TOP 3 REASONS TO HIRE (OR NOT TO HIRE) A HAWAII PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY:
Suffering an injury due to the negligence of a Hawaii driver, property owner, or business sets in motion a convoluted process in which an injured victim is forced to navigate the sophisticated world of insurance companies and highly trained claims adjusters. For many injured victims, the thought of hiring an attorney can be overwhelming.
TOP 3 REASONS TO HIRE A HAWAII PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY:
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in Hawaii, it is important to carefully weigh the decision to hire an attorney to advocate on you or your loved one's behalf. Below are 3 reasons in favor of hiring a Hawaii personal injury attorney:
1. Your Attorney is a Fiduciary and Advocate for YOU.
Insurance companies are legally required to put the interests of their shareholders over the recovery and wellbeing of the victim. In a personal injury claim, the insurance company claims adjuster may attempt to establish a rapport with the victim and pretend to sympathize with the victim. The insurance claim's adjuster may make gentle requests for medical records, wage loss verification and other evidence in the claim. The adjuster may also make unsolicited settlement offers at the beginning of the claim and before the injured victim completes his or her medical treatment. However, when it is time for the victim to discuss settlement of the claim, the claims adjuster may quickly turn from friend to foe.
Conversely, an attorney has a fiduciary duty under Hawaii law to advocate for you or your loved one. A fiduciary duty is among the highest duties of care and loyalty under Hawaii law where the client's interests are placed above anyone else. Your attorney serves as a source of information regarding the process of pursing a personal injury claim as well as an advocate against the insurance company.
2. Your Attorney Advocates for Settlement AND Negotiates Repayment to Medical Providers.
In most injury cases, an insurance company pays for medical expenses related to the negligent event. Such payments can be recouped by the insurance company from the injured victim's settlement. In fact, most insurance plans have a provision in the plan that authorize a lien to be placed on the injured victim's settlement for payments made by the insurance company for the victim's accident-related medical treatment.
While there are a number of strategies employed by Hawaii personal injury attorneys when negotiating health insurance liens, the injured victim saves thousands of dollars through the attorney's negotiation efforts. Here's an example:
A. Victim suffers serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident
B. Victim exhausts limits of PIP policy
C. Health insurer pays $40,000 in accident-related medical expenses
D. Attorney obtains a $250,000 settlement
E. Attorney negotiates a $20,000 settlement with the health insurer
F. Client receives additional $20,000 in settlement funds due to Attorney's negotiation with health insurer
3. Attorneys Who File Lawsuits in Personal Injury Cases Equate to Higher Settlements.
How does an attorney obtain a higher settlement than a victim could negotiate on behalf of his or herself? The answer is simple - an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney has the power to file a lawsuit against the negligent party and force a trial on the merits of the case.
In a study by the Insurance Research Council, settlements of victims represented by an attorney were compared to settlements of victims not represented by an attorney. The results of the study were remarkable, yet unsurprising. The victims represented by an attorney who filed a lawsuit on their behalf received settlements that were 54% higher in monetary value than victims who did not retain an attorney.
Thus, in addition to avoiding the hassle, time and anxiety related to handling an insurance claim without an attorney, an injured victim is likely to receive a higher settlement by hiring an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney.
TOP 3 REASONS NOT TO HIRE A HAWAII PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY:
There are many cases where a Hawaii personal injury attorney may not deliver value to an injured victim. Below are 3 reasons not to hire a Hawaii personal injury attorney:
1. Hawaii's "No-Fault" Law Prohibits a Lawsuit.
In most accident cases, the injured victim is angered by the actions of the negligent party. This anger can bleed into a state where the victim wishes to sue the negligent party.
Under Hawaii law, a personal injury lawsuit may only be filed if certain conditions are met prior to the filing. The law is called "No Fault". The No Fault laws basically restrict an injured victim's right to file a lawsuit to cases where the victim's medical expenses/treatment exceed a certain dollar figure. If the victim's medical expenses do not exceed the threshold, any lawsuit filed by the victim for bodily injury is likely to be dismissed by the Court.
For more information on Hawaii's no-fault law, contact an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney.
2. No Insurance is Available.
If there is no insurance policy available to compensate the injured victim, there may not be any need to hire an attorney. However, before determining whether there is insurance available, it may be wise to consult an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney to confirm that there is no insurance. In motor vehicle cases, the at-fault driver may be uninsured. However, that is not the end of the inquiry. If the victim maintains an uninsured motorist (UM) policy, such a policy would be available to compensate the injured victim. Also, be advised, a victim who was injured as a pedestrian, motorcycle operator, or cyclist may be entitled to benefits under his or her UM policy.
3. The Victim is 100% At Fault for the Accident.
Put simply, if the victim is 100% at fault for the accident there is no personal injury case. In cases where the victim is 100% at fault for his or her injuries, there is no reason to hire a personal injury attorney.
However, in the event a vehicle passenger is injured in an accident where a family member or friend is at fault for the accident, the passenger HAS A CLAIM against the negligent driver. Additionally, if an insurance company is alleging that the victim is at fault for the accident but the victim is not at fault, it is important to consult an experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney to confirm with the attorney that the insurance company's liability determination is correct.