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Category: Hawaii Personal injury lawyer

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take in Hawaii?

There is no general answer to the question, How long a personal injury lawsuit take in Hawai’i? This is because these injury claims can vary dramatically in length. There are many factors that determine how long a case might take, making it impossible to predict the length. What we do know is that we will support and work hard for you every step of the way.

The personal injury lawyers of Olson and Sons have a long track record of success handling personal injury lawsuits. While long, drawn out cases can take months or even years, our team frequently resolves cases favorably in less time.

Factors That Determine How Long an Injury Lawsuit Takes in HI

It is helpful to understand the factors that could determine how long your personal injury lawsuit might take. These factors include:

  • How long it takes to serve the defendant
  • How long your recovery takes
  • How aggressively your attorneys push the case forward
  • Delay tactics from the defendant
  • How complex the issues are
  • Whether the defendant has insurance coverage

While each of these factors can impact how long your case takes, your attorneys can work to avoid unnecessary delay throughout the process.

The Injury Lawsuit Process in Kamuela and Kona, HI

It is impossible to have an accurate picture of how long your personal injury lawsuit might take if you do not understand the litigation process to begin with. While a number of factors could impact the length of your personal injury claim, all of these cases follow the same general process. This process has some common points where delays are possible.

Pre-Suit Steps

There are important steps that your attorney must take before you can more forward with your personal injury lawsuit. Without doing so, you could be at risk of seeing your case dismissed. Before you pursue litigation, your attorney will carefully investigate the facts surrounding your injuries. After that, they must identify the responsible party and develop a theory of negligence.

Once these steps are complete, it is not unusual for a plaintiff to pursue a negotiated settlement. In fact, many personal injury cases are settled before a lawsuit is ever file. When settlement does not work out, the next step is litigation.

Filing the Lawsuit

Initiating litigation requires the filing of a complaint. This legal document lays out the plaintiff’s case, identifies the defendants to the court, and requests specific relief. The relief in a personal injury lawsuit is monetary compensation.

Once a plaintiff files the lawsuit, they must formally notify each of the defendants of the proceeding. This is known as service of process. Until the defendants in a personal injury case are formally served the case cannot move forward.

Once the defendant is notified of the lawsuit, they have an opportunity to formally respond. This is done through a legal document known as an answer. If the defendant fails to file an answer, the court could issue a judgment against them by default. The answer will address each of the allegations made by the plaintiff and deny them one by one.

This phase usually takes weeks or months to complete, as the defendant has 20 days to file their answer. This time period, combined with the amount of time needed to perfect service in the lawsuit, can take some time.


Once the parties are served and the answer is filed, the case will move into a period known as discovery. Discovery is the opportunity for both sides to review the evidence the other side will use at trial.

There are different forms of discovery. Many personal injury lawyers make use of a process known as a deposition to determine what a witness is likely to say at trial. A deposition is similar to a court hearing in some ways. A court reporter is present, and both attorneys can ask questions. However, this process happens away from the judge and outside of the courtroom. There are also written discovery requests commonly used as well.

Discovery can be a lengthy process. The more complex the injury case is, the longer discovery could take. Both sides could spend months taking depositions and responding to written document requests before the process is complete.


Once discovery is completed, the lawsuit will head towards trial. Remember: it is possible for the parties to reach a negotiated settlement at any point during the case. While the party completes discovery and prepares for trial, the sides could reach an agreement on a monetary settlement at any time.

At the trial, both sides will have their opportunity to make their case. Each attorney can call witnesses or offer physical evidence. Once both cases are presented, a judge or jury will determine what compensation—if any—is appropriate.

Talk to Olson & Sons About the Progress of Your Personal Injury Case in Kamuela, Kona, and all of Hawai’i

If you are ready to pursue your claim for monetary compensation, Olson & Sons are ready to serve as your advocate. To learn more about how we can fight on your behalf, reach out today to schedule your free consultation.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kamuela or Kona, Hawaii?

If you have suffered an injury in Kamuela, Kona or in Hawai’i through no fault of your own, it is understandable if you have a lot of questions. What are my legal rights? How long will I be out of work? Do I need a personal injury lawyer?

