Wrongful Death Attorney Maui
Losing a loved one can be a devastating experience. The devastation can be made much worse when your loved one was taken from you because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or malicious conduct. When you believe another person or business was responsible for your loved one’s death, call a Maui wrongful death attorney with significant experience in wrongful death cases.
When a person’s death is the result of another individual’s actions, it may amount to a crime.
Whether or not someone is charged with a crime, however, depends on a police investigation and the prosecutor’s discretion. It is not up to you or your family.
Whether or not your relative’s death is prosecuted as a crime, your family and the relative’s estate may have the right to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit and obtain compensation from the person or entity that is responsible for the death.
Contact our law offices today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced trial lawyers, handle claims involving the loss of life in all parts of Maui, including Wailuku, Kahului, Kihei, and Lahaina, and all of the neighbor Islands. If you become our client, we will fight hard for you to receive full and fair compensation for your losses.
We Handle a Wide Range of Wrongful Death Claims in Maui, Hawaii
Our wrongful death attorneys in Maui accept cases involving:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Moped and Scooter Accidents
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
- Nursing Home Neglect and Elder Abuse
- Medical Malpractice
- Vacation Accidents
- Premises Liability
Whether your loved one lost their lives in a traffic accident or because of medical negligence in Maui, we want to protect your rights and fight for your full and fair compensation. In Hawaii, you generally have two years following the death of a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you do not want to wait that long. It is always better to get started as soon as possible so that all evidence is preserved.
As a first step, you should have an experienced Maui wrongful death lawyer investigate the incident, gather evidence, and analyze your family’s right to full compensation. An experienced lawyer’s analysis of your claim ensures you can move forward against all of the responsible parties with a realistic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the possible outcomes.
Hawaii Wrongful Death Law
Hawaii’s wrongful death law is found in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) Section 663-3.
When an individual’s death is caused by another party’s wrongful act, neglect, or failure to act, then the deceased individual’s legal representative or certain family members can file an action against that party. The legal representative can recover compensation for certain family members and the decedent’s estate, including reasonable expenses associated with the decedent’s injuries and burial.
Also, if your loved one did not pass away immediately after the accident, then they had a personal injury claim against the negligent party. This claim survives their death and can be continued by your family or the estate. This survival claim for money damages is distinct from a wrongful death claim.
Who May Receive Compensation in Maui, Hawaii
Maui, HI law allows wrongful death compensation to be distributed to:
- A surviving spouse;
- A reciprocal beneficiary;
- Parents; and
- Any person wholly or partly dependent upon the decedent.
Reciprocal beneficiaries are two adults who enter into a reciprocal beneficiary relationship as defined in HRS Section 572C-4. To be part of a reciprocal beneficiary relationship, the parties must:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Not married, part of a civil union, or part of another reciprocal beneficiary relationship;
- Legally prohibited from marrying one another;
- Have consented to the relationship without force, duress, or fraud; and
- Signed a declaration of the reciprocal beneficiary relationship.
Under this law, those who cannot marry in Hawaii can enter into this type of arrangement to enjoy certain legal benefits. Examples of reciprocal beneficiary relationships include between aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews, widowed parents and their adult children, and adult siblings.
Wrongful Death Compensation
Hawaii’s wrongful death law states that surviving family members, dependents, and the estate can pursue fair and just compensation for their pecuniary injuries and their loss of love and affection.
Your pecuniary injuries include financial injuries and losses to the estate as well as the decedent’s lost future earnings. This can also encompass medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and past lost wages.
Your non-economic injuries and damages include:
- Loss of your loved one’s society, companionship, comfort, consortium, and protection;
- Loss of marital care, attention, advice, and counsel;
- Loss of care, attention, advice, or counsel of a reciprocal beneficiary;
- Loss of filial care or attention; or
- Loss of parental care, training, guidance, or education.
If your family agrees to a settlement, then the individuals entitled to compensate may agree upon how much each person receives. However, if a judge or jury decides the case, then the judge or jury will allocate the compensation to the surviving family members, dependents, or the estate.
You Only Have 2 Years to File
Any action brought under Hawaii’s wrongful death law must commence within two years from the date of your relative’s death. This is known as a statute of limitations.
In some circumstances, the Discovery Rule may apply. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until you know or reasonably should have known of the wrongful death cause of action. In other words, you may have longer to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you were not aware at the time of your loved one’s death that another person or business was to blame.
Talk with our law offices as soon as possible regarding how long you have to file a wrongful death case, and if you have longer than the traditional two-year statute of limitations.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death in Maui?
Under Hawaii law, death is considered wrongful when it is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of any person. Under the law, a representative of the decedent’s estate, and certain family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims may be filed as a result of car accidents, medical negligence, slip and falls, and other types of wrongful acts and negligence.
There is a 2 year time period, known as the statute of limitations, by which you must file a wrongful death claim. While it may be difficult to think about a lawsuit while you are mourning the loss of a family member, consulting with an experienced Maui wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after their passing can help protect your rights.
Who Has the Right to Sue for a Wrongful Death?
In many ways, a wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury lawsuit. However, in a wrongful death claim, the person who died (decedent) cannot file a lawsuit. Instead, the decedent’s estate and his or her surviving family member can file a lawsuit for their injuries, losses, and damages.
In Hawaii, only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes the following people:
- The surviving spouse
- A reciprocal beneficiary
- Children of the decedent
- Any person wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person
In a wrongful death claim, the survivors may seek compensation for their financial loss as well as the loss of love, care, advice, attention, guidance, and affection that they have suffered as a result of the wrongful death.
What If My Loved One Signed a Waiver of Liability Before They Passed Away?
A waiver of liability is an agreement between two or more people, where one party gives up its rights to sue the other party. You may be asked to sign this type of waiver before engaging in certain activities, like a zip line ride or a trampoline park.
If your loved one signed a waiver of liability before engaging in an activity that led to their death, it may affect your ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are a number of ways that a skilled Maui wrongful death attorney can challenge these waivers. For this reason, it is important to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer before assuming that you won’t be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Much Is a Typical Maui Wrongful Death Settlement?
A settlement in a wrongful death case may vary considerably based on the facts of a particular case. There are a number of factors that may affect the value of a wrongful death claim, including:
- The age and health of the deceased person
- The needs of the surviving dependents
- The closeness of the family relationships
- Whether the decedent experienced pain and suffering before death
- Medical expenses for the victim
- Burial expenses
- Future financial support that the deceased person would have provided
- Whether the fault is clear or excessive in the case
A seasoned Maui wrongful death attorney can listen to your story and offer insight into your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim. During a free consultation, they may also be able to provide you with a ballpark figure as the potential value of your claim.
Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Maui Today
When your loved one’s death is the result of another person’s wrongful actions, you do not simply have to accept it. The law may give you and your family an avenue to hold the at-fault parties responsible. Gain legal advice from an experienced Maui wrongful death attorney at Menzer Law Firm today. We represent families on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, and all the neighbor Islands.
Matt Menzer and his team at Menzer Law Firm have decades of experience successfully litigating wrongful death claims in Hawaii.
Contact Menzer Law Firm in Maui at 808-400-3726 or through our online form. We offer free initial consultations. We handle most wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis which means that we only receive a fee when we successfully obtain compensation for the estate and/or the family’s wrongful death injuries and damages.