Hawaii Car Accident Laws

If you get into a car accident in the Aloha State, you’ll need to know Hawaii’s car accident laws to file a report or claim damages.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you get into a car accident in Hawaii, you must immediately report the accident to the police if the collision resulted in the injury or death of any person involved or total property damage of $3,000 or more, according to state law.  
Car accidents are no fun, to say the least. And the last thing you probably want to do is fill out an accident report after such an upsetting event. But it’s essential to know your state’s car accident laws so you’re not taken completely by surprise if you get in a wreck. 
Here to help guide you through Hawaii car accident laws is
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What to do after a crash: Hawaii car accident reporting laws

If you get into a car accident
, the very first thing you should do is ensure that all parties involved are safe. Move your vehicle off the road to a secure location and if any person (driver, passenger, or pedestrian) is injured, call 911 right away. It’s also vital to document the accident scene, including photographic evidence, and don’t forget to swap insurance information with the other driver as well—you are not allowed to leave the scene until you’ve given your personal information to the other parties and law enforcement involved.  
After you’ve completed all the necessary steps and left the scene, you must report the accident at least twice: 
  • To your insurance company 
  • To the police
Let’s dive into Hawaii car accident laws that deal with reporting accidents. 

When to report an accident to the police

If you’re involved in an accident that causes any injury, death, or total property damage of $3,000 or more, Hawaii law requires that you report it to the police immediately.
Section 29C-16
of the Hawaii Revised Statutes goes over the specifics: 
  • A responding police officer will file a written report “if it appears at the time that the collision has resulted in the injury or death of any person, or total damage to all property to an apparent extent of $3,000 or more.”
  • If the driver of a vehicle is physically unable to provide immediate notice of the accident but there was another capable passenger in the vehicle at the time of the collision, the passenger must fill the report in lieu of the driver.

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Hawaii’s insurance laws

Now that you’ve reported the accident to law enforcement, let’s take a closer look at car insurance. What coverage does Hawaii law require, and what are the penalties if you’re involved in an accident without proper coverage? 
All drivers in Hawaii must exhibit financial responsibility for their vehicles. In order to meet this requirement, you have to
buy car insurance
. Under Hawaii law, all motorists must possess
a minimum of 20/40/10 liability insurance
, or: 
Hawaii is also a
no-fault state
, meaning Hawaii drivers are also required to have
Personal injury protection (PIP)
to cover their own medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Hawaii’s mandated limit for PIP is $10,000 per person
If you’re caught without the minimum insurance coverage in Hawaii, you may receive a fine of up to $500 or 75 to 100 hours of community service (in lieu of a fine) for a first offense. But the penalties only go up from there for repeat offenses, including $1,500 to $5,000 in fees. Not having proper coverage can also affect your ability to claim damages through a personal injury lawsuit. 
And unfortunately, not every driver carries car insurance in Hawaii. A 2019
Insurance Information Institute (III)
study found that about 9.3% of Hawaii drivers are uninsured.
This is precisely why it’s always a good idea to purchase
uninsured motorist coverage
, even though Hawaii law does not require it. If you’re part of the 90.7% of drivers who are insured, you may have difficulties claiming damages if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver. 
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Claiming damages after an accident: Hawaii’s personal injury laws

Even though Hawaii is a no-fault state, depending on the circumstances, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages from the other driver if:
  • The accident resulted in the death of someone
  • You are suffering a severe or permanent injury
  • The medical bills paid for by your no-fault insurance coverage surpass your PIP limit
Section 657-7
of the Hawaii Revised Statutes sets a two-year statute of limitations or a filing deadline on personal injury lawsuits resulting from a car accident. The same two-year deadline applies if you want to file a lawsuit over damages or a total loss of a vehicle

Exceptions to Hawaii’s personal injury laws

There are a couple of instances where the statute of limitations in Hawaii may be extended past the usual deadline in the following cases: 
  • If the accident victim is incapacitated
  • If the ​​accident victim was a minor
For car accident victims that are incapacitated, you have two years from the time of your recovery to file a personal injury claim. Meanwhile, minors have two years from their 18th birthday to file a claim. 

Who’s to blame: Hawaii’s modified comparative negligence law

Following a car accident, the major question on most drivers' minds would be: who is at fault? If Tom hits Christina’s car while speeding, but Christina got distracted while driving by looking at her cell phone, who’s to blame? And who is able to collect damages in this situation?
Section 663-31
of Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Aloha State practices a modified
comparative negligence law
, meaning you can recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit unless you are found to be more than 51% at fault for the accident. So, in this case, both Tom and Christina may be able to claim damages.
Obviously, both Tom and Christina were violating traffic laws, so neither driver is 100% at fault. But even if Christina is found to be 40% at fault, that means Tom would be 60% at fault and therefore would be the one to cover Christina’s damages. But if both parties are each 50% at fault, both Tom and Christina must pay 50% of each other's damage. 

How to save money on car insurance in Hawaii

If you get in a car accident in Hawaii,
your insurance rates may go up
by 35% to 80%. This would make most drivers feel hopeless when trying to find cheap car insurance. That’s why
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