The reality is that most people benefit from the guidance of an attorney after they suffer an injury due to another person’s negligence. If your injuries have resulted in serious pain, medical bills, or time away from work, handling a legal claim on your own is a serious risk. The attorneys of Olson & Sons are ready to advise you of your rights following a serious injury.

When an Attorney May Be Necessary in Hawai’i

While most personal injury cases are best resolved with the help of an attorney, there are some cases where legal counsel might not be necessary. If your case is entirely property damage—for example, a car accident where no one was injured—you might be able to resolve that claim on your own. When injuries are involved, the guidance of legal counsel becomes crucial. Some of the situations where an attorney may be necessary include:

Your Injuries Are Serious

The more serious your injuries, the more likely you are to need an attorney. This is the case for a number of reasons. First and foremost, serious injuries can result in substantial monetary awards. As the potential for compensation grows, the risks associated with serving as your own attorney grow as well.

Serious injury cases are also complex. This is especially true if you require ongoing medical treatment. There are important legal deadlines that must be complied with, and it can be a delicate balance to do so while still pursuing ongoing medical care. An attorney could dramatically reduce the risks associated with your serious injury claim.

The Defendant Won’t Take Responsibility

Any personal injury claim will have its challenges. While most of these claims will come to a resolution through a negotiated settlement, that is not always the case. Resolving an injury claim is especially difficult if the other side refuses to take responsibility for your injuries.

In some cases, a defendant might simply believe that they were not responsible for your injuries at all. In other cases, they might agree they were responsible but disagree on the severity of your injuries.

If your case is contested, the chances are much greater that it could eventually go to trial. Trying a case without the help of an attorney is a risky proposition, especially given that the defendant will likely be represented by legal counsel. If the defendant is disputing liability, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer.

There Are Multiple Parties

An injury accident that involves two parties is complicated enough on its own. When there are multiple parties involved in a claim, a case can become far more complex. This is especially true in cases where limits on insurance policies come into play. If you are involved in an accident with multiple injury victims, an attorney could represent your best chance of securing the compensation you deserve.

Benefits of Hiring Legal Counsel in Kamuela and Kona

There are numerous reasons why you might need a personal injury lawyer. In all of those situations, an attorney could improve your chances of a favorable financial settlement. Some of the benefits of hiring an attorney for you injury claim include:

  • Adhering to Deadlines. There are strict deadlines associated with personal injury cases, including the statute of limitations. Your attorney could ensure you meet each of those deadlines.
  • Negotiating a Settlement. Negotiations with an insurance company are rarely simple. An attorney could help you secure the best settlement offer possible.
  • Investigating Your Claim. There is a lot of legwork that goes into developing a theory of liability for a personal injury claim. Your attorney could handle the investigation while you focus on your medical care.
  • Advocate at Trial. Litigation can be a taunting task, especially without the guidance of a lawyer. An attorney could serve as your advocate at trial and give you the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve through a favorable verdict.

Discuss Your Injury With Olson & Sons Personal Injury Lawyers in Kamuela or Kona

Are you asking, Do I need a personal injury lawyer? The reality of personal injury cases is that you should consider hiring an attorney for a claim if you care about the outcome. The more severe your injury or the greater your financial need, the higher the stakes are for your personal injury case.

The attorneys of Olson & Sons can evaluate your case and advise you on whether or not you need the guidance of an attorney. In most cases, your injury claim is best served with the experienced counsel we can provide. If you are ready to discuss your case, contact us right away for a free consultation.

What Kind of Personal Injury Settlements Are Not Taxable in Hawaii?

For the most part, personal injury settlements are not taxable. However, there are some limited circumstances where there can be tax implications based on the specific details of your settlement.

Understanding the tax implications of settlement offer should be taken into account up front. If part of your settlement unexpectedly goes to state or federal taxes, you could wind up with out-of-pocket expenses. Our attorneys can help you review a settlement offer and advise you on the potential for tax consequences.

