Motor Vehicle Accident Cases - Hawaii court opinions
The following cases are cases of interest to those dealing
with the effects of a motor vehicle accident (an MVA).
Some may show similarity to your
situation, but each case is individual and must be evaluated
on its own facts. Please feel free to peruse these cases.
These cases are published by the State of Hawaii and other
jurisdictions and it is believed that they may be copied
or distributed without further permissions.
to Car, Truck, Pedestrian, Auto,
Bus and Motorcycle Accidents and Motor Vehicle Insurance
Savini v. University of Hawaii 113 Hawaii 459 (3/19/07)
This recent decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court has helped to clarify Hawaii law on automobile accident claims against the State of Hawaii. The conflict between (1) the general two year (from date of occurence) deadline for filing claims against the State and (2) the general auto accident deadline of two years from the date of the accident or the last payment of no fault (PIP) benefits, whichever is later, was resolved wisely by the Hawaii Supreme Court. The Court held that because the claims against the State are not actionable until the threshold of $5,000.00 in medical expenses has been met, in the typical case an action can be filed against the State for two years after the date on which the threshold is met.
under Hawaii state law.
AFL Hotel Restaurant Workers v Bosque, Civ No. 03-1-0264 (April 28, 2006)
This recent decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court has helped to clarify Hawaii law on medical lien claims against personal injury recoveries. The case clearly indicates that without a separate reimbursement agreement, an ERISA plan that paid medical benefits is unable to enforce any lien claims at least in the Hawaii courts. Conversely, however, to the extent that a reimbursement agreement exists, the case appears to hold that that separate document creates a state law cause of action and this action can be brought in Hawaii state court. This makes little sense, however, since the action still seeks to enforce plan reimbursement provisions which are unique to ERISA and overreaching under Hawaii state law.
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 § 431:10C-301 or such coverages are automatically included in the
policy by operation of law.
Bowers and State Farm v. Alamo Rent-A-Car - June 17, 1998- The Hawaii Supreme Court decides:
(1) The escape clause contained in the Alamo rental agreement was void;
(2) Alamo has the primary obligation to defend and indemnify Bowers against
claims for personal injury and property damage incurred while driving an Alamo vehicle; and
(3) The obligations of State Farm (the renter's insurance company) were limited to providing excess liability coverage
Bynum v. Magno, November 18, 2004
The Hawaii Supreme Court finds that the full amount of medical bills can
be claimed as damages in personal injury actions even though Medicare or Medicaid
has paid only a substantially reduced amount to discharge those bills.
Bynum v. Magno, November 18, 2004
The dissenting opinions of Justice Moon and Levinson objecting
to the majority opinion (see link above) and
arguing that the full amount of medical bills
should not be recoverable as damages when Medicare/Medicaid
has paid only a substantially reduced amount.
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
Dines v. Pacific Insurance Company, Ltd.
, 78 Haw. 325, 893 P.2d 176 (1995), the Hawaii Supreme
Court ruled that a motorcyclist, who was involved in an accident
with a phantom vehicle, was able to recover UM (uninsured motorists)
coverage from an auto insurer on an automobile that he owned,
even though his motorcycle insurance did not have UM coverage.
The court found that UM coverage goes with the insured and not
with the vehicle.
Dorrance v. Lee, April 27, 1999
An unappealed decision in the CAAP program determining
damages for certain personal injury claims and apportioning liability
therefor between the various parties to a motor vehicle accident has
collateral estoppel effect as to the apportionment of liability
for the other personal injury claims which may arise out of
the same accident.
Estate of Cabral v AIG Hawaii Insurance Co., February 11, 1998 The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals holds that HRS §§ 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.
Foote v. Royal Insurance Company, July 31, 1998
Intermediate Court of Appeals case -
An auto policy issued to a small family-owned-and-operated corporation
which provided coverage for "family members"? of the insured business
was held not to be ambiguous enough to provide
uninsured [or underinsured] motorist insurance for members of
the business owner's family.
Gamata v. Allstate, April 28, 1999
The Intermediate Court of Appeals holds (1) that no-fault
benefits are expenses which are appropriate, reasonable and necessarily
incurred and are not restricted to treatment characterized as "curative" as opposed to "palliative.
and (2) that under Hawaii's no-fault laws,
if medical care has been provided and statutory dollar threshold has been met,
then the provider is the real party in interest to compel
non-payment of any medical bills for that service and the
medical provider must bring (or join in) any action for
reimbursement of the treatment costs
GEICO v. Dizol, en banc, January 13, 1997 [sic- actually 1998]
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals- En Banc- reverses the original 9th Circuit decision below
and holds that the U.S. District Court for the District of
Hawaii had no requirement to sua sponte consider if exercising jurisdiction
over a Declaratory Judgment action on a UIM policy (which action would address novel issues of
state law) was appropriate.
GEICO v. Dizol, February 28, 1997
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (later reversed) holds that the U.S. District Court for the District of
Hawaii erred in exercising jurisdiction over a Declaratory Judgment action on a UIM policy
issued by GEICO (relating to an underlying fatal car accident and dram shop action) and in relieving GEICO
of responsibility under the policy. The appeals court
remands for consideration by the trial court of whether or not it should exercise its discretionary
jurisdiction under the Declaratory Judgment Act or stay the Federal proceeding while the parties
resolve the novel state law issues in state court.
