Understanding Hawaii Personal Injury Law: What You Need to Know

March 8 2023

In Hawaii, personal injury lawsuits are typically governed by state common law as well as general tort laws. The statute of limitations is also an important factor to consider when filing a personal injury claim in the state of Hawaii.

Overview of Hawaii Injury Law

Hawaii personal injury law is designed to provide financial relief to victims of negligence and/or intentional misconduct. These laws allow individuals who become injured due to the careless behavior of another person, companies, or entities to pursue and seek monetary compensation for their losses. Hawaii personal injury law encompasses a broad range of claims such as automobile accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, premises liability, and much more.

First and foremost, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care to them as a result of either contractual agreement or voluntarily taking on the responsibility to provide services—a concept known as vicarious liability. If a plaintiff’s case fails in this regard, then it will likely not be viable in court. But if a defendant did indeed have a duty of care towards the plaintiff, they are liable for damages resulting from any breach or violation of that duty.

When assessing whether or not a defendant has breached their duty of care based on negligence, courts review the nature of situation and examine what a reasonable person would do given the circumstances. In other words, if an individual should have anticipated harm based on their actions that any reasonable person would deem reckless, then they are guilty of negligence and could potentially be held liable for damages incurred by the plaintiff.

In contrast to proving liability by negligence, establishing liability when there is an intentional wrongdoer involves proving that a person knowingly acted with malicious intent or recklessness without regard for the safety or rights of the victim. Such cases can involve battery, sexual assault, wrongful death, criminal mischief or conversion (theft), and other similar criminal offenses. In civil court cases involving an intentional act, perpetrators must often compensate for “punitive damages” in addition to paying for economic losses like medical expenses and property damage. Punitive damages can serve as an extremely important part of justice when pursued correctly; not only does it penalize malicious actors but also serves as deterrent for future bad behavior from anyone who witnesses the proceedings.

Overall, Hawaii personal injury law offers victims legal recourse when they experience harm due to someone else’s behavior or omissions. The decisions made in any case depend heavily on its facts and circumstances; thus it is important to consider consulting with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about Hawaii injury law before making decisions pertaining to whether or not one needs legal representation or pursuing legal action in court.

Now that we have discussed an overview of Hawaii Injury Law let’s move onto discussing damages available in an injury claim which will be covered next.

  • In the State of Hawaii, plaintiffs are generally required to file a personal injury lawsuit within two (2) years from the date of the injury.
  • Claims involving minors in Hawaii must be filed by the child’s 8th birthday or 2 years from date of the injury, whichever occurs first.
  • In Hawaii, any civil actions arising from death must be commenced within two years from the date of death or two years from the date of discovery or first knowledge of circumstances giving rise to an allegation that wrongful death has been caused by another.

Damages Available in an Injury Claim

When filing a personal injury claim in Hawaii, it is important to understand what types of damages are available and how they can be pursued. Damages are typically divided into two primary categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are intended to compensate individuals for out-of-pocket expenses that may have been incurred as a result of the incident. These may include medical bills, property damage, lost wages (or income), and other related expenses. Economic damages provide financial assistance for past and present losses, but not for more subjective injuries such as pain and suffering.

Non-economic damages provide financial relief for these more subjective injuries. Non-economic damages can be used to cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, inconvenience, diminishment of lifestyle, and other similar losses. While it may be difficult to assign a dollar amount to these losses, Hawaii courts recognize that such losses can be damaging both financially and mentally, and deserve compensation.

In addition to direct financial compensation for such losses, courts may also award punitive damages in certain cases where there is proof of wilful or wanton conduct on the part of the defendant. Punitive damages are intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

The amount of damages available will vary depending upon the individual circumstances of each case. It is important to speak with an experienced injury attorney when considering pursuing a claim so that you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

The next section will discuss the different types of available compensation when filing an injury claim in Hawaii.