Compensation Related to Physical Injuries Are Not Taxable

The primary rule regarding taxation of personal injury settlements is that any compensation stemming from a physical injury is not considered income. This is true for both state and federal income taxes. The way you came into this compensation makes no difference: neither settlement funds or trial verdicts are subject to taxation if they result from a physical injury. This is important, since the vast majority of personal injury claims result directly from a physical injury.

The forms of compensation that are not considered income go well beyond medical expenses. Any form of compensation that is derived from the physical injury is not considered income. This includes compensation for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and even your attorney fees.

Ultimately, the government’s view is that these funds are not intended to enrich you. Instead, settlement funds for a personal injury claim are designed to make you whole again following a loss. If the government taxed these settlements, it would prevent you from being completely compensated for your injuries.

Understanding Physical Injuries

There is a difference between physical injuries and emotional injuries that result in physical symptoms. This distinction is important, given that compensation for non-physical injuries is taxable in some cases.

For example, consider claims based on emotional distress. If an emotional distress claim stems from a physical injury, the settlement is not taxable. However, an emotional distress claim that results from some other issue outside of a physical injury could be taxable. This is the case even if the emotional distress results in physical symptoms like nausea or migraines.

Exceptions to the Rule of Taxation in HI and the U.S.

There are some important exceptions to the general rule that personal injury settlements are not taxable. While these exceptions might not play a role in most injury settlements, it is helpful to understand them prior to negotiating with an insurance company. Some of these exceptions include:

  • Prior Tax Deductions. One of the most common ways a settlement might be taxable occurs when a person receives a settlement after previously deducting injury-related medical bills in a prior year. If you take these medical expenses as a tax deduction and eventually recover compensation for those expenses, the part of your award that covers those medical bills could be taxable. This is to prevent you from getting the double benefit of a deduction as well as full compensation for your medical bills.
  • Punitive Damages. Most of the damages resulting from a personal injury claim are compensatory in nature. These damages compensate you for your injuries in an effort to make you financially whole. Punitive damages are designed not to compensate you for your injuries but punish the defendant for egregious behavior. This type of compensation is taxable.
  • Breach of Contract Damages. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit could also result in a breach of contract claim. Compensation for breach of contract claims are taxable under state and federal law.
  • Interest on a personal injury judgment is also taxable on both the state and federal level. When you secure a verdict at trial, you are typically granted interest on your judgment if the defendant does not immediately pay what is owed. The idea behind this interest is to ensure the defendant does not benefit from not paying what they owe. Without granting interest on an unpaid judgment, the defendant essentially benefits from not paying the debt. That said, the government taxes any interest that accrues on a personal injury judgment.

It is not always easy to determine when these exceptions might apply to your personal injury case. An attorney from our firm can advise you on whether your personal injury settlement is taxable.

Ask a Personal Injury Attorney in Which Personal Injury Settlements Are Taxable in HI

When it comes to taxing personal injury settlements, there are a few important general rules to remember. If your compensation stems from a physical injury, you can rest assured you will not owe either state or federal income taxes on that award.

There are situations that could result in tax consequences following a personal injury settlement. These examples include paying taxes after previously deducting medical bills from your income taxes or for any punitive damages you recovered. To discuss whether your personal injury settlements are taxable, contact Olson & Sons today to schedule a free case evaluation.

How to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim in Kona, HI

A personal injury lawsuit is a civil dispute resulting from a bodily injury. For a personal injury claim to be successful, a plaintiff must show that the person that caused the injury was negligent. n experienced lawyer lends you their expertise to pursue a personal injury claim in Kona, HI.

