What to Do After a No-Fault Car Accident Without Insurance in Hawaii

In Hawaii, you can file a claim with the insurance provider of the driver at fault after a car accident, but you could still be penalized for driving uninsured.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
You could face jail time, a license suspension, and a hefty fine if you're in a car accident without insurance in Hawaii. However, as long as you’re no more than 50% at fault for the accident, you retain the right to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s provider.
Despite Hawaii's beautiful driving scenery, a car accident on island roads is just as ugly as anywhere else. If you’re involved in a crash without insurance, you could face a variety of penalties, but don't give up! You’ve still got the right to file an insurance claim or to sue—as long as you’re found less than 51% at fault.
So grab an ice-cold drink, sit back, and relax, because we'll walk you through what to do after a no-fault car accident without insurance in Hawaii. We’ll cover car accidents,
car insurance
, and comparative negligence laws, so if the worst happens, you'll at least be prepared.

What happens if you get into a car accident in Hawaii?

After a car accident
, safety should be your top priority. If you or your passengers are injured, call 911. Move your vehicle out of traffic if you can. You may feel tempted to drive on when you realize you don't have insurance, but that’s not a good idea.
You could be convicted of a misdemeanor or felony under
Hawaii hit-and-run laws
if you flee the scene of an accident. If  convicted, you could be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to one year in prison. In the worst-case scenario, like death or injury, you could face up to $50,000 in fines and 10 years in prison.
It’s better to document the crash in as much detail as you can. Take pictures and notes because human memory can be unreliable at best. Additionally, you'll need to exchange names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance companies, and policy numbers with the other driver(s). 
Grabbing the contact info of any witnesses wouldn't hurt either. This info will come in handy when it comes to reporting the accident.

Car accident reporting laws in Hawaii

In Hawaii, if a car accident causes injury, death, or more than $3,000 in property damage,
it must be reported to the police by law
. An officer will file the report for you if you brought them to the scene with a 911 call. Otherwise, you must
contact the local police
to file a report yourself
within 24 hours
Someone else can file a report on your behalf within 10 days if you’re unable to do so. You might be tempted to stay silent, but that's not a good idea either. Adding a failure to report an accident to the penalties for driving without car insurance in Hawaii won't improve your situation.
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What happens if you don’t carry car insurance in Hawaii?

In Hawaii,
drivers are required by law to carry
personal injury protection (PIP)
insurance. In an accident where you're at fault, the former covers the other driver's bodily injuries, property damage, and/or death. Since Hawaii is a
no-fault state
, the latter covers your bodily injuries and/or death regardless of who is at fault.
According to the law, your policy has to have 20/40/10 minimum limits:
Paying your premiums might seem like a hassle, but it beats the penalties of driving without car insurance in Hawaii.

Penalties for driving without car insurance in Hawaii

Hawaii Revised Statutes §288-8
set out different penalties for driving without insurance based on your status as an offender. Your first offense will result in a $500 fine or 75 to 100 hours of community service, plus a three-month license suspension and SR-22 filing requirement
Filing an
SR-22 in Hawaii
might require you to switch insurers, as not all insurance companies are willing to cover high-risk drivers (and those that do won't be cheap).
Depending on how many offenses you have committed in the past, you could face a:
  • $1,500 fine (or more) or 200 to 275 hours of community service
  • One-year driver’s license suspension
  • 30-day jail sentence
  • One-year vehicle registration suspension
  • Three-year SR-22 filing requirement
Driving without insurance is a crime and these penalties still apply even if you weren't at fault for the accident.

What if I’m underinsured?

When you're underinsured, your policy limits don't fully cover the other person's damages. It could be that you chose minimum coverage limits or that their damages were quite severe—regardless, you haven't broken any laws, so you won't face any penalties. 
You still have a chance of being sued by the other driver, but it depends on which of you is at fault.
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What happens if you’re not at fault for a car accident in Hawaii?

“Fault” refers to the degree of negligence shown by a particular person or how much blame they hold for causing an accident. If you’re more than 50% at fault in a car accident, you’re responsible for paying for damages.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Hawaii?

Either an insurance claims adjuster or a court decides fault in a car accident in Hawaii. An insurance claim falls under the jurisdiction of a claims adjuster, who’ll sift through the evidence and decide whether or not the claim is valid. In a personal injury lawsuit, the court will determine whether the plaintiff should receive damages based on the evidence. 
In both cases, evidence is crucial to determining fault. That’s why it’s so important to record your observations after an accident—it’s a chance for you to tell your side of the story.

What if you’re at fault?

Because Hawaii is a modified comparative negligence state, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you’re deemed 51% or more negligent for the accident. Under certain circumstances, the not-at-fault driver may be able to sue you.
So what does "your portion of the other driver's damages" mean? As
HRS §663-31
states, any damages paid will be “diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence” shown by the person claiming them. In other words, the other driver's damages can be reduced by the amount of blame they carry.
Imagine that you get into a car accident and the other driver suffers $10,000 in damages. The other driver can’t file an insurance claim because you’re uninsured, so they file a lawsuit instead. The court will award the other driver $6,000 if you're found 60% at fault, or $7,000 for 70%, and so on.
If you don't have insurance, you'll be responsible for paying these damages on your own.

What if you’re not at fault?

The good news is that you’re not responsible for any damages if you're 50% or less at fault in an accident.
The bad news is that it might be difficult to get your bills paid. You'll need to
file an insurance claim
with the other driver's insurance company, but they might be reluctant to fulfill it because you’re uninsured. Without your own PIP coverage, you’re placing more of a financial burden on them. 
Give your case the best chance by submitting as many relevant documents as you can, like notes, witness statements, police reports, photos, and more. 

What if an uninsured driver hits you in Hawaii?

If the other driver is also uninsured, there’s not much you can do. In the absence of an insurance company, neither of you can file a claim. And if your injuries aren’t severe enough to qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, you'll be on your own.

Can I sue or be sued after a car accident in Hawaii?

Before you or anyone else can file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in Hawaii, your case has to meet one of these requirements:
  • You or one of your passengers was killed
  • You or one of your passengers was
    severely or permanently injured
  • Your medical expenses exceed your PIP coverage limits
After an accident, you’ve got two years to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If someone died, the statute of limitations extends to two years after the date of death. Before going to court, you should file an insurance claim with the other driver's insurance company.
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