Types of Available Compensation

When an individual has been injured due to another party’s negligent or intentional act, there may be several types of compensation available to help them recover from the incident. It is important for those affected by a personal injury to understand what type of compensation they are eligible for and how each type of compensation may affect their overall financial situation.

Injury victims may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are designed to compensate the person for any quantifiable financial losses associated with the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages are meant to address more intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

It is important to note that not all cases will provide the same amount or type of compensation. The exact value of the settlement received depends on factors such as the severity of the injury, the parties involved in the accident, the length of recovery time needed, and any underlying insurance policies. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on merit before an appropriate amount of compensation can be estimated.

There is debate over the use of non-economic damages in personal injury cases due to their perceived nebulous nature; some argue that these damages should be difficult to obtain or at least limited in dollar amount due to a lack of tangible evidence. Others counter that non-economic damages can be just as expressive of actual losses suffered by an individual after an injury as medical bills or property damage.Given this debate exists and it is important for victims to discuss with their legal team what type and amounts of compensation are appropriate for their particular case.

Ultimately, understanding what types of compensation are available and how they can impact an individual’s financial or emotional wellbeing after a personal injury will help guide actions taken when seeking justice from those responsible. With this information in mind, we can now turn our attention to the Statute of Limitations in Hawaii related to personal injury claims.

Statute of Limitations in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. This means that you have two years from the time of your injury to file a lawsuit in order to seek damages. The statute of limitations may be extended in cases where the injured party did not know they had suffered an injury, such as when medical malpractice has occurred but symptoms were not immediately present.

It’s important to note that the two-year restriction begins on the date of the actual incident or injury, and not when it was discovered. Therefore, if you are filing after the two-year period, you can point to your lack of knowledge as your reason for being late. However, it doesn’t guarantee that your suit will still be accepted; it is possible that a court may reject a late claim even in these circumstances.

Different rules apply for minors in Hawaii; for a minor under six years old at the time of their injury, there is no statute of limitations. A minor between six and eighteen years of age has until their twentieth birthday to file a claim. In other cases involving minors, such as those involving medical malpractice, victims usually have until three years from their eighteenth birthday to submit their lawsuit.

The statute of limitation is an important element of any personal injury claim – ignoring it can mean waiting too long to pursue legal action and forfeiting any chance at obtaining compensation. On the other hand, if you act too soon and do not have all the evidence necessary to make a case, then you won’t be in a very strong legal position either. It is therefore critical that you understand exactly what statute applies to your situation so that you can take action without delay yet still ensure that your case is rock solid before filing a lawsuit.

Moving on from considerations related to the statute of limitations, we now turn our attention to negligence in injury claims – one of the most crucial components in any successful personal injury case.

Negligence in Injury Claims

Negligence is a commonly used concept in civil and criminal law, and it can also be the basis for a personal injury lawsuit in Hawaii. Negligence is defined as “the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances, resulting in harm or injury to another person.” In other words, negligence occurs when someone fails to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to another person, resulting in an injury.

In order for an individual to establish a personal injury claim based on negligence, they must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care; the defendant breached this duty of care; and this breach led to their injury. If these elements are proven, then the defendant is legally responsible (or ‘liable’) for any loss or damage resulting from their negligent act and the victim has recourse to recover damages. This can be one of two types: economic damages, which are those relating to financial loss such as lost wages or medical bills; and non-economic damages which may include physical pain, emotional suffering, and/or humiliation due to the incident.

It is important to note that in some cases liability may not be determined solely by showing negligence on behalf of the aggressor. For instance, if both parties were negligent — say a vehicle driver failed to yield right-of-way but the pedestrian was crossing against a red light — then liability may be split between each party according to their own contribution toward causing the incident. Understanding local laws regarding specific scenarios can help determine what steps should be taken in order to determine responsibility for expenses relating to an incident.

Negligence is just one factor that may come into play following an accident or incident resulting in injuries. It is important for victims of negligence-related incidents to understand their rights and what recourse is available for potential losses suffered. The next section will explore what recourse might be available for injury victims in Hawaii through understanding relevant laws and steps involved in claiming compensation for their losses.

