Being involved in any type of accident can suddenly and forever change your life. The unfortunate truth is that there are innocent people injured as a result of negligence every day in Hawaii, including the Kekaha area. After being harmed in an accident, particularly if you feel someone else caused it, you will need to take the appropriate steps to protect your right to compensation. Seeking guidance from a personal injury attorney early on will ensure you have the best possible outcome for your case.
Our personal injury lawyers at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner have decades of experience representing clients in Kekaha and all over Hawaii who have been harmed in accidents due to the negligence of others. Whether you have suffered injuries as a result of an accident at a business, due to medical malpractice, or even a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to be compensated for your injuries, financial losses, and suffering. The best way to pursue full compensation is to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party or parties.
Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases: How It Affects Your Claim
After being hurt in an accident in Kekaha, HI, you must be able to prove that the defendant is responsible for the accident taking place and the injuries and damages that you have suffered. Sometimes, the person filing the claim for compensation may share some percentage of fault for the accident. In Hawaii, this does not necessarily mean that you totally lose the ability to pursue a personal injury claim. But it does mean that the amount of compensation you can get will be reduced.
The state of Hawaii follows the law of comparative fault for personal injury cases. This law essentially states that the amount of compensation an injured party may recover for any damages they sustain will be reduced to reflect the amount of fault that they share. To be able to qualify for recovery, you must be able to demonstrate that the defendant is at least 50 percent at fault for the accident occurring. Having the assistance of a Hawaii personal injury attorney in this situation is crucial to ensure the defendant does not use comparative fault as a strategy to reduce the total compensation they must pay you.
Proving Negligence: Building a Strong Case
When it comes to building a strong personal injury claim, proving negligence is necessary for a variety of reasons.
- Legal Requirement: When filing a personal injury claim after being harmed in an accident in Hawaii, the burden of proof lies with the injured party. In order for your case to have a favorable outcome, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries.
- Recovering Compensation: Without a strong case with carefully presented evidence in support of your claim, you will not receive the financial support you need to recover during this difficult time.
- Protecting Your Rights: You have every right to seek compensation from the responsible party after being injured due to their negligence, according to the law, and to get it, you must establish negligence occurred.
- Demonstrating Causation: You must be able to show that the negligence that occurred was directly the cause of your injuries and other losses.
- Negotiation Leverage: When you can clearly establish negligence on the part of the defendant, you will have more negotiating power when dealing with insurance companies. With the strongest evidence possible, insurance adjusters are more likely to offer a fair settlement in order to avoid going to trial.
- Court Success: In the event that negotiations do not produce a favorable settlement, and your case does have to be presented in front of a judge and jury, being able to make a strong case proving negligence will help to ensure you are able to get the best possible outcome. Judges and juries rely on the evidence and arguments presented to make informed decisions. A well-documented and compelling case is more likely to influence the outcome of your case in your favor.
- Encouraging Accountability: Holding negligent parties accountable for their actions helps to prevent such senselessness and negligence in the future. Not only might it deter the person who harmed you from behaving recklessly again, but it may also deter others who have knowledge of the outcome of your case as well.
To build a strong case proving negligence, you should gather as much evidence as possible, document your injuries and all of the required medical treatment, and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Preserving Evidence After an Accident: Critical Steps
After being injured in an accident, preserving evidence is critically important. With the passage of time, memories fade, and some evidence may disappear, so there are steps you must take as soon as the accident happens and in the days and weeks afterward to protect your ability to successfully obtain compensation.
- Document the Accident Scene: If you have the physical ability to do so, take pictures and record videos of the scene of the accident. You will want to capture pictures of any injuries and property damage that you have, weather conditions, and other factors that may have contributed to the accident. These visuals can help recreate the scene and clarify liability.
- Collect Contact Information: Gather contact information from any witnesses at the accident scene. Statements that are provided by witnesses can be invaluable when it comes to supporting your claim, as they can provide an objective account of what transpired.
- Preserve Physical Evidence: Preserving physical evidence is vital. If you were involved in a car accident in which you were severely injured, keep the vehicle in the condition it was in immediately after the accident. Do not repair or alter it in any way until you have consulted with an attorney. For other types of personal injury accidents, such as a slip and fall, keep any damaged clothing, footwear, or other items that may serve as evidence. If there is any physical evidence that you cannot remove from the scene of the accident in the home or business where it occurred, you should take pictures of it to ensure you have them documented.
