Protecting the Rights of Passengers in Hawaii
Honolulu Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are injured when you are a passenger in a car that is involved in
an accident in Honolulu or elsewhere in Hawaii, you have a right to seek
compensation. Generally, you will have three options for pursuing a recovery.
We at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner can help you understand these options
and guide you through the whole process.
For reliable legal guidance, call
initial consultation, free of charge.
Option No. 1 - File a Claim Through the Driver's Personal Injury Protection Benefits
Hawaii requires anyone with a motor vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 in
personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This insurance pays for all medical and rehabilitative costs
that the driver and his or her passengers suffer in an accident - regardless
of who was at fault. So, if you are injured as a passenger, the driver's
PIP coverage should protect you up to the minimum amount of that coverage.
Option No. 2 - Sue the Driver of the Car or Other Type of Vehicle Who Is at Fault
If another driver caused the auto accident, you may be able to collect
compensation beyond PIP benefits.
You may be able to seek recovery from the other driver's liability
insurance coverage if:
- Your medical costs go beyond the $5,000 "tort threshold"
- You suffer significant permanent loss of use of a part or function of your
body or permanent and serious disfigurement
- Your loved one was the passenger and died in the accident
In contrast to a PIP claim, you would need to show that the other driver
was at fault in this type of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
However, the law is clear that other drivers owe a duty to other motorists
and their passengers, and they can be liable if they breach that duty.
Option No. 3 - Sue the Driver of Your Vehicle if He or She Is to Blame
for the Wreck
The driver could be a friend or family member. As a result, you may be
hesitant to bring a claim against him or her. Just keep in mind: You are
not seeking to recover from that person. Instead, you are seeking to recover
from the insurance company. So, if the negligence or other wrongful conduct
of the driver of your vehicle caused you to suffer injuries as a passenger
(or you lost a loved one who was a passenger), then you have a right (and
owe it to yourself) to pursue a personal injury or
wrongful death claim. Your right to assert this claim would be subject to the same limits you
would face if you were suing the driver of another car.
Your Own Fault Could Reduce or Bar Your Recovery
You need to be aware that your own fault could reduce your recovery or
prevent you from receiving any compensation. For instance, if you distracted
the driver of your vehicle, your negligence could be deemed to have contributed
to the accident and your injuries. Hawaii follows a modified comparative
fault system. If your negligence or wrongful conduct somehow exceeds the
combined fault of all of the defendants - for instance, the driver of
the car you were a passenger in and the driver of the other car - then
you are barred from a recovery. If not, you can recover compensation.
However, it will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
Unsure About Your Rights as a Passenger? Contact Leavitt Yamane & Soldner.
As you can see, there are many ways to seek compensation when you are a
passenger of a car that was in an accident (or lost a family member who
was a passenger). It's important to talk with a lawyer who can review
your case, help you to sort through all of your options and, ultimately,
protect your rights. We can put our highly skilled and dedicated legal
team and our years of experience in representing injured passengers in
Honolulu and the Neighbor Islands to work for you right away.
Contact Leavitt Yamane &