What to Do After a Car Accident in Honolulu

Calling after a car accidentBeing involved in a motor vehicle accident in Honolulu can be a distressing and confusing experience. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a more serious collision, knowing the right steps to take immediately afterward can significantly impact your well-being, the outcome of any potential personal injury protection claims, and handling auto insurance matters.

In the first three months of 2023, the NHTSA reported approximately 9,330 deaths from traffic accidents, showing a 3.3% decrease from the same timeframe in 2022. This drop marks the fourth quarter in a row where traffic deaths have fallen. This is a positive change after a period of increases that started in late 2020. Continuing this pattern, the first half of 2023 recorded around 19,515 fatalities due to vehicle accidents, a 3.3% reduction from the first half of 2022.

This trend suggests that measures taken to improve road safety may be starting to have an impact. However, despite these encouraging signs, it’s important to remember that road safety should always be a priority, especially in places like Honolulu, where traffic conditions can vary.

That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize your safety, gather necessary information, and consider consulting Recovery Law Center, a personal injury attorney—especially if you’re injured or believe the at-fault driver’s actions led to the accident in Hawaii.

This guide provides a straightforward and logical approach to your actions following a car accident in Honolulu. It ensures your rights are protected and you navigate the aftermath confidently and clearly.

What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident

At the scene of a car accident, taking the right steps can be crucial for your safety, the safety of others, and for legal and insurance purposes. Here’s a guide on what to do:

  • Get out of the road: Remaining on the road could lead to a secondary crash. If it’s safe and possible, pull your car to the shoulder of the road, get out of it, and stand aside to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
  • Check for injuries: Look for any immediate signs of injury to yourself and your passengers. Also, check the driver and occupants of other vehicles for signs of trauma. If anyone is seriously injured, do not move them, as that could worsen their injuries.
  • Call 911: In Hawaii, accidents involving injury, death, or vehicle damage exceeding $3,000 must be reported. Getting paramedics and law enforcement to the crash site after a wreck is essential.
  • Stay at the accident scene: In Hawaii, it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident without reporting it and exchanging information with the other driver(s). If police are responding to the scene, wait until they arrive and dismiss you.
  • Collect information: Your initial accident claim will go to your insurance company, but you may also have to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier. Exchange insurance information with all drivers involved. Make sure to get their names, addresses, phone numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Record the license plate number, make, model, and year of the vehicles involved. This is also the time to collect contact information for any witnesses to the crash.
  • Document the scene: Take pictures of the accident scene. Include shots of the damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle(s), and the surrounding environment. Look for relevant evidence, such as skid marks, broken glass, damaged signage, or torn clothing. It’s also a good idea to keep a photo diary of your injuries, both from the accident date and as you heal.

The steps you take at the accident site are crucial to your safety and compensation claim. However, if you had to be immediately transported due to severe injuries, it’s essential that you contact an experienced accident lawyer who can handle the legal process for you.

What NOT to Do After a Honolulu Car Crash

What not to do after a car accident

If you’ve been involved in a car crash in Honolulu or anywhere else, there are several important things you should avoid doing in the aftermath. These actions can harm your ability to seek compensation or even get you into legal trouble. Here’s a list of what NOT to do after a car crash:

  • Be persuaded not to call the police: First, any injury crashes must be reported by law. Drivers who beg you to handle the accident privately are worried about the consequences for themselves, not your safety and best interests. A police report is also a valuable piece of evidence in a car accident claim.
  • Admit fault: Under Hawaii’s modified comparative negligence law, you could be entitled to compensation even if you are partially responsible for a car accident. But even a simple apology could be taken out of context by the insurance company and used against you.
  • Speak to the other party’s insurance company: You are not required to speak about the crash to the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, refer their questions to your attorney.
  • Agree to the first settlement offer: Understanding the long-term impact of serious injuries takes time. If you agree to a settlement in the first few days after a crash, you could miss out on vital compensation that could support you and your family.
  • File a lawsuit without an attorney: Accident victims who choose to represent themselves in court are at a great disadvantage. The procedures for filing lawsuits are complicated and best handled by a skilled attorney.

How to File Your Car Accident Claim in Honolulu

The process starts by calling your insurance company. You can recover compensation through your own policy if your injuries were minor. Serious injuries and property damage must go through the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Your ability to collect compensation will be greatly affected if you share any responsibility for the wreck. Hawaii’s modified comparative fault law allows you to receive fair compensation if you are not 51% or more responsible for the accident. However, your percentage of fault will reduce the ultimate amount you receive.

Having an experienced attorney when the fault is in question is essential. If you are blamed unfairly for the crash, you could lose all rights to compensation.

Most car accident cases result in settlements. But if an insurance company refuses to give you a fair settlement, you may have the option of taking the case to trial. There are pros and cons to going to trial, so discussing these with your lawyer first is important.

Accident Prevention Tips

Car Accident Tips

Unfortunately, you cannot control other drivers on the road. Your best chance of avoiding a car accident is to pay attention, drive defensively, and obey all traffic rules.

It’s also good to prepare an emergency kit to keep in your car in case an accident occurs. This kit should include:

  • Small road cones
  • Emergency flares
  • Disposable camera
  • Notepad and a pen
  • Medical information, including health insurance information, allergies, medications, and any conditions you suffer from
  • Emergency contact information
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles

Keeping your vehicle well-maintained is also a part of accident prevention.

  • Get regular inspections, tune-ups, and oil changes.
  • Check your tire air pressure and wear before hitting the road.
  • Make sure your spare tire is in good condition.
  • Replace old windshield wipers.
  • Keep front and rear windshields and mirrors cleared of smudges and debris.

Call an Experienced Honolulu Car Accident Attorney Today

Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Honolulu - Recovery Law CenterAfter experiencing an auto accident in Honolulu, taking the right steps can significantly affect the outcome for everyone involved, particularly when determining the at-fault driver and assisting any injured person.

Given the complexities that can arise, such as disputes over the at-fault driver or specifics about the vehicles involved, seeking professional legal advice becomes indispensable. The Recovery Law Center, an experienced personal injury law firm in Hawaii, specializes in providing legal guidance for these cases. Schedule a consultation with us to ensure your rights and well-being are protected.

Legally Reviewed By
George C. Alejandro

George C. Alejandro

George’s legal experience is varied. He represented plaintiffs in motor vehicle accidents, represented major banks regarding mortgage matters [...] Meet George

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