Ultimately, a personal injury claim is about holding the person that caused your injury accountable for their negligence. Our firm can help you pursue your personal injury claim and secure the compensation you deserve.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury cases come in a wide range of forms. Most situations where the negligence of another person causes an injury could result in a personal injury claim. Some of the most common personal injury cases include:

  • Auto Accidents. Motor vehicle accidents make up a large portion of all personal injury claims. These claims could result from collisions involving passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians.
  • Medical Malpractice. When mistakes are made by physicians or other medical professionals, serious injuries can happen as a result. Personal injury claims could result from misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or prescription mistakes.
  • Slip and Falls. An accident involving a slip, trip, and fall could result in serious consequences. Fall injuries could happen in public spaces, private residences, or on the premises of a business. These falls frequently result in viable personal injury lawsuits.
  • Defective Products. When commercial or consumer products are defective, these defects could lead to serious injuries. Some of the products that have the potential to cause devastating injuries include cleaning products, medical devices, appliances, or food.
  • Assault. Criminal assaults can also serve as the basis of a personal injury lawsuit. While an assault is a criminal act, it is also possible for an injury victim to pursue a civil remedy.

You should never assume your bodily injury is not a viable ground for a personal injury claim. Let an attorney from our firm review your case and advise you on how to pursue a personal injury claim and begin potential financial recovery.

Two Ways to Resolve Injury Claims

There is one primary goal with any personal injury claim: recovering financial compensation for your injuries. There are two different ways to secure a favorable outcome in a personal injury claim. The first option is to secure a negotiated settlement with the other party. The second option is to prevail at trial and obtain a trial judgment.

Most plaintiffs pursuing personal injury cases resolve their claims with negotiated settlements. These settlements could occur at any point in the process. In fact, many settlements happen without a lawsuit ever being filed. In other situations, a settlement might not be secured until shortly before a trial is scheduled to commence.

While it is true that most of these claims are resolved with a settlement, that outcome is not always possible. Some personal injury cases will inevitably result in a trial. This can happen for a few reasons. Some defendants will refuse to make a settlement offer because they are certain they are not responsible for the injury. Other defendants might lack the financial means to make a reasonable settlement option. In either case, a jury trial is the most likely outcome.

At trial, both sides will get their chance to argue their case. If the jury sides with the plaintiff, they will determine the amount of compensation the plaintiff is entitled to recover. While a jury verdict is valuable, a plaintiff must still take the steps necessary to collect on that judgment.

Compensation for Your Personal Injuries

When it comes to monetary settlements, there are many different types of damages that could make up the amount of compensation you recover. Some of the most common types of compensation available in a personal injury lawsuit include:

  • Medical Expenses. The cost of your medical treatment is likely to make up a significant portion of your personal injury claim. This is especially true if your medical bills are not covered by insurance. With a personal injury lawsuit, you could recover the cost of hospital stays, emergency room visits, surgical procedures, or prescription drugs.
  • Pain and Suffering. It is not unusual for serious injuries to result in significant physical pain and suffering. Although this type of compensation can be difficult to quantify, pain and suffering damages generally scale with the amount of your medical bills.
  • Lost Wages. Replacing the lost wages you missed out on during your recovery is another major part of many personal injury claims. You could recover compensation for both past and future lost wages resulting from your injury.

Let an Attorney Pursue a Personal Injury Claim in Kona, HI for You

If you are unsure what makes a personal injury claim, an attorney from our firm could help. Olson & Sons is prepared to review the facts of your case and evaluate the strength of your claims. To get started with your personal injury claim, call right away to schedule a free case evaluation.

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in Hawaii?

The majority of personal injury cases settle before they reach the courts. Some go to trial and usually result in a jury verdict that favors the injured plaintiff. But whether your case was settled out or in court, you may need to pay taxes on the settlement that you receive. Consulting a reputed Hawaii tax planning attorney is recommended before you make any financial decisions regarding your settlement to avoid surprises later on. In the meantime, find out if and when your personal injury settlement is taxable.

General Tax Rules on Personal Injury Settlements in Hawaii

According to the IRS’ settlements taxability rules, anyone who receives compensation for physical injuries and didn’t list it as an itemized deduction for medical costs associated with illness or injury in previous years won’t be taxed on that portion of the personal injury settlement. If this is the case for you, you also shouldn’t include the compensation in your taxable income.

Remember that the IRS can easily access the details of your settlement. In most cases, the insurance provider reports to the IRS the exact compensation amount you received when your claim was settled. The settlement check and release form typically don’t indicate the breakdown of damages included in the injury settlement.

