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Pacific Guardian Center
Honolulu, HI 96813
West Oahu Office
91-1001 Kaimalei Street, Suite 204B
Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Mr. Barlow is the Author of "The Ultimate Guide to Accident Injury Cases in Hawaii."
How Much is My Hawaii Injury Case Worth?
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This may be one of the most frequent questions that Hawaii injury lawyers receive. Although it would be great if the answer was a simple one, unfortunately it's not. There are many different factors that go into determining the value of one's Hawaii car accident injury case. We always try to settle our client's injury cases so they don't have to go through the stressful and time consuming process of taking a case to court. During the settlement process the person who determines how much the injury claim is worth is the Hawaii insurance adjustor and his or her manager.
The first factor they will consider is whether their driver was liable. Once they determine that their driver is liable, than they will then consider the value of the injuries. The Hawaii insurance adjustor will do this by reviewing all of the medical bills and records that we send to them. If the injuries are very serious such as those involving fractured bones or other injuries which required surgery, than their valuation will likely be very high. If the injuries are considered "soft tissue" injuries because they didn't require surgery to repair, than the value of the claim will be much lower. "Soft tissue" injuries are those types of injuries such as whiplash, neck strains, and back strains. These injuries usually heal with time and with treatment from physical therapists, chiropractors, or massage therapists.
The value of the injuries also greatly depend on which insurance company is involved. Farmers and Geico tend to offer very small amounts to settle Hawaii motor vehicle accident injury claims. State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive also tend to offer lower settlement offers. We have seen better settlement offers from Dtric, First Insurance, and Island Insurance. The best settlement offers that we see usually come from USAA as well as some of the insurance companies on the mainland.
Nothing is certain when it comes to making injury claims. About 80% of the time we can make a pretty good guess how much an insurance adjustor will offer. However, about 10% of the time an adjustor will shock us with a settlement offer much higher than we expected and 10% of the time an adjustor will shock us with a settlement offer much lower than we expected.
It is always completely up to our clients whether they want to accept a Hawaii insurance adjustor's settlement offer or not. If they feel that an offer is much lower than they deserve for the motor vehicle injuries than it is up to them if they want to proceed to litigation.
The first step of the Hawaii car accident litigation process will be the Court Annexed Arbitration Program. At this stage of the process the Court assigned Arbitrator will determine how much he or she thinks the case is worth. Once again, it will be completely up to our clients whether they want to accept the Arbitrator's award, or appeal the award and take their case to the jury trial.
The question how much our client's Honolulu car accident injuries are worth will then be determined by a jury. Juries in Hawaii tend to be quite conservative. They don't usually award large amounts, especially in cases involving "soft tissue" injuries. We often talk to juries after the trial and they usually say things like: "We're just tired of all these lawsuits...We're tired of people always wanting to sue for everything..." When deciding to take an injury case to a jury or not, it's important to remember that in general the majority of the population in Hawaii has not been injured in an auto accident so they may not be very sympathetic. They also usually have the false belief that injury cases make their insurance rates go up.