Recourse for Injury Victims

When an injury victim has suffered damages, they may opt to take legal action in order to seek compensation. In Hawaii, injury victims have a number of legal options at their disposal, all stemming from the concept of “negligence.” Negligence is defined as the failure of another party to act with reasonable care when it comes to the safety of another. Under negligence laws, injury victims can file suits in order to seek costs associated with medical bills, rehabilitation, or lost wages due to time taken away from work.

These lawsuits are typically filed against the party that is deemed negligent—often times this is the other driver in a car accident, but could also be more general such as a landlord or property manager responsible for a slip and fall. There are two main types of lawsuits available to injury victims: personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. A personal injury claim allows the injured victim (or their family) to seek monetary compensation for injuries sustained in an accident due to another’s negligence. The damages pursued in this regard tend to cover physical expenses (e.g., hospital bills), lost wages due to missed work, and compensation for pain and suffering. A wrongful death claim is similar but seeks damages on behalf of those affected by a fatality suffered as the result of another’s negligence—in these cases damages are sought on behalf of dependents, including spouses and children.

In some cases there could be lengthy legal proceedings before any settlement is reached or damages awarded—this is especially true if either side questions the liability of a particular party concerning an accident or worse still if both sides are unwilling to come an agreement out-of-court over how much should be paid out in comparison with damages suffered by the plaintiff. Regardless, these options remain open for individuals who meet certain criteria for pursuing such claims.

Understanding how injury law works in Hawaii is critical for anyone seeking restitution after suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence. In the next section we will explore how victims can submit an injury lawsuit in such cases in order to start their journey towards obtaining justice and potentially financial security post-incident.

How to Submit an Injury Lawsuit

Submitting an injury lawsuit in Hawaii is a difficult and challenging process, as the plaintiff must satisfy certain criteria to make their case valid. Here are some tips one should consider when planning to file an injury lawsuit:

Identify All Involved Parties:

In Hawaii, all parties responsible for causing the injury or damage must be identified before initiating a legal claim. This can include employers, manufacturers, property owners, doctors, hospitals or other entities that may have had a part in the incident or damages caused. Once the defendant(s) have been identified, it is necessary to obtain sufficient evidence to support your personal injury claim.

Gather Evidence:

Compiling proof of liability is essential in proving negligence and strengthening your argument for damages. Witnesses’ reports and testimonies, photographs or videos of the incident, medical records and expert testimony will help build a strong case supporting your claim. In addition, medical bills, loss of earnings statements and repair documents can be used to quantify financial losses experienced due to the accident.

File A Notice Of Claim:

Once you have established the extent of injuries suffered and all relevant facts surrounding the incident are addressed, you must file a notice of claim with the appropriate Hawaiian court. The notice of claim should include pertinent information such as contact details of both parties, description of how the incident took place and explanation on why you are filing a legal claim against the defendant. The law requires that all relevant documentation such as police reports and medical records be submitted with the notice of claim.

Reach Settlement Agreement Or Go To Trial:

If negotiations with the defendant prove unsuccessful in reaching an agreement regarding reimbursement for expenses incurred due to your injury, then you must pursue further legal action by taking your case to trial. Both parties will have their day in court where trials involve formal presentation of evidence and subsequent ruling by a judge or jury. Alternatively, a fair settlement based on liability and extent of injuries could be reached out-of-court through successful negotiations between both sides without having to go through additional trial procedures.

Ultimately, submitting a personal injury lawsuit in Hawaii involves numerous steps which require considerable time and effort if conducted on one’s own behalf. Those considering filing an injury lawsuit should strongly consider consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can provide advice on how best to proceed with your case given the specific circumstances involved .

Frequently Asked Questions and Responses

Can I file a personal injury claim in Hawaii?

