Deadlines to Make Personal Injury Claims -
Statute of Limitations in Hawaii
- The deadline for filing a claim in court is known as the Statute of
Limitations. These differ from state to state. The deadlines discussed here
are those applicable under HAWAII law. After the expiration of this time
period, the claim usually will be lost- regardless of its merits. There are
various exceptions to the deadlines (minority, disability, incompetency, etc.), so it may
still be worth evaluating a claim even after the deadline has expired. PLEASE
NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF THESE DEADLINES, YOU MUST ACT PROMPTLY on any claims
which you believe you may wish to pursue.
Claims against the Counties, including the City and County of Honolulu- Hawaii
- At one time it was believed that claims for injuries based upon action or inaction of a County, including the City and County of Honolulu, had to be made within 6 months of the date of the accident. The Hawai'i Supreme Court has apparently struck down that requirement for now. It is not known if there may be another composition of that court which will revive that deadline. To be cautious it is suggested that such claims should be filed with the county in question within such time - regardless of the type of accident involved.
Claims against the State- Hawaii
- Claims for injuries based upon action or inaction of the State of Hawaii must generally be filed in court no later than two years from the date of the accident- regardless of the type of accident involved. This deadline for the State apparently overrides most other deadlines which may provide a longer time period.
Motor vehicle accidents- Hawaii
- Claims for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident must generally be filed in court no later than two years from the date of the accident- or two years from the date of the last no fault, worker's compensation or public assistance benefit payment related to the accident, if such payments are made.
Slip & fall, trip & fall and other landowner liability
- Claims arising out of slip & fall, trip & fall and other
accidents resulting from dangerous conditions on property must generally be
filed in court within two years of the date of the accident or they will
probably be lost under the applicable statute of limitations.
Medical malpractice; professional negligence
The deadline for filing most professional negligence / medical malpractice claims in court in Hawaii is two (2) years from the date when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the negligence of the medical care provider and that injuries resulted therefrom. It is not necessary for an expert to advise the injured party that there was professional negligence which caused the injuries before the statute of limitations will start running. It is sufficient to start the running of the 2 year period, if the injured parties have knowledge of the facts which establish an actionable claim. Buck v. Miles, Hawaii Sup. Ct. No. 20368 (Jan. 25, 1999). Some statutes appear to indicate that there is also a maximum limit (such as six (6) years) from the date of the alleged negligence in which to file a professional malpractice claim.
- Other claims have deadlines which run from 30 days (to file certain
unlawful suspension, discharge or discrimination claims) to 20 years (for
certain real property actions). Individualized advice is required as to the
Statute of Limitations applicable to any given claim, since each may have
special characteristics which control.
- Our office charges on a contingency fee basis in accident cases which we accept. There is no charge for an initial consultation to evaluate your case. E-mail us or call us at 1-808-671-7600 if you have any more questions.
- If you believe that you may have a claim of this type, please take a few moments to visit with a paralegal to outline the nature of your claim. Thank you!
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Hawaii Personal Injury and Accident Law News and Cases
On June 29, 2015, the Hawaii Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance, Hi. Sup. Ct. Case No SCCQ-14-0000727 (June 29, 2015). This case arose out of a wrongful death personal injury case handled by this office which resulted in a $4.1 million verdict in favor of our clients - even though Liberty Mutual, the primary liability insurer, never offered anything even close to its policy limits of $1 million. St. Paul - who had to pay our clients everything recovered in excess of the initial $1 million - claimed that Liberty Mutual committed bad faith towards it by failing to settle within its $1 million policy limits. The Hawaii Supreme Court agreed and found that an excess insurer has claims for bad faith against a primary insurer.
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