Every state has its own car insurance system. Some are fault based, others
are modified fault based and 12 states follow a no fault car insurance
system. Hawaii's system fits in the latter category. Many people don't
understand how a no-fault system
really works and what steps to take to make sure that your medical bills and
property damage are covered. Here are some quick tips to better understand
Hawaii's no-fault car insurance system:
The Theory Behind It All. Hawaii's no-fault car insurance system was put in place to reduce disputes
about who would pay for medical bills. It requires every person's
own insurance company to pay for certain medical bills that result from a
car accident injury, regardless of who is at fault. This short
video provides a quick look at how Hawaii no-fault insurance works.
Personal Protection Injury. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is the name of the insurance in which
each driver's own insurance company will pay for his or her injuries
- up to $5,000. If you have serious injuries amounting to more than $5,000,
you can step
outside of the no-fault rules and file a liability claim (including a personal
injury lawsuit) against the driver who caused the car accident if your injuries:
- exceed the limits of your “personal injury protection” (PIP)
insurance coverage, or
- include significant permanent loss of use of a body part or function, or
permanent and serious disfigurement resulting in mental or emotional distress.
It's important to understand that while the minimum PIP you’re
required to be covered for in Hawaii is $10,000, you can step out of the
system once you've reached the $5,000 limit. This aspect of Hawaii
law can be very confusing, but an experienced Hawaii car accident attorney
can explain how this would apply to your situation.
Property Damage. No-fault car insurance systems only apply to personal injuries, not property
damage. The "at fault" driver can be held liable for property damage.
The Importance of Getting Treatment. Anyone who has suffered injuries above Hawaii's $5,000 PIP limit should be
absolutely certain that they have received all of the treatment they need before
making a claim.
Once an insurance company settles a claim, you cannot go back for more.
Too many times, injured victims rush through the process to get a settlement
and then end up facing additional complications from the accident, requiring
more treatment and expense. So, patience is a virtue here. It's important
to make sure you receive all the medical care needed. It's better
to wait, make sure you've been fully treated and get compensation
for everything you are entitled to.
How a Hawaii Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Regardless of what type of insurance is involved, it's very likely
that the insurance companies involved will try to pay you as little as
possible, if anything at all. Contrary to their television ads, insurance
companies generally do
not act "like Good Neighbors" or have you "In Good Hands."
They report to their shareholders who want to see profits and, simply
put, paying out claims goes against that.
An experienced Hawaii car accident lawyer knows how insurance companies
operate and can help you to level the playing field by:
- Gathering evidence about your accident.
- Moving quickly to find and interview anyone who saw the wreck.
- Reviewing your insurance policy and the policy of the other driver - you
may be entitled to money under each one.
- Explaining your legal options.
- Exploring every avenue of compensation available to you.
- Giving you an honest opinion about your accident claim and your chances
- Battling with insurance companies and taking them to court when necessary.
The bottom line is that insurance companies know which law firms won't
back down and will do whatever it takes to get a legitimate claim paid.
Insurance companies have teams of attorneys representing their best interests;
make sure you've got someone to represent