Motor vehicle accidents (commonly referred to as “MVA’s”) cause over 3 million injuries in the United States annually. In Hawaii alone, there are over 10,000 serious automobile accidents a year, making this the most common personal injury claim.
As a law firm specializing in personal injury, Hew & Bordenave understands how overwhelming a car accident can be, both immediately after impact, and navigating the recovery process. An injury can affect your entire family, including your ability to support them. We are here to help. We will navigate the complexities of the law and the insurance process for you. You are our main priority. Getting you the proper medical treatment and compensation you deserve are our top priorities.
What should I do if I am in a car accident?
- Check to see if anyone is injured. If there are injuries, get medical help immediately. If no one is hurt, continue to step 2.
- Contact the police and report the accident.
- Get the names, phone numbers, and insurance information of all involved, including any witnesses.
- Take photos of damages and injuries.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- If you have questions or are feeling overwhelmed, consider contacting a personal injury attorney to help determine if you need legal representation.
- Remember, please seek medical treatment if you or any passengers are injured
The other driver’s insurance company denies liability. Do I still have a claim?
Liability is not always cut and dry. Ask the insurance company to send you the information that helped them formulate their conclusion. They are obligated to share this evidence. From there, you can investigate their decision. To ensure you receive the best outcome, consult with an attorney because sometimes insurance companies will take advantage of an unrepresented claimant. In almost every MVA situation, you have a higher chance of getting the compensation you deserve when you have a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side.
What is personal injury protection (PIP), and what if I exhaust these benefits but still need treatment?
Hawaii is a “no-fault state.” If you or a passenger are injured in a car accident, your mandatory PIP benefits will cover medical bills and related out of pocket medical costs up to the policy limit, regardless of fault.
Hawaii requires, by statute, that all drivers have a minimum of $10,000 personal injury coverage, per covered person, per accident. The purpose of PIP coverage is to make sure an injured party can get the help they need without worrying about legalities or an ability to pay. An emergency room visit and the need for ongoing medical treatment can quickly drain PIP funds. When this happens, the at-fault party’s bodily injury policy may come into play.
Hawaii requires additional bodily injury coverage to protect other drivers and their passengers when you are at-fault. This coverage includes a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. The law also requires $10,000 per occurrence for property damage liability. If you are still injured but have received a letter from your insurance company stating you have exhausted your PIP benefits, you should not necessarily stop medical treatment if you are still injured. However, if this happens, you should consider consulting with an attorney to review your available options.
The other parties’ insurance carrier has offered me a settlement. Should I accept it?
According to The Insurance Research Council report titled “Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs,” injured parties who had legal representation for motor vehicle claims received 3.5 times more in settlement compensation than people who did not hire an attorney.
You should not sign anything from an insurance company until you consult with a personal injury lawyer. Hiring an attorney can increase your odds of receiving the compensation you deserve. When calculating a fair settlement, there are many factors to consider, some less obvious than others. The lawyers at Hew & Bordenave understand these formulas. We advise clients on the law and their rights, so insurance companies cannot take advantage of them.
If you are ever injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Hew & Bordenave. Our legal team is dedicated to giving you the representation and personal attention you deserve. We can assist with a liability analysis for the accident, navigate the claims process, and secure you the compensation you deserve.