Auto Accidents in Hawaii - Automobile Accidents in Honolulu - Initial Considerations
After an auto/automobile accident,
there are several immediate steps which should be considered.
Many accidents are fortunately quite
minor in nature and are easily dealt with. An attorney
is not generally needed in the
aftermath of a minor accident.
However there are certain procedures
that should always be considered after an accident has occurred:
- Note the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
This is especially important since the police
recently stopped making detailed
police reports on many accidents in Hawaii.
- Inform the police of the accident if
it is substantial or where there are any injuries.
- Identify the driver of the other vehicle
and who the owner of the vehicle as well, if possible.
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers,
insurance company info and license numbers.
- Note a description of each vehicle,
including year, make, model, color and damage sustained.
This latter point can be very important-
take photos if at all possible.
- Note the exact location of the collision and how it happened -
take photos if at all possible or make a diagram if you can.
- If you are injured- or believe you may show injuries later- request an
ambulance or otherwise obtain competent
medical assistance. Encourage others to do so as well.
- If serious injuries resulted
from the accident, consider preserving the auto/automobile
and other vehicles to the extent
possible for photographing and inspection by
an expert in accident reconstruction.
- Report the accident to your insurer when you get home.
- If serious injuries resulted from
the accident, consider taking photographs and
videotape of the injuries and their effects- a day or two after the
accident and thereafter, as appropriate-
to preserve evidence of the extent
of the injuries for later use.
Unfortunately, some auto/automobile accidents
are severe in nature and serious injuries or death
may result. Under such circumstances-
especially if someone else was responsible for
the accident- you may wish to consider making a personal injury claim.
Under such circumstances you may wish to:
Car Accident Attorney Hawaii now for a free evaluation of your case.
Automobile Insurance Information
There are various types of insurance coverage related to personal injury
accident claims. For an overview of the types of coverage, please click here:
Types of insurance coverage
motor vehicle insurance is required by Hawaii state law when
owning a motor vehicle
in Hawaii. Hawaii state law requires that each vehicle be
and that a valid Hawaii motor vehicle insurance
identification card be carried in the
motor vehicle at all times. An operator
can be ticketed and fined if operating a vehicle without
the required motor vehicle identification card.
If one doesn't have insurance on a motor vehicle, one is required to
surrender the registration certificate and license plates
to the county director of finance. And when that occurs, of course,
the vehicle is not supposed to be driven.
Hawaii is a no-fault state, which in Hawaii means a motor vehicle insurance
company is generally required to pay the medical bills for injuries
arising out of a motor vehicle accident up to the personal
injury protection benefits ("PIP")
limit. However, in many cases, where there are wage loss, pain
and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and/or other additional
damages, Hawaii's no-fault law prevents one from suing unless there are serious
injuries. Because "no-fault" applies to medical
expenses and injuries only,
not to vehicles or property, a driver-at-fault in an accident
is still responsible for damages to vehicle and property.
minimum motor vehicle insurance policy in Hawaii must have coverage
of $10,000 per person in personal
injury benefits. This coverage is for paying medical and rehabilitative
mandatory auto coverages also include a $20,000 per person/$40,000
per accident bodily injury liability and a $10,000 per occurrence
property damage liability. These cover damages for an injured
party when a person covered under the policy
is at-fault in an accident.
auto coverages and options include: collision
and comprehensive, uninsured ("UM") and underinsured
("UIM") coverages, wage loss, alternative care
(including healing methods such as naturopathy, acupuncture
and faith healing), death benefits (coverage range from
$25,000 to $100,000), funeral benefits, (the coverage is
$2,000), PIP deductible and PIP managed care.
insurance agent or company selling auto
insurance must also advise a purchaser about uninsured
and underinsured motorist coverage options. These may be
declined in writing. One may purchase at
a minimum $20,000 per person uninsured motorist coverage
to pay for serious injury or death of an insured under the policy
with the coverage (or a resident family member), if the driver at fault
does not have insurance or in case of a hit and run accident.
One may also purchase a minimum $20,000 per person underinsured
motorist coverage to pay for the losses to an insured under the policy
(or a resident family member) if the driver at fault does not
have enough insurance.
We recommend that these coverages
always be obtained. An
insurance company or insurance agent can help you decide
on the best coverages for your individual situation and
needs- but it should be noted that UM and UIM coverages
are an important coverage which a policyholder buys
to protect his/her own family.
Some recent cases related
to Auto Insurance and Coverages
Dacanay v. Liberty Mutual Insurance, February 9, 2005
Hawaii's Intermediate Court of Appeals holds that in a no-fault medical fee dispute before the
insurance commissioner, a no-fault insurer can waive its insured's failure to join the medical care
providers as the "real party-in-interest" and that when this occurs the commissioner may award
attorneys fees and costs of the proceeding to the insured.
Dai-Tokyo Royal State Insurance v. Yokote, October 31, 2003
An insurer may not limit its liability for optional wage loss benefits
under a car insurance policy by "excess coverage only"
policy provisions that render the consumer's choice of such coverage
Allstate Insurance v. Kaneshiro, May 4, 2000
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that when a material change is made to an automobile insurance policy (such as
the named insured changing from a policyholder to his spouse alone and an additional vehicle being added to
the policy), the insurer is required to obtain a new written rejection of UM and UIM coverage to the new named
insured pursuant to HRS section 431:10C-301 or such coverages are automatically included in the
policy by operation of law.
Estate of Cabral v AIG Hawaii Insurance Co., February 11, 1998 The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals holds that HRS sections 431:10C-304 and 431:10C-103(10) confer upon an insured a survivors' loss benefit equivalent to the aggregate limits of no-fault benefits less any no-fault benefits paid or payable under the policy.