you time to rest and recover from your injuries.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement Amount in Honolulu?
Car accident victims frequently ask if there is an average car accident settlement amount. Unfortunately, there’s no accurate answer to this question. All accidents have different facts and can settle for different amounts. However, a good car accident lawyer can put an estimated value on your case and fight for the maximum compensation possible.
A settlement can include compensation for losses such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
A favorable outcome in your car accident case can help with immediate monetary losses and provide financial security for expenses that are expected to last for years to come.
What If I am Partially at Fault for the Wreck?
In Hawaii, the fault comes into play if you are seriously injured and file a claim for compensation against the other driver. This can only happen if:
- Your accident resulted in more than $5,000 being paid from your own insurance company.
- You suffered serious and permanent injuries such as the loss of a body part, a permanent reduction in some kind of bodily function, or serious disfigurement.
Let’s assume that you meet the criteria to file a lawsuit against the other party. In Hawaii, you could still be entitled to compensation even if you are partially at fault for the wreck. However, your final award will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the crash.
Example: You sue the other driver for $100,000 in damages, but the courts determine that you were 10 percent responsible for the crash that injured you. Your compensation would be reduced by 10 percent, or $10,000. You would therefore be entitled to $90,000 in compensation.
When to Consult a Car Accident Attorney
The best time to consult a Honolulu car accident lawyer is as soon as possible after a crash. Hawaii has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, so if you wait too long, you will lose your ability to seek compensation forever. While most car accident cases are settled out of court, it’s crucial to keep this deadline in mind in case you can’t reach a fair settlement agreement. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible gives them a head start on gathering the evidence you’ll need to support your claim without running up against the statute of limitations.
How Can Recovery Law Center Help Me?
Our Honolulu legal team has a quarter-century of experience standing up for the rights of injured people. When you work with us, you get a lawyer who will:
- Launch an immediate investigation to understand what caused the accident and who should be held liable
- Gather strong evidence to prove your losses and maximize the value of your car accident claim
- Communicate with all involved parties so that you don’t have to
- Help you find the doctors and support you need as you put your life back together
- Prepare your case for trial, if a fair settlement cannot be reached during negotiations