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The following articles are articles of interest in the personal injury and accident field. Some may show similarity to your situation, but each case is individual and must be evaluated on its own facts. Please feel free to peruse these articles.

For older archived news items please review this page: Archived News Items - Hawaii Accident News

In Muniz v. UPS (9th Cir., Dec 2013), a case under a statute awarding attorneys fees and costs to the prevailing party, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court award of attorneys fees and costs which was 26x the damages awarded by the jury. Decisions like this one should help to deter the time-wasting shotgun litigation tactics of insurers under such statutes (such as HRS section HRS 431:10-242). A pdf of the case can be found here: Muniz v. UPS, attorneys fees of 26x damages awarded

In Dorn v. Burlington N. Santa Fe R.R., No. 03-35071 (9th Cir. Feb. 7, 2005), the the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that hedonic damages testimony by economic experts in personal injury cases is admissible in Federal Court.

Two Hawaii Circuit Court Judges have found that auto PIP insurers who unilaterally pick a defense medical examiner (IME) for a medical records review violate H.R.S. 431:10C-308.5, which requires that a medical reviewer (so-called IME doctor) be chosen by agreement or by a neutral forum in PIP cases. Benefit denials based upon such medical reports are improper and invalid.

Our Hawaii doctors and medical providers have prevailed in the case of Orthopedic Associates v. HIG (Haw. Sup. Ct. 12-7-05). In that case the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that many auto insurers have failed to comply with statutory denial and notice requirements when they "down-coded" tens of thousands of medical bills owed to doctors for treatment arising out of motor vehicle accidents.

A consumer group which watches the insurance industry has determined that insurance companies padded their losses by 50% or so when reporting them to state regulators - conduct calculated to gain regulatory approval for excessively hiking malpractice premiums. During a 9 year study from 1986 to 1994 the industry reported to regulators losses of $39.6 billion but actually paid only $26.7 billion. The losses were overstated by approximately 50% over the nine year period.

A Hawaii man was awarded $16M in a failed seatbelt case - Friday, December 23, 2005. In the case of Udac v. Takata Corp - a Big Island jury has awarded a 26-year-old Naalehu man, who is now a paraplegic, more than $16 million in connection with a single-car accident in 2000 against the manufacturer of a defective seatbelt.

A South Dakota court awarded $65,000 in compensatory damages and $ 5,000,000 in punative damages against an employer involved in wrongfully disputing a worker's compensation claim In the case of Hubbard v. Hills Materials - Ron Hubbard, a construction laborer, needed $5,998 in medical treatment for carpal tunnel injuries brought on by his work. When the smoke cleared the employer was ordered to pay a $5.0 million penalty for wrongfully stonewalling his Worker's Comp claim.

Dominic Peressini, age 39, is a former University of Colorado math professor who was recently awarded $3.0 million awarded for insurer bad faith. Under his insurer's business plan, Dominic Peressini's brain injuries, mangled arm and post-accident memory and cognitive problems were too expensive - so they were rejected. After years of struggle through the courts, in November 2005 Mr. Peressini was awarded nearly $3 million because the disability insurer should have placed its obligations to its policyholders above its own profit goals.

Three mainland Abuse of Process cases have addressed the situation where insurance carriers have used the expenses and delay of litigation to drive plaintiffs/claimants into the ground. This is a common insurance company tactic here in Hawaii as well as on the mainland. For more information please visit the Hawaii Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer - Attorney page and scroll down to the lower part of that page to the section entitled "Insurance Company Bad Faith in Hawaii".

Experts at Children's Hospital in Boston have reported that when the cerebrum is injured in an infant, the cerebellum may fail to grow to a normal size - which can have a major impact on development of motor coordination, behavior and even cognition. The two structures appear to modulate each other's growth and development in the infant.

Boilerplate Discovery Responses may be Dangerous in the 9th Circuit. In the case of Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company v. United States District Court for the District of Montana, 408 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 2005) the Ninth Circuit held that boilerplate objections for blanket refusals inserted into a response to a Rule 34 request for production of documents are insufficient to assert a privilege.

