Wrongful Death Claims Hawaii
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
For those who are unsure what constitutes a
wrongful death claim,
this is simply a personal injury claim in which the victim is not only
injured, but actually dies as a result of the accident. In many
cases, the representatives of the victim of a wrongful death
may still be able to pursue the injury claims of the victim- even
though the victim is no longer available to seek the compensation
for his/her losses or those of his/her family directly.
Under "common law" (the general legal principles passed from England to the United States
over hundreds of years ago) this type of claim did not exist. It was reasoned
that the claim died with the victim, and the surviving family members could
not claim damages from the person who caused the victim's death. To correct
this injustice, the individual states have passed "wrongful death statutes" over
the years, and some form of wrongful death claim action exists in all state
jurisdictions today, including Hawaii. While they
all follow some general principles, each state jurisdiction is different, since each
state has drafted its unique form of "wrongful death statute."
The Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim
deadline for filing most wrongful death claims in
court in Hawaii is two (2) years from the date when (a) the
victim was exposed to the danger and (b) SOME injuries resulted
therefrom. The time is NOT measured as two years from when
the death occurs. It should be noted, however, that there are
exceptions to this rule- for example, claims
against the City and County of Honolulu and
the various other Counties must be filed with the appropriate agency
within six (6) months of the date of the accident.
You must file your claims in
court prior to the expiration of such deadlines, or your
claims may be lost—regardless of their merit.
To be wise it is recommended that you immediately contact an attorney
after an accident giving rise to injuries occurs- please do not
hesitate to :
Contact Injury Lawyer Hawaii now
for a free evaluation of your case.
Wrongful Death Claim Information
A wrongful death is a devastating event, yet the families of the wrongful
death victim sometimes feel that pursing legal action will only increase their feelings of
distress. Some families also do not immediately realize the impact that a wrongful
death can have on their lives. A reputable and experienced wrongful death attorney
understands the delicacy of the situation
and will try to resolve the wrongful death claim as quickly as possible
in a sensitive, tactful manner.
Wrongful death suits can recover the expenses associated with the wrongful death itself,
in addition to the economic loss of salary and benefits and increased household
expenses, and the general damages, such as limitations, loss of enjoyment of life,
pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other factors that will increase burden on
the family already suffering a grave loss. Since all wrongful death suits will differ,
an experienced wrongful death attorney will properly assist you in determining
the losses experienced by the estate of
the wrongful death victim and by each individual wrongful death survivor.
It is important to understand a wrongful death suit can be a lengthy process,
however, by retaining an expert wrongful death attorney the matter is likely to
proceed quickly and along the way the wrongful death survivors will treated sensitively and represented capably.
A qualified wrongful death attorney has the resources and knowledge
necessary to expedite this type of claim in a prompt and successful manner.
While no amount of money can replace a wrongful death victim,
financial losses suffered because of someone else's negligence
can often be reduced or avoided.
Wrongful Death Cases in Hawaii
LEALAIMATAFAO v. WOODWARD-CLYDE CONSULTANTS, February 11, 1994
The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that a significant other of 19 years and a hanai
child can have wrongful death rights as one "dependent" upon the decedent- even
if not legally related nor even receiving financial support- a "relational" basis of
dependency is sufficient. Moreover, for those who qualify- loss of companionship,
love and affection is recoverable as well as pecuniary loss.
(See also BOULEY v. LONG BEACH MEM'L, No B168667 (Cal. 2d App. Dist. March 15,
2005) holding that in California a domestic partner has standing to sue
for wrongful death (even though the California statute was not amended to allow such
suits until after the decedent had passed away).)
OZAKI v. AOAO DISCOVERY BAY, JANUARY 22, 1998
The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals holds that loss of enjoyment of life damages are
recoverable in a wrongful death action in Hawaii.