Gonzales v. Dai-Tokyo, March 7, 2005
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that HRS § 431:10C-301.5 (the Covered Loss
Deductible or CLD) is constitutional and that it applies to claims made
by an insured against their own carrier for optional additional
Underinsured Motorists (UIM) coverage benefits.
Hashimoto v. State Of Hawaii, January 21, 2005
The Hawaii Supreme Court's Summary Disposition Order-
Not For Publication - finding that the State of Hawai'i
is not necessarily immune from suits under the discretionary
function exception to the State Tort Liability Act for the failure
to install a traffic control device such as a left-turn
phase to the traffic lights at an intersection.
Kahale v. City And County Of Honolulu, May 12, 2004
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that the limitations period of
6 months (to file notice of claim?) found in HRS 46-72 applies to claims against the
City and County of Honolulu and the other counties of Hawaii-
overruling Salavea v. City and County of Honolulu 55 Haw. 216, 517 P.2d 51 (1973)-
note also that the Supreme Court found that derivative claims of parents are generally
not tolled by the infancy of a child- only the child's claims.
Kahale v. City And County Of Honolulu, May 12, 2004
Justice Acoba and Circuit Judge Chan's dissent to the majority
opinion of the court above- which changed the existing period
of limitations on claims against a County of the State of Hawaii
Lealaimatafao v. Woodward-Clyde Consultants, February 11, 1994
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that a significant other of 19 years and a hanai
child can have wrongful death rights as one "dependent" upon the decedent- even
if not legally related nor even receiving financial support- a "relational" basis of
dependency is sufficient. Moreover, for those who qualify- loss of companionship,
love and affection is recoverable as well as pecuniary loss.
Mendes v. Hawaii Insurance Guaranty Association, February 11, 1998
The tort of first-party bad faith does not exist against
HIGA (the Hawaiian Insurance Guaranty Association)
Nielsen v. American Honda Motor, July 31, 1998
A duly qualified auto mechanic expert is able to act as his
own expert witness to establish that an airbag malfunctioned
and that it was defective in a products liability case.
Omori v. Jowa Hawaii Co., March 30, 1999
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that an unborn child has rights and may
bring a tort action against his mother's employer for in utero injuries he/she
personally sustained as a result of the employer's wrongful conduct
Ozaki v. Aoao Discovery Bay, January 22, 1998
The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals holds (HRS) § 663-31 (1993), Hawai`i's modified comparative negligence statute, applies only to actions sounding wholly in negligence. Where negligence combines with other grounds of liability to cause injury, a plaintiff's negligence does not bar recovery but reduces the plaintiff's recovery by an amount equal to the degree to which the plaintiff is culpably negligent.
OZAKI v. AOAO DISCOVERY BAY, JANUARY 22, 1998
The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals holds that loss of enjoyment of life damages are
recoverable in a wrongful death action in Hawaii.
Schultz v. Wells, 13 P.3d 846 (Colo. App. 2000) abstract only
The COLORADO Court of Appeals excludes proffered "bio-engineering" testimony about automobile collision experiments with human volunteers offered to "prove" that there is a threshold of force below which a person probably would not be injured.
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance v. Murata, October 29, 1998
A policyholder may effectively lodge a timely claim for
UM benefits by supplying an insurer with all the information
requisite to making a claim for UM benefits (even if a
specific UM claim form has not been filled out).
State of Hawaii v. Pacheco, April 11, 2002
Honolulu District Court (J. Leslie Hiyashi) decision holding that
inference that registered owner was the driver
under Hawaii's van-cam traffic surveillance law is unconstitutional.
Walker v. Campanelli, October 12, 2004
The DELAWARE Supreme Court upholds a lower court
exclusion of photographs showing substantial car damage in
a car accident case- which led to a zero dollar jury verdict-
on the basis that no expert opinions had been given that the extent of
car damage was relevant to show the injuries or the severity
of the injuries.
Wilson v. AIG Hawaii Insurance Co., October 26, 1999
The Hawaii Supreme Court takes away the rights of a purchaser of a PIP auto
policy to enforce the payment of medical benefits under the policy to doctors, hospitals
and the like. Instead of holding that the doctors, hospitals etc. are intended
third-party beneficiaries of a contract of insurance purchased by the
car owner (hornbook contract law which gives both insured and medical care
provider a cause of action), the Supreme Court in an extremely poorly
reasoned decision removes the ability of an injured party needing medical
treatment to compel his/her insurer to keep current on his doctors' bills.
Ever since, insurers have been in a position to disrupt the injured party's
medical treatment without recourse to the policy holder and they do so.
This decision should be reversed legislatively or otherwise as soon as possible. It has allowed
and will continue to allow insurers to deny and delay medical treatment for their insureds and
it gives doctors administrative and red tape hassels in this state
which they don't face in other jurisdictions. The insurance company control
without recourse given by this decision hands insurers unreasonable power over doctors and their practices
and forces doctors to become "insurance company doctors" doing the will of the biggest
and most powerful companies in the world if they want their bills paid - or to move away to places where
their bills can get paid without a lawsuit against an insurance company.
you have suffered serious injuries as the result of an
accident in Hawaii, please feel free to contact
Accident Lawyer Hawaii now for a free evaluation of your case.