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Can a small mistake bar a personal injury lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Personal Injury

Someone hurt in a car crash or while visiting a business may want to hold the negligent party that caused their harm accountable. Someone who doesn’t properly maintain a building or follow traffic laws could cause serious injuries and property damage losses for others.

Oftentimes, motorists and property owners in Hawaii have insurance that can help cover some expenses when people get hurt. However, insurance limits may leave people without adequate compensation. People may then turn to the civil courts. Personal injury lawsuits allow people to recover financial losses caused by other people, businesses and entities.

When is a personal injury lawsuit possible?

So long as there is clear evidence of either negligence or misconduct, someone coping with injuries and expenses after an incident could potentially file a lawsuit. However, fault for injuries incidents can often be complex. It is possible that the plaintiff may have contributed to the incident. Perhaps the floor at a store was wet but they also ran while in the business. Maybe another driver didn’t stop at a red light but the person filing the lawsuit didn’t use a turn signal. Do small mistakes that contribute to injuries prevent people from suing in Hawaii?

Contributory negligence does not prevent a lawsuit

The term contributory negligence refers to how one party might contribute to an unfortunate incident without actually causing it outright. In Hawaii, the defendant responding to a personal injury lawsuit can claim that the other party was at least partially to blame for the incident as part of their defense strategy. The courts can then allocate a portion of responsibility to each party. So long as the courts determine that the plaintiff has less than 51% of the responsibility for the incident, they can potentially proceed with their lawsuit. If the courts award them compensation, their contributions to the incident might lead to a reduction in the final compensation that they receive.

Overall, it is still theoretically possible to take legal action and secure economic justice after a crash for which an individual has partial responsibility. Those who understand Hawaii’s personal injury laws can mitigate the expenses generated by a car crash or similar incident. Reviewing the situation that led to an injury with a skilled legal team could help someone determine whether comparative negligence might limit their ability to sue or what they’re able to recover. Those who have grounds to take legal action successfully can offset lost wages, medical expenses and other losses related to a recent injurious incident.