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Personal injury claim — prove 4 elements

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Personal Injury

While living or traveling in Hawaii, there’s always an inherent risk. In the workplace, at a grocery store, hotel or a friend’s house, etc., an accident can happen at any time. Sometimes, you might suffer personal injury because of your own negligence, such as tripping and falling because you forgot to tie your shoe. Other times, however, another person’s negligence might be responsible for your injuries.

If that’s the case, you have the right to file a personal injury claim in civil court. Such litigation often occurs following a motor vehicle accident or injuries that have occurred on someone else’s property. When you pursue litigation to seek compensation for damages, you must prove that several elements existed when the incident resulting in your injuries occurred.

Plaintiffs must prove these elements in a personal injury claim

When you file a personal injury claim in Hawaii, you become a plaintiff in a lawsuit. The defendant is the individual or group of people whom you claim are liable for your injuries. To win a favorable ruling, you must prove that the four elements shown in the following list existed when the incident occurred:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • He or she (or they) failed to fulfill that duty, which constitutes negligence.
  • The defendant’s negligence caused the incident that resulted in injury.
  • You suffered loss (damages) because of the incident.

Property owners owe a duty of care to all visitors and invited guests. Motorists owe a duty of care to pedestrians and other drivers and vehicle occupants. These are just two examples of many that may help substantiate a personal injury claim.

What does Hawaii personal injury law consider as damages?

You must list damages in a personal injury claim. In Hawaii, such damages may include emotional or physical pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages and medical expenses. State law requires you to file a personal injury claim within two years from the date of the incident, even if your injuries developed some time after the initial trauma.

In Hawaii, the law prohibits you from recovering damages if you yourself were more than 50% culpable for the incident that resulted in your injuries. This is known as “modified comparative negligence.” If you are less than 50% responsible, you may recover damages, but the court may reduce the maximum allowed by law from the amount you may have recovered had you not been at fault at all. It’s always best to seek experienced guidance before filing a legal claim.