The Aloha State has some important rules regarding personal injury which can affect the outcome of your lawsuit or insurance claim. The following are some of the more important personal injury related laws in Hawaii.
Deadline to File an Injury Lawsuit- The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Hawaii is two years. This time limit begins on the date of the accident. The time limit is the same in an action against a city, county, or state agency.
Comparative Negligence- In cases where the defendant contests the fault for an accident, Hawaii applies the comparative negligence rule. This can either reduce the amount of damages you can collect, or even completely eliminate them, depending on the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you are found to be ten percent at fault for an accident, the state will lower the awarded damages in your case by ten percent.
No Fault Auto Insurance- Hawaii uses a No Fault system of auto insurance, in which all drivers must file a claim through their own insurance regardless of fault. You can not file suit against another driver unless the accident resulted in more than five thousand dollars in medical expenses or other damages, or if you have suffered serious or permanent injury such as loss of body part or body function, or a permanent or serious disfigurement that causes mental and emotional distress.
Strict Liability for Dog Bite/Attack Cases- Hawaii makes no allowances for the past behavior of an animal. The owner is completely liable for any injuries caused by their dog.
Damage Caps- The state of Hawaii limits the damages available to you in a medical malpractice case. Non-economic, punitive damages for pain and suffering are capped at $375,000. Exceptions to this rule include psychological damage and mental anguish. This cap only applies in the specific case of medical malpractice, and not to matters outside of a medical setting.
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