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 (808) 518-2120 for an 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 & Soldner today.

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If you have sustained an injury and want to know if you are eligible to pursue legal action, it is important to obtain help right away. Call our firm at (808) 518-2120 or fill out the quick form below.

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