Hawaii Car Accident Overview
Hawaii is the most distinctive state of all 50 states – not only is it the only island that is a state, but it is located hundreds of miles away from any other state (the nearest one being California). Hawaiian culture is special in many ways: On the Hawaiian Islands will you find authentic luaus, pineapples, unique wildlife, and some of the most breathtaking, colorful scenery you will find in the United States. Hawaii has a population of about 1.4 million people (as of the time of a 2013 census). Cities like Honolulu and Kailua are large in comparison to the size of the islands, but are dwarfed by many cities on the mainland.
Traveling by road in Hawaii is a one-of-a-kind experience given that the state consists solely of islands. Despite this, car accidents can and do happen on Hawaiian roads. When they do, serious injuries or even death can result. If you live in Hawaii, how can you protect yourself while commuting about?
Facts About Hawaii Car Crashes
The Hawaii Department of Health is the agency responsible for maintaining statistics and data concerning car crashes that happen on the islands. The data and trends drawn therefrom is then used by public officials to determine what policy changes need to be made to better protect Hawaiian residents. Data from the Department of Health for the period from 2007 to 2011 show that:
- On average, 58 people lose their lives in Hawaii car crashes. Most of these happen in Honolulu County (115 fatalities over the past five years);
- Males between the ages of 15 and 24 are most at risk of suffering fatal injuries in a car crash;
- According to the Department of Health, car crashes are the fourth leading cause of death in the state;
- About 4,000 individuals suffer nonfatal injuries in car crashes each year. Again, the majority of these occur in Honolulu County.
When it comes to determining why on an island paradise like Hawaii there would be so many traffic deaths and injuries, one need look no further than Hawaiian drivers and visitors using the state’s roads. Many fatal crashes and injury collisions occur because one or more drivers act in a negligent manner while driving. Texting while driving causes a significant number of crashes each year, as does disobeying traffic rules and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When a negligent driver causes injury to another in Hawaii, there may be an opportunity for the injured driver to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
Hawaii is a “No Fault” Insurance State
Hawaiian drivers who live on the islands must obtain a satisfactory “no fault” insurance policy before they are able to legally drive a vehicle. While fault-based insurance policies are required primarily for the benefit of potential injury victims, no-fault insurance protects the insured him- or herself from suffering injuries and not having any source of compensation available. Following a car crash, the injured Hawaiian driver would file a claim for compensation with his or her own insurance company and such claim would be paid without regard to which person actually caused the accident.
There may be situations in which an injured motorist can file a car accident lawsuit following a Hawaiian car crash (although, because of Hawaii’s no-fault insurance scheme, these situations will be rarer than they would be in a fault-based state). If a lawsuit is filed, the injured victim’s fault becomes extremely important. If the victim is determined to have been more than 50 percent responsible for causing the crash, he or she will not be permitted to recover any compensation.
Hawaii Limits the Time You Have to File a Car Crash Lawsuit
If a lawsuit must be filed in Hawaii following a car crash, state law requires that this suit be filed within two years of the date the accident occurred. An injury victim who waits too long before filing his or her suit and who exceeds this two-year time frame will find that his or her lawsuit will be dismissed by the court and he or she will be precluded from obtaining any compensation whatsoever.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Hawaiian car crash, it is important to speak with an attorney quickly about your legal rights and what steps you must take to protect your ability to recover compensation. Contact the experienced car accident law firm of Stern Law, PLLC. We will carefully evaluate the facts of your case and help you understand what you must do to have the best opportunity to recover the compensation you need. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today for prompt and professional assistance with your car accident case. Stern Law, PLLC can be reached by calling (844) 808-7529.