Personal Injury in Hawaii
Hawaii is a no-fault insurance state, which in most cases makes it more difficult to sue and be sued after an auto accident. Part of the no-fault coverage involves purchasing personal insurance protection (PIP). In Hawaii, the minimum PIP you're required to be covered for is $10,000, and this is designed to pay your medical bills in case of an accident.
This does not mean if you are injured in a car accident (that is, you've suffered personal injury) that you have no recourse if you run through that amount; quite to the contrary.
It is just that determining how much you should be compensated becomes very complicated when you start accounting for lost wages and pain and suffering. That's where a personal injury lawyer can be helpful: deciphering the dense passages of the law pertaining to bodily injury under the no-fault system.
Unlike in tort insurance states, where at times it can be open season for lawyers, Hawaii's no-fault laws seek to set levels of damage that need to be met before you move further into the legal system to seek further restitution. These levels are known as thresholds.
Verbal Vs. Monetary Thresholds
There are two types of thresholds in the world of no-fault insurance. Some states rely on the verbal threshold. This threshold defines in plain language what a serious injury is. If your injuries fit the definition, then you may have a case.
The second threshold, and the one you will encounter in Hawaii, is the monetary threshold. This simply means that in order to be allowed to sue for personal injury caused to you, your medical bills must reach a certain monetary figure. In Hawaii that figure is $5,000.
Considering your minimum PIP is $10,000, the $5,000 number seems rather misleading. This is where things get murky―you're entering attorney territory. That's because part of the threshold figure is for the hard-to-define pain and suffering aspects of the bodily injury.
If you've been the victim of a car crash, you're stressed enough. And if you're in pain, the last thing you will want to do is fight with insurance companies and their battalion of examiners. Not only do personal injury lawyers serve as a buffer, but they also work to get you as much money as possible under Hawaii's no-fault laws.