Q: I was in an automobile collision. What should I do first?
A: Obtain the insurance and contact information from anyone else involved in the accident, as well as contact information from any witnesses. When seeking medical care, be sure to give the doctor or care provider a comprehensive description of your condition so that all of your injuries – and their causes – can be documented accurately. It is also important to preserve as much evidence from the accident scene as you can, such as photographs. Although Hawai‘i law allows you two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, one of the most important things to do is contact an experienced lawyer who can ensure that all important evidence is preserved.
Q: How much does it cost to hire you as my lawyer?
A: The Wayne Parsons Law Office works on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay no legal fees unless and until you receive compensation for your losses.
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: The value of your case is what a judge or jury will determine is the fair result after listening to all of the testimony and reviewing the evidence. Since most cases settle out of court and before a trail, the amount of a settlement is somewhere between what your case is valued by you and what the insurance company values the claim. The specific facts of how the injury occurred and how badly, and permanently hurt you are important in setting a dollar value on the case. As part of our free initial consultation, we will evaluate the facts of your case and provide a preliminary estimate about what it may happen in a trial and in an out-of-court settlement.
Q: How long will my personal injury case take?
A: This also depends on the facts of the case and the seriousness of your injuries. In Hawai‘i it takes 2 to 3 years for a case to go to trial in court from the date the lawsuit is filed. That is an average over all cases filed. Insurance companies always want to delay the case because they are earning interest on their investments and can use the profit to pay claims. Another important consideration is that we must wait until your doctors can predict your future medical needs from the injury and we must evaluate whether you will have any future income loss because of your injuries. Even in simple back injuries, the patient may have to retire early because of the deterioration of the back over the years. So we work closely with you, your family, your doctors and specialists in future work problems and sometimes utilize Life Care Planners to calculate future medical and health care needs. All cases proceed as quickly as possible because The Firm won’t be paid until the case is over, but attention to all of these matters takes time and we will protect your future by carefully analyzing each area.
Q: What is the Jones Act?
A: The Jones Act is a federal law allowing employees on any kind of boat, ship, or vessel to bring a personal injury claim against their employers. Injured workers are eligible to recover a variety of damages, including lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, and any necessary therapy, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or restraining costs.
Q: What do I need to know about car insurance?
A: Hawai‘i is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that regardless of who is at fault in a wreck, your insurance company will pay for any injuries sustained by you and your passengers, up to your policy’s personal injury protection (PIP) limit. All Hawai‘i drivers must maintain car insurance with certain minimum coverage; specifically, $10,000 per person in PIP benefits covering medical and rehabilitation expense, and $20,000 per person ($40,000 per accident) coverage for bodily injury. In the event the accident was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another party, damages incurred above these amounts can be recovered through a personal injury lawsuit.