Yes, you can file a personal injury claim in Hawaii. In order to do so, you must be able to provide evidence that the accident or incident that caused your injury was the result of another person or party’s negligence or misconduct. This means that you need to produce proof that there was a legal responsibility to take reasonable care for your safety on behalf of the other party. You then need to show how their failure to do so led to your injury and related damages. Hawaii law also requires you to seek medical attention immediately following any accident or incident in order for your claim to be valid. Depending on the severity of your injury and its long-term effects, it may be feasible for you to pursue legal remedies either through a court of law or through an out-of-court settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company.

What is the damages limit for personal injury suits in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, personal injury suits are subject to a statutory damages cap. Generally speaking, the maximum amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive by filing a lawsuit in Hawaii is $375,000 per person or $750,000 per incident, whichever is greater. This damages limit encompasses all types of compensatory damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, punitive damage awards may not exceed $50,000 above the compensatory award amount.

Prior to July 2018, there was no limit on the amount of punitive damages that could be sought in Hawaii personal injury cases. However, lawmakers have since passed legislation to put a cap on punitive damages awards for both economic and non-economic harm. As such, there is now a clear limit on the maximum amount of money that can be recovered in these kinds of cases.

Although this maximum damages limit in Hawaii might seem restrictive to some people, it is important to remember that any monetary award can still help victims recover from their losses and move on with their lives after a traumatic event occurs.

What is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This means that an injured person must file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages within two years of the date on which the injury occurred. If the individual does not file their lawsuit within this two-year window, they will most likely be unable to seek any compensation from anyone liable for the injury.

However, there are certain exceptions to this rule which can extend the filing period. For instance, if a minor under the age of 18 is injured and unable to take legal action until after turning 18, the two-year window will only begin when they turn 18. In addition, if an injury was not immediately discoverable, such as in cases involving medical malpractice, then the time frame allotted may extend beyond the two-year limit. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to determine whether you meet any exceptions to the statute of limitations before filing a lawsuit.

Questions I would ask about personal injury in Hawaii:

1. What types of personal injury cases are covered under Hawaii’s laws?

Answer: Hawaii’s personal injury laws cover a wide range of incidents and situations, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, negligence, and many other forms of harm caused by another person or entity. Depending on the circumstances of the case, plaintiffs may seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

2. What must I prove in order to win my claim?

Answer: In order to prevail in a personal injury case in Hawaii, you must be able to prove that another person or entity was negligent and directly caused your injuries. This means you will need to provide evidence showing that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care but breached this duty to an extent that resulted in you suffering harm.

3. What type of compensation can I recover from my claim?

Answer: If successful, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages from your claim. Economic damages refer to out-of-pocket losses such as medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages refer to indirect losses such as pain and suffering or diminished quality of life. Additionally, punitive damages may be available in some cases if it can be proved that the defendant acted with egregious or reckless disregard for safety standards.

What are the laws regarding personal injury in Hawaii?

The laws regarding personal injury in Hawaii are based on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence is defined as a failure to use reasonable care that results in harm to another person or their property. Generally speaking, to successfully recover compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, a plaintiff must show that the other party (usually a defendant) owed them a duty of care, that they breached their duty of care, that this breach caused an injury, and that damages resulted from the injury.

In Hawaii, defendants may be liable for damages due to negligence even if it was unintentional. The court will assess the case based on the amount of care that a reasonable person should have exercised in similar circumstances. If a person has acted negligently, then they can be held accountable for any injuries resulting from their negligence. Additionally, even if only one party is found to be negligent, both parties may still be responsible for the damages depending on their relative level of fault or comparative negligence.

Finally, it should be noted that the state of Hawaii operates under a modified comparative fault system when it comes to determining fault and financial responsibility following a personal injury accident. According to the law, an injured victim’s recovery can be reduced proportionately according to the percentage of fault attributed to them up to a maximum reduction amount of 50 percent. As such, injured victims who are deemed partly at fault can still recover compensation provided they do not bear more than 50 percent of the blame in court.