Helping Hawaii’s Motor Vehicle Accident Victims
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury in Hawaii. Each year, thousands of our residents and visitors are seriously injured on our roads. These accidents include automobile, truck, bus, motorcycle, moped, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Often, drunk driving is to be blamed for such catastrophes.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you understand your basic legal rights in order to protect yourself and your family. At the Law Offices of Jan M. Weinberg, we can help you if you were injured in an accident.
Understanding How No-Fault Insurance Works
Hawaii is a “no-fault” jurisdiction for motor vehicle accidents. This does not mean that no party will be held accountable for a collision. It simply means that the insurance company for the owner of the vehicle in which the injured person is a driver or passenger is responsible for payment of the first $10,000 in medical bills. This amount is owed by the insurance company for the vehicle’s owner regardless of any fault on the part of any motorist.
Most vehicle owners in Hawaii are insured for $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP). Optional PIP coverage of up to $100,000 is also available so that the coverage for your medical bills is always assured.
Pedestrians, bicyclists and moped operators are also covered under the no-fault insurance of the vehicle involved in the accident without any requirement that the injured person prove the negligence of the vehicle’s driver.
In order to have a legal claim against the party responsible for your injuries, you must have $5,000 in medical bills paid by the no-fault insurance company. There are exceptions to this requirement, for example, a motor vehicle accident resulting in death where the responsible party was driving under the influence of alcohol. With today’s high cost of medical care, the bill for one visit to an emergency room is over $5,000.
Uninsured Motorist And Underinsured Motorist Coverage
It is extremely important for you to understand these basic optional coverages in auto policies. “Uninsured” motorist coverage protects you when you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident by another vehicle that has no auto insurance coverage. Likewise, “underinsured” motorist coverage protects you when you’re injured by a motor vehicle that is insured but the insurance limits are inadequate to compensate you for your injuries. The cost of this optional coverage is cheap. Also, if you insure more than one vehicle, the coverages can be “stacked.” This means, for example, that if you have three cars insured with a company, each with $100,000 in UM and UIM benefits, you can stack the coverages for a total of $300,000 potential available coverage. This UM/UIM coverage can also protect you in certain instances when you are a pedestrian, a bicyclist or a motorcyclist involved in an accident. This type of coverage is extremely important as too many vehicles on the Hawaii roads may not be insured or only have $20,000 of coverage, the minimum amount required by law. Call your insurance company or agent immediately if you are not certain whether you have obtained UM/UIM coverage and be sure to request “stacking.”
Act Now To Protect Yourself And Your Family
If you have significant injuries, or if you simply want to be advised of your rights, contact us for a FREE consultation to review your case. We will answer your questions and offer my candid opinion of your case and your next best steps.