- Obtain Police Reports: If law enforcement responded to the scene of your accident, request a copy of the police report as soon as possible. This report will contain information about the accident, the responding officers’ observations, who all was involved, insurance information for all involved parties, and sometimes even statements from the involved parties.
- Document Your Injuries: It is important to document any physical and emotional injuries that you have suffered as a result of your accident. You will want to hold onto your medical records and take pictures of all of your injuries if possible. You should also keep copies of any medical bills you receive as well.
- Maintain a Journal: It can be very helpful to your case to keep a journal detailing your daily experiences, including pain levels, physical limitations, and the impact of the accident on your daily life. This personal account can be compelling evidence of your suffering and its effect on your quality of life. This is especially important when it comes to taking legal action for the pain and suffering that you have experienced or any loss of enjoyment of life.
It is undeniable that preserving evidence after an accident in Kekaha, Hawaii is crucial to building a strong personal injury claim. By following these steps and seeking guidance from a skilled team of Hawaii personal injury lawyers, you can maximize your chances of getting justice and holding the negligent party accountable.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters: Tips for a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies are often self-serving when it comes to handling personal injury claims. They will often do everything in their power to minimize any payments that they provide to injured parties because they are more concerned about profits than helping you get the compensation you need. Knowing how to handle the insurance adjustor during this difficult time can make all of the difference. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself against their underhanded tactics.
- Review Your Policy: It is important to familiarize yourself with your insurance policy so that you better understand your coverages and any deadlines for reporting accidents or filing claims.
- Report the Accident as Soon as Possible: You must notify your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company as soon as possible. Failure to file a timely notice after an accident could impact your ability to pursue a claim.
- Be Cautious When Talking to Adjusters: You must be extremely careful about what you say to insurance adjusters. You never want to admit fault and never make recorded statements without consulting an attorney.
- Keep Medical Records: You should maintain copies of all medical bills, treatment records, and all of the receipts you received related to your treatment. This documentation will be crucial in determining the extent of your injuries and the costs involved.
- Get Multiple Repair Estimates: If your vehicle is damaged, obtain repair estimates from multiple auto body shops. This can help ensure you receive a fair settlement for your vehicle’s repairs. If your home was damaged, seek an estimate from the licensed contractor.
- Understand Hawaii’s Insurance Laws: It is important to familiarize yourself with Hawaii’s specific insurance laws and regulations, as they may impact the claims process. A local personal injury attorney can provide valuable insights and help you better understand what is expected of you.
- Never Settle Too Quickly: Insurance companies are always quick to offer a settlement to injured parties following accidents. Unfortunately, the amount that they offer is often lower than what you may be entitled to.
- Consider Mediation or Arbitration: If you are not able to reach a fair settlement through negotiation, explore alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration before taking your case to court.
Remember, a personal injury attorney will help make sure you get the best possible outcome for your case, often without the hassle of going to trial.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
It is no secret that being involved in an accident can have a severe impact on your life. The unfortunate truth is that we see many people harmed as a result of preventable accidents that take place in cities across our state every single day. After being harmed in an accident, you deserve to be able to get justice by holding the person who caused you harm accountable. Seeking guidance from our personal injury attorneys at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner can help to ensure you have the best chance of protecting your rights.
Although we hope that you never find yourself in the aftermath of a terrible personal injury incident, we want you to know that we are here to help you if this happens to you. Our Honolulu-based personal injury law firm has been helping people in Kekaha and all over Hawaii get the compensation they desperately need to heal and move forward in their lives after being injured due to the negligence of someone else.
We take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means your current financial status is not relevant to your ability to seek legal counsel. You will not pay us anything upfront to begin working on your case, as our fee will only be taken out of your final payout if we are successful in securing you a settlement or jury award. In the unlikely event we do not secure a settlement or jury verdict for you, you will owe us nothing.
Whether you were visiting the Kekaha area when you got injured or you are a resident, we can help you pursue a personal injury claim. Our experienced and compassionate team will advocate on your behalf to ensure your best interests are protected and that you are able to gain the best position possible moving forward. At your earliest convenience, reach out to our lawyers by calling 808-537-2525 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a member of our team to get started.