Yet even though they're so common, when you're in a car accident on Maui--whether on your way to work or visiting--it is sudden and shocking.
Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire.... Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It's real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you've suddenly become an idiot. There's no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.
Call for Help
If you're able and it's safe, call the police or 911. Police will document the scene, collect witness statements, gather insurance information of all parties, and make a preliminary determination of who is the at-fault party.
Document the Scene
Though the police do their best, sometimes they don't get all the critical information. If it's safe and you're able, try to take pictures of the scene, including: cars or vehicles involved; witnesses; the road; and anything else that you think could be important. There can never be enough information to look over. Something small now may be critical later on.
Get Medical Treatment
If you've called the police of 911, chances are an ambulance with medics will arrive. Many times adrenaline will cause you to overlook injuries. Let medics examine you. Don't be afraid to take an ambulance to the hospital if recommended.
Start the Insurance Claims Process
Once you've been medically stabilized and recovering, it is time to begin the insurance claims process. In Hawaii, when you're the victim in a car crash, there can be potentially up to four separate insurance claims, comprised of property claims; bodily injury claims; personal injury protection ("PIP") benefits claims; and underinsured ("UIM") or uninsured ("UM") claims.
Keep Up With Treatment
After the initial trauma and shock wears off from the crash, it will be time to start comprehensive treatment. You'll usually start by following up with your primary care provider, who will dictate your treatment. Treatment varies: it can be conservative such as massage therapy and physical therapy. It could require surgery immediately or down the road. Whatever it may be, it is important to listen to your doctors and keep up with their treatment plan not only for your well-being, but to preserve your rights related to your case.
Settle Your Case
When the time is right, and assuming you've met the procedural hurdles, your case will be ready to settle with the at-fault driver's insurance company. The time to settle will vary, but will usually occur after your injuries have resolved or there is a reasonable determination of when they will resolve. Settling prematurely will only lead to not being made whole.
What Our Car Accident Attorneys Do
We take the guess work out of the process. Locally based with deep roots in the community, our Maui lawyers will help you with your insurance claims, reduce or eliminate the unpleasant amount of paperwork, assist you with taking advantage of your personal injury protection benefits, and even assist with the property claim.
"To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box."
With years of experience representing injured clients, we offer a guiding hand to stabilize your life immediately after you're hurt. When ready, we proceed with litigating the case either pre-suit or with a lawsuit if necessary.
Your case is unique, with its own nuances and details. We try to learn all those details so that we can step into your shoes to try and understand how the crash and injuries affected your life to best fight on your behalf with strength and compassion.
Hawaii is a “no-fault” state, meaning your car insurance will pay a minimum of $10,000 of medical expenses related to your injuries from the car accident. This type of mandatory coverage is typically called "no fault" coverage, personal injury protection benefits, or PIP benefits.
After a car crash on Maui, many people become confused when they're told that their own insurance company will pay for medical expenses rather than the at fault driver. While counter-intuitive, this “no-fault” system was put in place so that victims of car accidents on Maui can seek immediate medical treatment regardless of fault.
No fault or PIP coverage is mandatory in Hawaii for every car driven on the road. If you get in a crash, you should contact your own automobile insurance carrier and begin the PIP claim process to ensure whatever medical bills your incur as a result of the crash are covered.
If your medical expenses exceed the maximum benefits of your personal injury protection, your personal health insurance should cover the remaining costs.
After becoming our client, we will oversee the PIP claim process to ensure that all medical bills are timely and properly paid. After your PIP benefits are exhausted, we will work with your personal health insurance carrier to minimize your medical expense reimbursement.
PIP benefits are only one claim in the process after a car crash in Maui or all of Hawaii. There are also property claims related to damage to any cars of objects; and bodily injury claims against the at-fault driver related to injuries to the body and mind. If the at-fault driver's bodily injury coverage can't cover your losses, or they don't have insurance, then underinsured ("UIM") or uninsured ("UM") motorist benefits may apply if you have such optional coverage. We can assist in helping you identify all your applicable coverage.
One more thing about PIP benefits: in order to make a bodily injury claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, many times you need reach a "tort threshold," or $5,000 worth of PIP benefits paid to medical providers.
Bodily injury claims, underinsured motorist claims, and uninsured motorist claims are where personal injury attorneys become critical in the process. Bodily injury adjusters have an entirely different system when they know victims of a crash don't have an attorney. They know it's a confusing and intimidating process, effectively using your inexperience against you, ultimately coercing you into taking a bad deal.
We'll make sure that doesn't happen. When you've been involved in a car accident on Maui or any other outer island, the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer the sooner you can get the necessary guidance to maximize your case.
The Attorney-Client Relationship
Just like finding a good doctor, you need a lawyer that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
We are a family firm. We treat our clients the same.
Unless we win your case.