How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Honolulu, HI
Filing a personal injury claim after being hurt in a Honolulu accident can feel overwhelming for many victims. That’s natural. A sudden accident violates your feeling of comfort and control. Recovery Law Center can put you in charge again.
No matter what type of accident that you were in, there’s one guarantee. At some point during your recovery — typically within days or even hours of the incident — you will be contacted by an insurance company offering to make a quick settlement.
Warning: these settlement offers are almost always far less than what you deserve.
Please talk to a Hawaii personal injury lawyer before making any statements or deals with an insurance adjuster. An experienced attorney knows how to file a personal injury claim, what it takes to win and how to prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you during such a vulnerable time.
At Recovery Law Center, our legal team can take the stress out of the claims process by handling everything from start to finish. Schedule a free consultation today so we can get started on your case immediately.
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Starting the Claims Process
In Hawaii, filing a personal injury claim varies depending on what type of accident you were in. For example, Hawaii is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. That means that you begin seeking compensation for any injuries that you or a passenger suffered through your own car insurance policy, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
By contrast, other injury claims (like those suffered in slip and fall or from defective product) would be filed with the insurance company(s) of whoever is responsible for your accident.
Most personal injury cases can be resolved through a settlement with the insurance company. This is usually the best option for everyone involved — it avoids the need for a trial, which can be time-consuming and riskier.
However, insurance companies don’t make it easy to get a full and fair settlement. Your attorney may have to go back and forth with insurers multiple times before getting an appropriate compensation offer.
There are also times when insurance companies refuse to compromise. In those cases, Recovery Law Center will come to you with the option to take the case to trial. We will explain what to expect in court and how we will defend your rights. However, the ultimate decision on whether to file a lawsuit or accept a settlement will always be yours and yours alone.
Filing the Lawsuit
There are several steps involved to file a personal injury lawsuit in Hawaii.
Claims may be filed in state or federal court. There are state courts in every county. The federal court is located in Honolulu County.
The lawsuit process includes:
- Filing a complaint: The complaint explains what happened and why the at-fault party owes you compensation for your injuries and accident-related losses.
- Serving the defendant: Once the complaint has been filed with the court, the defendant (whoever you are suing) is notified of the lawsuit and has an opportunity to respond.
- Reviewing the answer: The defendant may argue to dismiss the case or respond to every allegation listed in your complaint. They may acknowledge them, deny them or admit that the accident happened but they should not be held liable for your injuries.
- Discovery: During this process, attorneys from both sides begin gathering evidence to support their claims. This may include submitting questionnaires to the opposing side, interviewing witnesses and giving a deposition (or interview), which allows you to tell your side of the story.
- Settlement or trial: At any time during the process, defendants can offer to settle the lawsuit. In some cases, defendants (particularly large corporations) may wait until right before a trial begins before making a fair settlement offer.
Determining Fault in a Honolulu Accident
There is one thing that can dramatically impact the amount of compensation you receive in a personal injury case — whether you are partly at fault in the accident that injured you.
Hawaii is a comparative fault state. This law covers how compensation should be awarded if more than one party is to blame for an accident.
In cases of shared fault, each party’s degree of fault is assigned as a percentage. As long as you were at less than 51 percent responsible for your accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries. However, if you are more than 51 percent responsible, you cannot receive any compensation at all.
In addition, if you share any portion of fault in the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if your total award was $10,000 and you were found to be five percent at fault for the accident, your ultimate recovery would be $9,500.
Because fault can make or break your chances of getting compensation in Hawaii, having a lawyer who can conduct an independent investigation of your accident is critical, no matter if you are negotiating in or out of court.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Hawaii
Hawaii law gives you two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim against someone else. There are exceptions for car accident claims if the victim is a minor or if you are filing lawsuits for some other types of claims, so arranging a consultation with an attorney as soon as possible can ensure that you don’t miss the deadline.
Ready to Learn Your Legal Options? Contact Recovery Law Center Today
Glenn Honda and the entire team at Recovery Law Center are committed to providing comprehensive legal services with minimal disruptions to your life. We will demand maximum compensation for your losses and keep you constantly updated on the progress of your case.
Whether you are a local, tourist, business traveler or military service member, Recovery Law Center is here to fight on your behalf.
Contact us today to arrange your free, no-obligation consultation.