Friday, February 28, 2014

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims in Hawaii encompass a tremendous variety of incidents including boating and pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, negligence involving dog attacks and car accidents. 

Even though injuries vary widely, methods to preserve your personal injury claim are similar no matter how your accident occurred.  The following steps will help ensure that you are compensated for your losses and medical expenses.

The first step, and your highest priority after an accident, is to obtain medical treatment.  See a doctor if you have not already and thoroughly explain your injury.  Follow through with treatment and be sure you medically stable before you proceed with step two. 

Gathering information is the second step.  Take pictures, collect contact information from witnesses and talk to other people involved in the accident including rescuers and onlookers.  Save all medical information as well, including bills and copies of prescriptions.  Keep a journal through your treatment to make sure you remember everything. 

The third step is to make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer in your area to preserve your legal rights.  With every personal injury claim there is a time limit to file a lawsuit.  Do not wait until the time limit has almost expired. See an attorney as soon as possible to help investigate your case, evaluate how much your case is worth and to write a demand letter to the person or company responsible. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Whiplash Injuries in Car Accidents - Personal Injury

The modern term for a whiplash injury is cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD).  It may also be described as a cervical strain or hyperextension injury.  This type of injury is typically seen as the result of a rear collision and is the most commonly diagnosed injury after a car accident. 

A CAD results from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head and neck immediately after impact.  The injury may occur to both the soft tissue of the neck and also the spine.  CAD injuries are common but are sometimes overlooked or mistreated because of a misunderstanding of the injury. 

Common symptoms of a CAD injury include headache, dizziness, jaw pain, arm pain, ringing ears, back pain, shoulder pain and fatigue.  It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that you receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Describe your symptoms and give your doctor a detailed account of your accident including the motion of your head and neck. A doctor may take x-rays of your neck and prescribe a cervical collar to prevent further injury.  You may also receive physical therapy and instructions for gentle motion exercises to support the healing process. 

If you have been injured in a car accident and believe you have a CAD injury, see your doctor today.  Call a personal injury lawyer soon after to make sure that you are compensated for your injuries. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Personal Injury - Traffic Accidents on Maui

Historically, national statistics on traffic accidents have shown a decline in fatalities over the last several years.  The national rate averages to 12.07 fatalities per 100,000 people according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  National Traffic Statistics

Maui County's traffic fatality rate is slightly higher than the national average at 12.9 according to NHTSA records.  Maui County Traffic Statistics

Available traffic fatality statistics for Maui include many categories.  The following chart visually demonstrates one category: single vehicle crash fatalities in Maui County.  The five years shown on the chart average to 12.8 fatalities per 100,000 people.  Complete information for 2013 is not yet available but preliminary data indicate that traffic fatalities may have declined in 2013. 
If you or your family have experienced a loss due to a traffic accident, call our office today for a free consultation to see if we can help you recover compensation. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Is it Legal to Drink Alcohol on a Beach in Hawaii?

Visitors to Maui and kama'aina alike often wonder whether it is legal to consume liquor on the beach.  The confusion is understandable because it is not uncommon to see responsible adults enjoying a wide variety of beverages while relaxing on the beach. 

Liquor consumption laws on Maui's beaches are often unenforced.  Our culture of personal responsibility, respect for the community and consideration for others mean that alcohol consumption is typically moderate and is rarely the cause of problems.  However, that does not mean it is legal.  To the contrary, consuming liquor on the beach is often illegal.  There are so many restrictions on the public consumption of liquor that you may be breaking one or more laws by drinking on a beach. 

Maui County Code 13.04.040(B) prohibits consuming alcohol in a park or recreational facility if the park is within 1500 feet of a school between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The same code section also prohibits consuming alcohol at any time in a public restroom.  It also prohibits consuming between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in any park or recreational facility. 

Hawaii Administrative Code 13-146-25 prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in a state park.  This applies to Makena State Park and others. 

It is unlawful to consume alcohol at all times in Keopuolani Park near the Kahului Harbor or Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina. 

If your beach is at or near a public lookout, consuming alcohol there is prohibited.  Hawaii Revised Statute §291-3.3(b)  HRS 291-3.3

If you happen to be walking on a public highway or sidewalk to your beach, consuming liquor is illegal. 
Hawaii Revised Statute §281-78 HRS 281-78

It is also unlawful to consume liquor or possess an open container of liquor within any municipal parking lot.  Maui County Code 8.21.010

If you choose to drink alcohol on or near a beach, be aware there are many restrictions and you may be unknowingly breaking the law.  In addition, there is also increased risk of personal injury by consuming alcohol and recreating on the beach, a boat or in the ocean.  It is simply wise to save your mai tai for the evening after you are off the road and at home. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Negotiating a Personal Injury Case

Negotiating a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit can be extremely complex.  Just as you would not try to perform complex surgery on yourself, you should also not try to negotiate your own personal injury case.  Always consult an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you have considered all of your legal options. 

The following factors are just a few of the many considerations when negotiating a personal injury settlement. 

1. Case Evaluation
How much is your case worth?  A good case evaluation will take into consideration your medical expenses, any permanent injury, your age, ongoing medical treatment and property damage.  You must determine a range of value for your case before you begin negotiating.  If you have not decided on a value, an insurance company will be happy to tell you how much your case is worth.  This value is likely to be much less than what you should actually receive.

2. Timing
Settling a personal injury claim too quickly can result in lost damages.  Your attorney must adequately investigate the possibility of lost earnings and employment, properly evaluate any injury to determine if it is permanent or temporary and make sure you are "medically stationary" before sending a demand letter to an insurance company.  A proper investigation must be completed before settling your case.

3. Statute of Limitations
Every personal injury claim has a statute of limitations.  This is the period of time after an injury occurs within which you must file a lawsuit or you will be prohibited from recovery.  Contact an attorney soon after you have been injured to begin an investigation, make sure you are receiving proper medical care and to preserve your rights. 

4. Demand Letter
Drafting an demand letter is an art.  An effective letter will include relevant facts regarding the extent of your injuries, specific reasons why the insurance company should pay you and it will convey the fact that you are serious about your claim. 

5. The most important factor is whether you should even accept a settlement.  Your case may be worth more than the insurance company is offering in settlement.  An experienced litigation attorney can explain all of your legal options, including your chances at trial.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Energy Conference on Maui

The Hawaii Electric Companies (HECO) is one of the lead sponsors of an energy conference to be held on Maui in March, 2014.  The conference will be a gathering of power and utility experts from around the United States to discuss and compare energy usage and planning.

Maui's high energy costs are reflected in monthly utility bills of residents and there is a growing impetus to utilize alternative energy to reduce our reliance on high-cost fossil fuels.  Our community has recently implemented a variety of projects including wind power, photovoltaic production, and a Smart Grid under the leadership of Doug McLeod, the current Maui County Energy Commissioner.  For more information on alternative energy projects in Maui County, click here.  Renewable Energy Maui County

Maui is a logical choice to host the energy conference because it is on the cutting edge of alternative energy production and usage.  The conference will be held March 26 and 27, 2014 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.  For more information click on this link.  Maui Energy Conference

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Maui Unemployment Rate

Recent statistics show that Maui's unemployment rate continues to drop as the economy improves.  In December of 2013, unemployment dropped to 4.6%.  Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa states that the rate is the lowest since 2008.

For more information click on this link.  Drop in Unemployment Rate