Mr. Barlow is the Author of "The Ultimate Guide to Accident Injury Cases in Hawaii." Available at:
Worked for the
United States Air Force
Member of the Board of Governors of the Hawaii Association for Justice
Four Ways to Maximize Your Hawaii Auto Accident Settlement
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First, we'll mention that there are a few things that you can't control when it comes to maximizing the settlement you obtain for your injuries. Next, we'll discuss what you can do to obtain the maximum settlement possible for your Hawaii auto accident injuries.
One of the major factors which affects how much you'll receive for your injuries is which insurance company is involved. After helping people who have been injured in accidents for many years, we are still surprised by the wide range of settlement offers made by the various insurance companies in Hawaii.
Some companies offer quite low settlements. The companies known for being quite stingy are Geico, State Farm, and Farmers. Other companies tend to be much more reasonable. These companies are USAA, Dtric, First Insurance, and Island Insurance.
Another factor that you can't control when it comes to the settlement amount is the adjustor. Even within the same insurance companies, there are reasonable adjustors and unreasonable adjustors.
Now for the factors that you can control. The first thing you can control is what you do within the first couple of days after the accident.
#1. Hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you hire a lawyer right away this will help you get a better settlement offer. If you wait for a few days or even a few weeks to get a lawyer, your chances of getting a good settlement offer go way down.
Most likely you will have already done recorded statements with your medical adjustor and the adjuster for the other driver's insurance. In which case, because you didn't have a lawyer giving you advice, it's likely that you said some things in the statement which hurt your case.
#2. Obtain as much medical treatment as possible.
One of the biggest factors that will affect how much of a settlement you receive is your medical treatment. This is something that is completely within your control. No-Fault Insurance covers doctor exams, physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractor treatments, etc.
If you get a lot of treatment this will usually result in a better settlement. If you don't receive very much follow-up treatment and there are large gaps of time between your treatments than that will have a negative effect on your settlement.
#3. Receive treatment from medical providers who specialize in auto accident injuries.
You should keep in mind that the evidence in an injury case is your medical records. If you go to a clinic that specializes in auto accident injuries, such as Portner Orthopedic, or Workstar Injury Recovery Center than the medical records will be very well done and will be very useful in helping you get a good settlement.
If you go to a doctor that doesn't keep good records, then this will have a negative impact on your case. Portner Orthopedic and Workstar accept No-Fault Insurance and they do a great job treating our clients for their car accident injuries, so we highly recommend that our clients go there for their treatment.
#4. Keep Good Records.
Another great way to help maximize your insurance settlement is to keep good records. First of all, you should take good pictures of your injuries. It's essential that you take pictures throughout the healing process, but especially when the injuries are new. You should take a lot of good, clear, pictures. Then you should email them to your lawyer right away.
All too often we have clients who either forgot to take pictures or forgot to email them to us before the pictures were lost. You should also take good pictures of the vehicle damage and send them to your lawyer.
It's also very important that you keep track of any documents you receive in the mail including medical bills. If you have wage loss due to your injuries, your lawyer will need a couple of months of paystubs before the accident, the paystubs during your recovery, and then the paystubs after you return to work full time.
You should scan and email these to your lawyer as soon as you can. We have many clients that want to claim wage loss but are unable to find their paystubs. Do yourself a favor and send them to your lawyer as soon as possible so that he can put them in your case file and have them ready when it's time to make your wage loss claim.