Deadlines - Statute of Limitations - Hawaii

  • The deadline for filing a claim in court is known as the Statute of Limitations. These differ from state to state. The deadlines discussed here are those applicable under HAWAII law. After the expiration of this time period, the claim usually will be lost- regardless of its merits. There are various exceptions to the deadlines (minority, disability, incompetency, etc.), so it may still be worth evaluating a claim even after the deadline has expired. PLEASE NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF THESE DEADLINES, YOU MUST ACT PROMPTLY on any claims which you believe you may wish to pursue.

Claims against the Counties, including the City and County of Honolulu- Hawaii

  • Claims for injuries based upon action or inaction of some Hawaii Counties, including the City and County of Honolulu, were once thought to be required to be filed with the county involved within 6 months of the date of the accident. This deadline was recently addressed by the Hawaii Supreme Court - so that under many circumstances such claims can be brought within 2 years of the date of the accident. Frankly, it is unknown at this point if there are any remaining situations requiring the 6 month filing.

Claims against the State of Hawaii

  • Claims for injuries based upon action or inaction of the State of Hawaii must generally be filed in court no later than two years from the date of the accident- regardless of the type of accident involved. This deadline for the State apparently overrides other deadlines which may provide a longer time period.

Motor vehicle accidents - Hawaii

  • Claims for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident must generally be filed in court no later than two years from the date of the accident. For some claims (eg. claims against the other drivers) it appears that the statute of limitations may be longer and lasts until two years from the date of the last no fault, worker's compensation or public assistance benefit payment related to the accident, if such payments are made.

Slip & fall, trip & fall and other landowner liability claims- Hawaii

  • Claims arising out of slip & fall, trip & fall and other accidents resulting from dangerous conditions on property must generally be filed in court within two years of the date of the accident or they will probably be lost under the applicable statute of limitations.

Medical malpractice; professional negligence claims- Hawaii

  • The deadline for filing most professional negligence / medical malpractice claims in court in Hawaii is two (2) years from the date when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the negligence of the medical care provider and that injuries resulted therefrom. It is not necessary for an expert to advise the injured party that there was professional negligence which caused the injuries before the statute of limitations will start running. It is sufficient to start the running of the 2 year period, if the injured parties have knowledge of the facts which establish an actionable claim. Buck v. Miles, Hawaii Sup. Ct. No. 20368 (Jan. 25, 1999). Some statutes appear to indicate that there is also a maximum limit of six (6) years from the date of the alleged negligence in which to file a medical malpractice claim.

Other claims

  • Other claims have deadlines which run from 30 days (to file certain unlawful suspension, discharge or discrimination claims) to 20 years (for certain real property actions). Individualized advice is required as to the Statute of Limitations applicable to any given claim, since each may have special characteristics which control.

  • Our office charges on a contingency fee basis in accident cases which we accept. There is no charge for an initial consultation to evaluate your case. E-mail us or call us at 1-808-528-2525 if you have any more questions.


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With proper foundation, the Hawaii courts recognize that a personal injury damage award should adequately compensate for actual losses sustained - past, present or future. "[D}ifficulties often arise in ascertaining... what sum will produce adequate compensation." The duty of juries in such cases is "to draw reasonable and probable inferences from the facts and circumstances in evidence and "to form, under proper instructions from the court, such reasonable and probable estimate, as in the exercise of good sense and sound judgment ... will produce adequate compensation." "There is no sound reason ... for throwing any part of the loss upon the injured party.". Coney v. Lihue Plantation Co., 39 Haw. 129 (1951)

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