According to the law, Hawaii is considered to be a “no-fault” insurance state for car accidents. Its status as a no-fault state could have an impact on what you recover from an insurance claim following a crash. However, the right attorney could help you pursue the compensation you deserve regardless of the no-fault insurance laws.
No-fault insurance pays benefits no matter who caused the crash, but those benefits are generally less than what you might recover through a lawsuit. For that reason, your attorney will likely pursue a path toward filing a lawsuit in the aftermath of your crash. Reach out to the personal injury lawyers of Olson & Sons to learn more.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
The purpose of Hawaii’s no-fault insurance system is to provide a simplified process for injury victims to seek compensation following a crash. Unlike with a civil lawsuit, you can receive benefits through a claim on your own no-fault insurance policy no matter who is responsible for your accident. This system often results in benefits much faster than a personal injury lawsuit would. Instead of waiting for months to resolve a claim with a hostile insurance company, your carrier will pay these benefits without taking into account who was at fault.
As is the case with liability insurance, these policies also carry minimum coverage levels under the law. Every driver must maintain this minimum level of coverage, although they have the option to purchase a policy with higher limits if they choose. The minimum coverage on no-fault insurance includes:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $10,000 for the driver and passengers
- Bodily Injury Liability: $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
- Property Damage: $10,000 per accident
The reality of these policy minimums is that they rarely cover the full cost of an accident. If your damages are higher than the limits on your policy, you will be forced to cover the rest of the costs on your own.
What are the Downsides to No-Fault Coverage in Hawaii?
There are notable downsides that come with filing a no-fault insurance claim. Even though you might receive your benefits in short order, no-fault insurance will not pay for most of your losses. This is because this type of insurance only pays for economic losses like lost wages or medical expenses.
No-fault insurance does not cover the subjective, non-economic losses that are a big part of most accident cases. The most common example of these damages is your physical pain and suffering. This could include more than just physical pain, including compensation for anxiety. Pain and suffering damages can make up a major portion of personal injury lawsuit compensation, but they are not covered by no-fault insurance at all.
Stepping Outside of the No-Fault System
The limitations of the no-fault insurance system can be frustrating for those injured in a car accident. The good news is that there are ways to step outside of this insurance system and pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. In fact, accidents involving serious injuries frequently are allowed to step outside of this system.
There are three different factors that could allow you to step outside of the no-fault system and sue the other driver in an accident. Only one of these factors needs to be present in your case in order for you to pursue legal action. These factors include:
- Your injuries are more than the limits on your Personal Injury Protection coverage
- Someone was killed in the accident
- Your injuries involve significant permanent loss
Your significant permanent loss could take many different forms. For example, you can step outside of the no-fault insurance system if you suffered significant permanent loss of either a body function or body part. Permanent disfigurement that leads to mental or emotional hardship could also qualify.
Our attorneys understand what it takes to step outside of the restrictive no-fault insurance system and pursue fair compensation through a civil lawsuit. If you are considering legal action following a crash, our team is here to help.
Talk to an Attorney About Insurance Coverage for your Car Accidents in Hawaii
You deserve to be compensated for your injuries after the car accidents, especially when you were not at fault. The no-fault insurance system might limit your path to recovery, but you could have other options in front of you.
Let the attorneys of Olson & Sons help you navigate the insurance system after a major vehicle collision. Reach out as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation with our firm.
Related Content: Does my Car Insurance Cover Personal injury claims in Kamuela