Insurance providers normally pay out compensation in one lump sum, and it’s up to the recipient to allocate the amounts. More importantly, it’s your job to properly disclose any taxable portions of your settlements and pay relevant taxes on them. Otherwise, you will be subjected to penalties under the IRS tax laws.

Medical Expenses May Also Be Taxable in Hawaii

The IRS will only tax settlements for medical bills if you utilized qualified medical expenses for an itemized tax deduction on your tax return last year. Qualified medical expenses include medical expenses for diagnosing, treating, curing, preventing or mitigating a disease or affecting any body function or structure. Put simply, if you utilized the costs for treating your injuries to count as medical tax deductions on your tax return last year, this portion of your settlement must be treated as income and is, therefore, taxable. This also applies to joint filings.

Wages and Income Is Taxable in Hawaii

Your personal injury settlement might include compensation to cover your lost income or wages if you need to take time off work to treat and recover from your injuries. This is still considered income under tax rules, so you will need to disclose it when you file your yearly income taxes. Basically, the IRS expects you to pay taxes on that income, regardless of who paid that income. But, you should also be aware that other kinds of settlement compensation would be considered ordinary income by the IRS for tax purposes. These can include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
  • Lawyer fees if the gross income included the underlying recovery
  • Non-injury claim awards
  • Any interest on the settlement amount

It’s important to remember that while punitive damages can be taxed, not all personal injury settlements include them. These damages are usually awarded for punishing wrongdoers in high-dollar personal injury cases, such as defective products, medical malpractice, etc.

Hawaii Personal Injury Lawyer Fees May Be Taxable

If you work with your Hawaii personal injury attorney on a contingency basis, you’ll be taxed on the entire amount of recovered money. Basically, you need to pay taxes on the part of your compensation that is allotted to your attorneys as their professional fee. This will still apply if the defendant paid the lawyer fees. Ultimately, in physical injury claims where the entire compensation amount isn’t taxable, you won’t have any issues. But, if it is, having sound tax advice as early as possible is crucial.

A Vital Note on Hawaii Emotional Distress Taxes

Tax authorities differentiate between emotional distress awards that aren’t related to physical injury and pain and suffering compensation related to physical injury. The reason for this is that physical injuries are diagnosable in medical terms, while emotional distress for the same injury can’t. Nonetheless, emotional suffering is very real, and the emotional and physical are two components of the entire loss, meaning that they are not taxable.

However, emotional distress awards may be taxed when they’re not linked directly to the physical injury. Emotional distress symptoms like vomiting or headaches are not considered physical injuries, though compensation for medical expenses considers the same symptoms non-taxable. Besides emotional distress, compensation for something other than physical injuries, like injury to character or unlawful discrimination, will be taxed.

Seek Legal Advice from an Experienced Hawaii Tax Planning Attorney Today

The taxation of personal injury awards and settlements is nuanced and significantly depends on the specific circumstances and facts of every case. There many opportunities via proper and early tax planning to mitigate the potential tax consequences. A skilled Hawaii tax planning attorney can help guide you through the details.

Reach out to us here at Olson & Sons to arrange a consultation with one of our tax planning lawyers by calling our Kona office at 808-427-1025 or our Kamuela office at 808-201-1679. You can also filling out our online form for more information and to have someone contact you about your potential personal injury case.

What Is Personal Injury in Hawaii?

When you think of Hawaii, you automatically think of aquamarine waters, gorgeous beaches, and endless adventures. But this tropical paradise also comes with risks. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent acts, you will need some guidance on how to pursue a personal injury case to obtain fair compensation for your damages. Consulting with one of our experienced Hawaii personal injury lawyers is an excellent place to start. Meanwhile, here are essential things to know about personal injury cases.

What Causes Personal Injuries?

Personal injuries, in the context of personal injury law, are injuries that are caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person. Some specific types of personal injury cases include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Premises Liability
  • Defective Products
  • Premises Liability
  • Construction Site Accidents
  • Police Misconduct
  • Dram Shop Liability
  • Wrongful Death

Importantly, not every injury or accident entitles victims to compensation. In addition, in some cases, you may believe that an accident was unavoidable or your own fault when it was, in fact, the result of someone else’s legal negligence. For this reason, it’s advisable for anyone who has been injured in an accident to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about their options as soon as possible.

