Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brain Injury and the NFL

Last year the National Football League settled a lawsuit filed by thousands of former football players.  Maui Law - NFL Brain Injury Settlement.  Concern and awareness has been increasing the last few years of repetitive head trauma caused by the hard impacts football players are subjected to. 

Just this week, a prominent NFL rookie made a choice to retire early from the sport of football citing his concern over possible neurological trauma.  Even seemingly minor repetitive concussions and brain injuries have been associated with permanent negative medical problems later in life such as memory loss, dementia and other neurodegenerative disease. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

County of Maui and State of Hawaii Liability

Civil liability of a governmental entity such as the County of Maui can be a complicated issue.  Governmental entities often attempt to limit their own liability by enacting legislation stating specifically saying they are not liable for certain categories of decisions.  Common exclusions are limited liability for planning decisions and discretionary functions.  An example of this in action is the Hawaii Revised Statute, HRS §662-19 which excludes public entities and employees from liability for injuries to someone using a public skateboard park.

Even though there can be exclusions for recovery from a governmental entity or a county, governmental bodies can still be liable for injuries.  State and County liability is often modeled after the Federal Tort Claims Act which allows recovery against the government for personal injury, wrongful death and property damage caused by negligence of a government employee.

This theory applies to the State of Hawaii and County of Maui also.  There have been successful lawsuits and settlements obtained from the County and State due to negligence.  Not all lawsuits against the County or State are successful.  However, many different suits have been filed.

  •  In 2010 a woman sued the Maui Police Department for extortion and theft. 
  •  In 2012, a golfer at the Waiehu Golf Course sued Maui County for negligence after he was attacked and injured by a goose on the greens.  
  •  Recent lawsuits have also claimed County negligence in not properly maintaining roads which can cause vehicle accidents. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Aircraft Accidents in Hawaii

The Hawaiian island are rich with natural beauty.  However, much of the terrain is rugged and remote and can cause difficulties with rescue when an accident happens.  Aircraft accidents in Hawaii are no exception.  Aircraft accidents happen frequently sometimes causing injuries and fatalities.

Aircraft accidents can be the result of many different factors including pilot error, mechanical failure or weather. 

By their very nature, airplane and helicopter accidents cause a tremendous amount of publicity and can also be very stressful for victims and their family members.  If you have been involved in an aircraft accident, contact an experienced attorney today to protect your rights. 
 Here is an list of select recent aircraft accidents in Hawaii. 

January 16, 2015.  Cessna 172N lost engine power and crashed into remote Halawa Valley on the island of Molokai.  Injuries but all occupants survived. 

September 24, 2014.  Piper PA25-260.  This type of aircraft is commonly used for agriculture or towing other planes such as gliders.  In this situation, the aircraft ran out of fuel and crash-landed into the ocean surf near the shore on the island of Oahu. No injuries. 

September 21, 2014.  Robinson Helicopter R44.  The helicopter sustained a hard landing on Oahu in a quartering tailwind.  There was substantial damage to the aircraft.  No injuries. 

September 13, 2014.  Eurocopter AS 350 B2.  Maui, Hawaii.  The helicopter's tail rotor struck an auxiliary power cart that was close to the aircraft causing substantial damage to the tail boom and rotor.  No injuries were reported. 

The remote Halawa Valley in Maui County, the island of Molokai where a recent airplane crash occurred.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Renewable Energy Expansion in Hawaii

Renewable energy is expanding rapidly in Hawaii.  A new wind farm on the North Shore of Oahu has been approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.  The Na Pua Makani project will provide 24-megawatts of electricity over the next twenty years.  
You can read more about the project here. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Compensatory and Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Case

If you have been in an accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages from the person who caused you harm.  There are two types of damages you may be able to collect in a personal injury case: compensatory and punitive.

       Compensatory Damages
             -Damages designed to compensate you for your specific injury and loss.  
                 1.  Economic Damages
                       -Also known as Special Damages in a personal injury case. 
                       -Tangible damages whose dollar amount can be concretely measured.
                       -Medical expenses, damage to motor vehicle, property damage,
                        loss of earnings, etc.

                  2. Non-Economic Damages
                       -Also known as General Damages in a personal injury case. 
                       -Intangible damages that can not be quantified.
                       -Pain and suffering, emotional harm, disfigurement, loss of companionship,
                        loss of consortium, etc.

            Punitive Damages
                -Damages designed to punish the person responsible for your injury and loss.
                -Used to deter future conduct of both the person responsible and others.
                -Usually limited in Hawaii to nine or ten times the amount of actual damages.
You should be aware that references to damages may change depending on the type of lawsuit you have.  For example, compensatory damages in a tort case may have a different definition than in a contract case.  To determine the type and amount of damages that you are entitled to for your accident, seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Access to Jaws Surf Break at Peahi

Every winter the North Pacific ocean brews large storms that create huge swells.  Many of the swells eventually reach Maui's north shore and the underwater topography in certain places along the coast create huge waves.  The biggest waves typically occur near Peahi which is also known as Jaws. 

For decades, Jaws was a place only locals familiar with big wave surfing knew how to access.  However, Peahi's popularity has increased significantly and every year when the wave "fires off," the parking lot is overflowing with dozens of cars and scores of people. 

Despite the number of people, you should be aware that there is no public access to Jaws.  The road through the jungle to the most popular viewing area is privately owned by Alexander and Baldwin.  The company has generally been a very generous neighbor by not making too many attempts to shut off access to the unmaintained dirt road.  The company recently even cooperated with Red Bull and the County of Maui with plans to organize a big-wave surfing contest. 

If you visit Peahi to watch big-wave surfing, please be careful and be considerate.   The drive from the Hana Highway to the viewing area can easily take an hour due to traffic on the one-lane road that is packed with trucks, motorcycles, dogs and tourists.

Remember that, as with many places on Maui, you are a guest on privately owned land.  Car accidents and injuries are not uncommon due to poor driving conditions and large numbers of people.  Also, if you park irresponsibly along the Hana Highway, you should expect a parking ticket.  Maui Police Department does patrol the area.  

Photo of Jaws by Maui Legal Team Investigator

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

University of Hawaii Gift

The University of Hawaii College of Business has received a gift of $69 million from Honolulu businessman Jay Shidler.  Mr. Shidler's gift to the University consists of ownership interests in several pieces of property around the country and will provide long-term stable income to the school.  The gift is the largest private donation in the history of the University and raises Mr. Shidler's total donations to the University of Hawaii to $100 million. 

For more information on the gift, click here.  University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business.