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What’s the first thing your Hawaii car accident lawyer will do to settle your case?

Once you hire a lawyer (and they determine that you do have a case) their first step is filing a demand letter with the insurance company of whoever hit you. This is a complex document that establishes the facts of your accident, and shows the insurer that you are a serious plaintiff with a real case.

Car accident lawyers are experienced in drafting these letters in an airtight fashion with all the right information to get you a settlement.

What are the next few steps your Hawaii car accident lawyer will take?

Most people who get into a car crash are confused about what comes next in terms of getting a settlement. There can be a lot of “moving pieces.” And it’s easy to lose your bearings if you’re new to this process. Below, we’ll try to demystify things for you.

First
You choose a lawyer to take your case

It all starts with hiring a lawyer to get the ball rolling. Most offer free initial consultations, so that you can share what happened to you, and feel out if they are the lawyer you want to work with.

During the consultation, the lawyer will ask you questions about your accident: what happened, where it happened, who saw it, what injuries you sustained, who your insurance provider is, and more. From there, the lawyer will break down how they charge for their services, and what legal fees you can expect.

A few things to expect during your initial consultation with a lawyer:

  • Signing a medical release form (so the lawyer can access your medical records).
  • Discussing all of your legal options (such as whether to pursue a settlement with whoever hurt you, or whether to file a lawsuit against them).
  • Asking all of the questions you have, in order to feel confident that this lawyer is right for you.
Second
Your lawyer investigates the details of your case

Once you officially hire a lawyer, they will kick off a process known as “discovery.” That’s when the lawyer asks you follow-up questions about your case. Gathers important documents from police, hospitals, and insurance companies. And collects sworn statements from you (called “depositions”) that, if a lawsuit is filed, will be submitted to the courts.

A few things to expect when your lawyer starts the discovery process:

  • Waiting for the process to unfold (every case differs, but it’s common for discovery to take some time!).
  • Responding promptly to your lawyer’s questions (the faster you supply key information, the faster they can resolve your case).
  • Being 100% truthful in sworn statements (lying or omitting information will reduce your chances of securing a settlement).
Third
You decide whether to settle your case or sue

Finally — after the lawyer you hire finishes the discovery process — you will decide whether to settle your injury case out of court. Or whether to file a lawsuit for a higher reward. Most cases end in settlement, but you’ll want to make this decision based on the details of your unique case. (Your lawyer, of course, will provide their professional opinion on which way to go.)

A few factors to consider when deciding whether to settle or sue:

  • How high are your chances of winning at trial?
  • How much will it cost to pursue a trial (and how long will it take)?
  • How much more money does your lawyer think you can win in court versus an out-of-court settlement?

What do Hawaii car accident lawyers charge?

A car accident lawyer charges for their services using a contingency model. What this means is that if you’ve been in an accident, a lawyer will take your case and pursue a settlement for you at no up-front cost.

In exchange, you promise that lawyer a percentage of the proceeds from your settlement. When your case settles, the lawyer takes their cut first, and you receive the remaining amount. If the lawyer fails to settle your case, you pay nothing.

Naturally, you want the best legal representation you can get, for the smallest bite out of your settlement.

To help you select the best lawyer for your case, we’ve provided a directory of car accident lawyers in Hawaii that you can consider, or call to receive more information.

What if I need treatment, but I don’t have medical insurance?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident but don’t have health insurance, what can you do to obtain the treatment you need? This is more common than a lot of folks think, and it’s important to know that you have two solid options.

Option 1
Medicaid

If you don’t have health insurance privately or through your employer, you may qualify for Medicaid. This is a federal program that gives health insurance to low income earners at the state level. Visit Hawaii’s Medicaid office to see if you qualify.

If you do, Medicaid will pay your medical bills from that point forward. They may even pay some of your past bills.

Option 2
Personal Injury Liens

Another option that not everyone knows about is to finance your medical treatment with a personal injury lien. (Also known as a Letter of Protection, or LOP.) This is when a doctor treats you for no up-front cost, in exchange for some of the proceeds of your future settlement. When your case settles, your doctor gets paid first, and you receive the remaining amount.

This same arrangement can also be used to obtain day-to-day spending money (for bills, food, rent, and so forth) while you are waiting for your case to settle. Your lawyer — once authorized by you — can issue the LOP on your behalf to the doctor or medical facility providing you treatment.

Most Hawaii auto accident lawyers are experienced with setting up personal injury liens for clients who need to finance medical care this way.

Auto Accident Statistics That Hawaii Car Accident Lawyers Consider

If you’ve been in a crash, rest assured that you are far from alone. Here are the most recent available statistics for auto accidents in Hawaii:

  • A total of 102 people died in Hawaiian car accidents in 2019 according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.
  • 65 of these accidents involved just one vehicle, while 43 of the accidents involved multiple vehicles.
  • 21 of those people were killed in a passenger car.
  • 25 of those people were killed in a pickup truck or sport utility vehicle.
  • None of the deaths involved anyone driving a large truck.
  • 20 of those who perished were riding motorcycles.
  • 21 of the deceased were pedestrians, not driving any vehicle at all.
  • 4 of that year’s auto accident fatalities were individuals riding bicycles.
  • Meanwhile, 537 people were “seriously injured” in a car accident in Hawaii in 2019, per the Federal Highway Administration.

Relevant Laws That Hawaii's Car Accident Lawyers Know

As a recent auto accident victim, you may be wondering about the legal requirements involved in pursuing a settlement. As well as the risks of driving without car insurance in Hawaii.

  • You have two years to file a lawsuit related to injuries or property damage from an accident in Hawaii, states Hawaii Revised Statutes section 657-7.
  • Hawaii follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can only recover financial damages in an auto accident lawsuit when you were less responsible for causing the accident than the other driver (or drivers).
  • Hawaii is one of about a dozen states with a no fault insurance rule, meaning that generally, you must use your own insurance coverage to pay for medical bills and property damage before seeking relief via the courts.
  • Driving without car insurance results in a first offense fine of $500, or up to 100 hours of community service in lieu of the fine. Additionally, you’ll lose your driving privileges for 3 months, plus be required to keep an SR-22 certificate for three years.
  • Second and third offenses raise the fine amount to $1,500 - $5,000, raise the community service hours to 200 - 275, raise the driving privileges suspension to 1 year, and mandate the suspension of your registration (not just your license.)

Hawaii Car Accident Lawyer Prep: Fast Facts on Drivers & Vehicles

Here are some key statistics for 2019, the most recent year for which these data were collected:

  • There are 943,173 licensed drivers in Hawaii.
  • There are 483,669 licensed vehicles in Hawaii.

If you're injured, there are Hawaii accident lawyers who can help

We know this isn’t a position you ever wanted to be in. It’s scary, confusing, and you would love nothing more than to just put it all behind you.

The good news is: you don’t need to call the first Hawaii auto accident lawyer you see on a billboard. (And hope they take good care of you.) And you don’t need to choose someone at random after aimlessly looking online. We’ve organized a list of Hawaii accident lawyers right here on this page, with full contact information in one tidy chart.

This way, you can pick one, call them up, and start getting justice.