What Damages are Available in Personal Injury Cases?

Following an accident, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim to collect compensation for the losses or damages you incurred from the accident. The specific damages you’ll receive will be based on the particular circumstances of your case and the exact severity and nature of your injuries. These can include:

Medical Expenses

You can claim damages in a personal injury claim against the liable party to cover the medical expenses you incurred, including emergency room visits, hospital confinements, medications, physical therapy, etc., to treat your injuries. Medical bills can easily add up, particularly in cases that involve long-term symptoms and/or permanent disabilities. Take note that damages for medical treatment also include the cost of future medical treatments, whenever applicable.

Lost Wages

Compensation for lost income or lost wages must include payment for work that you’ve had to miss due to your injury and recovery. Likewise, if you missed sick days or vacation days, payment for these should be included in your compensation for lost wages. In addition, if you were injured to the point that you won’t be able to work for a significant time or ever, your lost wages award should include compensation for loss of future earning capacity and future lost wages.

Pain and Suffering

These damages are subjective and greatly vary from one personal injury claim to another, so it’s difficult to assign a dollar amount. But if applicable to your case, pain and suffering damages can include:

  • Physical pain due to the injury
  • Physical discomfort from medical treatments
  • Emotional distress and psychological effects of the injuries and accident, including sleep problems, trauma, depression, anxiety, mental anguish, etc.

Take note, though, that claims for emotional distress and related mental issues will need to be diagnosed and substantiated with proper evidence.

Loss of Consortium or Companionship

These damages are awarded to an injured victim’s spouse, child, or partner to compensate them for the loss of companionship with the injured victim. In the context of parent and child relationships, damages may be awarded to a young child who lost the care and affection that the injured parent would’ve otherwise continued providing if not for the injuries.

Punitive Damages

The main purpose of punitive damages is to punish liable parties for particularly flagrant wrongful acts and to discourage them and other parties from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

Wrongful Death

Damages that may be claimed in personal injury cases where a loved one has suffered a wrongful death can include:


  • The deceased individual’s medical expenses before death
  • The deceased individual’s pain and suffering before dying
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost income if the deceased individual had lived
  • Loss of the companionship, guidance, or care that the deceased individual would have provided the surviving family


Call Us Today to Speak with a Hawaii Personal Injury Attorney

To learn about the legal options available to you after suffering a personal injury, you can consult an experienced Hawaii personal injury lawyer. This is especially true if you have a claim that involves one of the following:

  • Severe motor vehicle accidents resulting in serious injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Injuries to minors
  • Defective products
  • Dangerous drug injuries
  • Construction site accidents

Find out more about your legal rights and how much compensation you can pursue by talking to one of our personal injury lawyers here at Olson & Sons. Schedule your appointment online or call our Kona office at 808-427-1025 or our Kamuela office at 808-201-1679.

How Much To Ask For In A Personal Injury Settlement in Hawaii?

The state of Hawaii is known for being a tourists’ delight. However, it is not spared of its share of personal injury claims.

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, if you’ve suffered personal injuries in Hawaii due to someone else’s negligence, you’re bound to have several questions about legal liability and the compensation owed to you.

While there is no fixed formula to determine the settlement amount, here’s what you need to know about valuing your personal injury settlement.

What Is Considered Personal Injury?

When a person suffers an injury due to the negligence of someone else, he/she may have a personal injury claim. He/she may also have the right to receive monetary compensation from the responsible party/parties, as per Hawaii law.

This applies to negligent acts such as car accidents, dog bites, slips-and-falls, nursing home accidents, or construction-related accidents that resulted in serious injuries to the victim.

The injured victim can receive compensation, which is referred to as “damages” in the legal language. Hawaii law spells out various types of damages available to the victim. For example, some of the damages include compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

Damages in a Hawaii Personal Injury Claim

In Hawaii, the compensation for personal injury may be awarded in three ways:

a. Economic damages: This includes compensating the victim for monetary losses incurred through their medical bills and expenses, repairs for property damage, and lost wages.

b. Non-economic damages: This addresses the non-monetary factors such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.

c. Punitive damages: The court may award punitive damages to punish (and make an example of) the responsible party and deter similar unlawful behavior in the future.

