Many experienced personal injury lawyers, including the dedicated advocates at Lowenthal & Lowenthal, routinely represent clients in wrongful death lawsuits. When you lose a loved one as a result of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be confusing to learn about personal injury law and wrongful death law, and to understand how you should file a lawsuit. We want to help clarify the distinctions between personal injury claims and wrongful death claims in Hawaii.
What is Personal Injury Law on Maui?
Personal injury law is a type of law that is broad, encompassing a wide variety of claims such as car accident lawsuits, slips and falls, dog bite claims, and medical malpractice lawsuits. You might think of personal injury law as an umbrella under which all of those different types of specific claims exist. Personal injury law allows an injured plaintiff to seek compensation from the wrongdoer (or negligent party) by filing a civil lawsuit.
To file a personal injury claim, the injured party typically must file a lawsuit within two years from the date that the injury occurred, according to Hawaii’s personal injury statute of limitations. In most cases, the person with “standing” to file a personal injury lawsuit is the individual who actually suffered the injuries.
How Does Wrongful Death Law Relate to Personal Injury Law in Hawaii?
Wrongful death law is closely related to personal injury law in that it also is designed to allow a party to seek compensation from a party whose negligence or wrongdoing caused injury to another person. However, wrongful death law is different from personal injury law in that it does not require the injured person to be the one to file the claim. Wrongful death law recognizes that the injured person is no longer alive and able to file a claim, and as such, wrongful death law allows another party to file a claim due to the loss of their loved one.
While the injured person typically must be the one to file a personal injury lawsuit, Hawaii’s wrongful death statute allows a number of different people to file suit for compensation related to their loss. The following categories of people may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Hawaii:
- Surviving spouse of the deceased;
- Surviving child of the deceased;
- Surviving parent(s) of the deceased;
- Person who was financially dependent on the deceased; or
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
The statute of limitations for both personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits is two years, but the clock starts “ticking” at different points in time. With a personal injury lawsuit, the clock begins ticking in most cases on the date of the plaintiff’s injury. Differently, with a wrongful death lawsuit, the clock begins ticking on the date the deceased died (even if that person’s injuries that led to death occurred days or months prior).
Seek Advice from a Hawaii Personal Injury Attorney
If you need assistance filing a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim, one of the dedicated Hawaii personal injury lawyers at Lowenthal & Lowenthal can speak with you today. Contact us for more information about how we can assist you.