For drivers and passengers who have been in a car accident in Hawaii, it’s important to understand the different state laws and insurance requirements that could affect any claim you decide to make -- whether for injury or for vehicle damage -- and any settlement you receive.
This page provides a guide to the Hawaii-specific resources on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, starting with a breakdown of Hawaii’s no-fault car insurance rules, and how a claimant might be able to step outside of those rules to file a liability claim or lawsuit after a car accident. Then we’ll look at state laws that could affect a car accident lawsuit in Hawaii, and when it makes sense to get help from an experienced lawyer.
After any car accident in Hawaii, the first thing you need to understand is that the state follows a “no-fault” car insurance system. Anyone who has been injured in a car accident turns first (and often exclusively) to his or her own car insurance coverage to get compensation for injuries and lost income, up to a certain dollar limit.
Hawaii drivers and passengers who have been injured in a car accident can only step outside of the state's no-fault system -- and pursue a claim directly against the at-fault driver -- if their case meets a certain threshold with respect to the severity of their injuries, or in terms of the cost of their medical care. For details, check out our article Hawaii No-Fault Car Insurance Laws.
What kinds of car insurance coverage minimums are Hawaii drivers required to carry? Here’s a snapshot:
Other types of car insurance coverage options -- such as uninsured and underinsured motorist protection -- are not required in Hawaii.
After a car accident, if your claim is serious enough to let you step outside of Hawaii’s no-fault rules and file a liability claim against the at-fault driver, there are a few state laws that could affect your case, starting with the deadline for filing a personal injury case in court (this kind of law is called a “statute of limitations,” and every state has one).
In Hawaii, you have two years from the date of the car accident to get your case started by filing the initial complaint in Hawaii’s civil court system. You can find this law codified at Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-7. The same two-year deadline applies to any lawsuit you want to file over vehicle damage.
Learn more about state laws that could affect your car accident settlement or lawsuit in our article Car Accident Laws in Hawaii.
If you were involved in a minor car accident and you are simply making a claim through your own insurer in line with the no-fault car insurance rules in Hawaii, you may not need to hire a car accident lawyer, as long as you’re comfortable handling the claim yourself.
But if your claim qualifies under Hawaii’s threshold for taking a car accident case outside of the no-fault system -- or if you’re trying to prove that your claim should be exempt from no-fault under that threshold -- you might find that there is a lot more at stake, and in that case, it’s probably a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced Hawaii car accident lawyer.
A good car accident attorney knows how to anticipate and avoid the obstacles that can affect a car accident claim process, and will protect your rights at every step of the settlement process, including filing a car accident lawsuit in Hawaii’s court system if that turns out to be the right move.