Some states may put limits or “caps” on the amount that victims can receive for their injuries. While Hawaii personal injury law does not cap economic or punitive damages, it does restrict non-economic damages to $375,000 in most cases.

Valuing Your Personal Injury Case

It is nearly impossible to assign a fixed value to a personal injury case at the outset. Apart from negotiating an amount with the insurance company, the only other way to arrive at the value is by considering the damages involved. These damages differ from case to case.

If you come across an attorney who guarantees a fixed settlement value in your first meeting, it is a red flag. Avoid the attorney at all costs as the value of a personal injury claim is determined by the case’s unique facts and the circumstances surrounding it.

Further, the settlement amount to the victim of negligence may be limited if the responsible party is underinsured or entirely uninsured.

Dealing with the Insurance Company

Upon suffering a personal injury, it is best that the victim acts quickly to fully understand their rights and the process of dealing with the insurance company. Know for a fact that the insurance company will try its level best to minimize the settlement amount.

The victim may receive calls and letters, and even personal visits from the insurance adjuster. This is done to obtain as much information about the personal injury claim as possible. The adjuster gathers this information to estimate (“claims reserve”) the value of the case. They may also look for loopholes in the victim’s statements and try to trick him/her into accepting the minimum settlement amount.

It is not uncommon for the victims to take months to get their injuries correctly diagnosed. Moreover, the victim may be uncertain about some of the details related to their injuries. It is, therefore, best that the victim avoids speaking to the insurance company of the responsible party. It is recommended to have an experienced Hawaii personal injury lawyer by your side when you speak to anyone representing the insurance agency.

In some cases, the victim may be asked to provide a statement along with copies of his/her medical records. However, you should know that there is no legal requirement to provide any information or even speak to the responsible party’s insurance company.

Comparative Negligence Rule in Hawaii

In some cases, the victim may file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the responsible party, but may be told that he/she is partially or completely responsible for the accident that caused the personal injury. To resolve a situation like this, Hawaii has put in place a comparative negligence rule that reduces or eliminates damages depending on the percentage of fault assigned to each party.

For example, if the victim sustained injuries from a slip-and-fall accident at the mall because he/she was busy reading a product label and did not notice the spill on the floor. In such a case, the victim’s fault may be calculated at 10 percent, and the mall’s fault at 90 percent.

So, if the victim’s total damages are $1,000 and the comparative fault rule applies, the damages will reduce to $900, i.e. the total $1,000 minus $100 (10 percent of the fault).

If the victim is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, the damages to be awarded become zero, eliminating his/her chances of collecting any settlement at all. Insurance adjusters typically bring up this rule during settlement negotiations, which is why it is best to be prepared for it.

Understanding Personal Injury Litigation in Hawaii

As per Hawaii law, the victim can submit a settlement demand or file a lawsuit once he/she has reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI) or if the insurance policy limits are unable to compensate for the damages. This decision, however, depends on the statute of limitations and the negotiations between both parties.

Hawaii maintains a stringent statute of limitations, i.e. the timeframe within which the victim can file the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is not filed within this period (usually two years), the victim cannot make a personal injury claim or collect damages.


Receiving a favorable outcome in your personal injury case and getting sufficient compensation for your suffering can go a long way in making your life easier. However, it is near impossible to decipher a fixed settlement amount in settlement in such cases. In Hawaii, the personal injury law considers all case facts and circumstances when determining damages. It is important for claimants to be prepared with adequate evidence as well as to deal with the insurance agencies. Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Hawaii can help you achieve a positive result. Your lawyer will fight vigorously to represent your case, protect your rights, and win you the settlement that you rightfully deserve.

Connect with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Hawaii

Feel free to speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer at Olson & Sons and discuss your case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Reach us at our Kona office at (808)331-3113. We routinely handle matters across Kona and Kamuela