Suffering an injury while on vacation in Hawaii can be a horrific experience on many levels. The purpose of this post is to provide an informational checklist on things to consider for Hawaii tourists and visitors who have been injured in an auto accident, or in a fall or other accident at a resort, rental property or on an ocean or recreational activity.
Accordingly, here is the checklist:
- Seek Medical Attention
Tourists and visitors oftentimes delay in seeking medical treatment until returning home. By waiting to see your doctor, you may cause the injury to become worse and the healing time to be longer. There are many fine hospitals and doctors in Hawaii - there is no reason to wait to see a doctor.
- Take Photos
A picture tells a thousand words. Take as many photos as possible from as many different angles as possible. Photos of a damaged car, or the surface and surrounding area where a fall occurred. Injury photographs tell the story of your accident much better than you, your lawyer, and/or any expert. Put simply, good photos add significant value to a personal injury case. Remember to back up any photos by emailing or uploading the photos to the cloud in case the phone or camera is misplaced.
- File a Police Report
If you or a loved one is involved in a motor vehicle accident, we recommend you request the police report number and a business card from the investigating officer. This will greatly assist you in your efforts to request the police report after the accident. If the police did not investigate the accident, you may file a police report after the accident. However, we recommend that you consult an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney prior to making any statement that will result in a report.
- File an Incident Report
If you were injured at a resort, rental residence, retail store, or while participating in a recreational activity, an incident report is typically prepared by an employee of the entity that may be financially responsible for you or your loved one's injury. As noted above, an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney should be consulted prior to making a statement. However, if you do make a statement, we recommend that you obtain a full and complete copy of the incident report. Oftentimes, the investigating employee will refuse to provide a copy of the report to the injured victim. This is why we recommend a written assurance from the investigating employee PRIOR to making any statement that the employee will provide a full and complete copy of the report and any additions or revisions thereto.
- Compile Witness Names and Contact Information
As soon after the accident as possible, a friend or loved one should compile a list of any and all witnesses to the accident. The names and contact information of the witnesses can be invaluable to a successful personal injury case. In the case of an employee witness, we recommend writing down as much information as the employee provides you. We also recommend taking a picture of any employees who witnessed the accident. If the employee is terminated or resigns her or his employment, such pictures will prove to be useful if the claim proceeds to litigation.
- Retain Receipts for Incidental Expenses
When one suffers an injury while on vacation, incidental expenses necessitated by the accident can add up quickly. Retain and take pictures of all receipts for items and services purchased as a result of the accident. If related to the accident, incidental expenses may be recoverable from the negligent party responsible for causing your injury.
- Consult an Experienced Hawaii Personal Injury Attorney
Our office regularly receives calls and referrals from attorneys in the mainland United States who are unable to settle Hawaii personal injury cases. We are grateful for all referrals but Hawaii personal injury laws differ dramatically from laws in other states. Additionally, insurance companies are highly sophisticated entities who understand that an attorney who does not maintain a Hawaii law license cannot file a lawsuit in a Hawaii court without the assistance of a Hawaii attorney. Therefore, the offers conveyed to an out-of-state attorney are oftentimes significantly less because the insurance company knows that the out-of-state attorney will lose out on her or his attorney's fees if the case is turned over to a Hawaii attorney for a lawsuit filing.