Insurers who insist on using biased medical examiners in an effort to routinely deny insurance benefits to injured people may want to consider Hangarter v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., 373 F.3d 998, 1010-1011 (9th Cir. 2004). In that case the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Provident repeated use of the same medical examiner constituted evidence of bad faith on the part of the carrier and may give rise to an action for bad faith against the insurance carrier.

In the case of WILSON v. AIG, October 28, 1998, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that under Hawaii's no-fault (PIP) law - in most cases only the medical provider (and not the patient) can bring an action against the insurer to compel non-payment of the medical bills. This case needs to be reversed by legislation so that insureds can enforce the policy that they bought!

Since 2000 we have had some of the deadliest car accidents in Hawaii's history:

* March 1, 2005: Two people were killed and one critically injured in a two-vehicle collision on Kunia Road near the Hawaii Country Club.

* May 26, 2004: A Japanese tourist was killed and seven other people injured, one critically, when a pickup truck drove onto the sidewalk in Waikiki along Kalakaua Avenue near Kaiulani Avenue and slammed into a crowd of people near the Moana Surf Rider Hotel.

* February 13, 2004: Four people were killed and two others injured when two cars involved in a street race slammed into the rear of a flat-bed truck preparing the zipper lane on H1 Freeway.

* December 10, 2003: Four young people - ages 18 to 24 - died in a two-car crash resulting from a street race on Farrington Highway in Makaha.

* March 18, 2003: Five males, ages 13 to 37, were killed about 1:30 a.m. on Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa when their car hit a tree while speeding.

Pacific Business News - Thursday 9/23/2005 News of the 18.2% drop in WC claims costs in the reporting period for 2003 (reported on Thursday 9/23/2005 by the Pacific Business News) - totally contradicts the entire gutting of WC system that the Abercrombie administration, the DCD and the LIRB have tried to railroad through our state. It shows that this poorly conceived so-called "Work Comp Reform" was not needed to keep the system viable and was actually a political payoff thrown to big business and insurance companies (at the expense of the average working person in the state of Hawaii). Politics can be ugly.

Wrongful death lawsuits target Taser stun gun use - Thursday, Oct. 7 2005 - Las Vegas Review-Journal - In Nevada a multimillion-dollar lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Las Vegas family whose son died after police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him. The stun gun was manufactured by Taser International. This action is likely to be followed by many more as the dangers with such stun guns appear to far exceed the representations made by the manufacturers of such stun guns.

Merck's Vioxx and related New England Journal of Medicine articles Has Merck & Co.'s Vioxx been properly described in New England Journal of Medicine articles or has yet another medical industry-backed study suppressed the whole truth?

Costco Wholesale case resolves Jim Krueger's large judgment on Maui against Costco Wholesale is finally resolved, July, 2005

Wisconsin Med Mal Cap Unconstitutional Wisconsin's cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases is held unconstitutional by the highest court in Wisconsin, July, 2005

Expert testimony on hedonic damages The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addresses the exclusion by a U.S. District Court in Montana of expert witness testimony from a defense expert on hedonic damages (loss of enjoyment of life damages), Feb. 7, 2005

Two teens in hospital following hit and run on McCully By Dan Nakaso, Sunday, March 6, 2005
Advertiser Staff Writer

The "McDonald's Coffee Case" And Other Fictions -undated- from the American Center for Justice and Democracy

Review of court records shows no dramatic increase in civil lawsuits By Tallahassee Democrat- Fri, Mar. 25, 2005

Kaimuki House Fire Leaves 2 Women Dead -March 24, 2005 from KITV

Houston, Texas- oil refinery blast death toll- March 24, 2005 By AP, AFP, March 24, 2005 from

An Analysis of Fatal Large Truck Crashes By the US Dept of Transportation- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
National Center for Statistics and Analysis- June 2003

Do it yourself Tort Reform for medical treatment (for those parents who support so-called Tort Reform) from

Kaiser's liability challenged for drug's role in Jerry Wilson's auto accident with youth pedestrian in downtown Honolulu By Rod Ohira- Star Bulletin, March 8, 2000

Cellular Phone Radiation: Appeals Court To Hear Oral Argument In Health Suit Sept. 26, 2003 by Jeffrey Silva, Aug. 20, 2003

Brain injuries, the "silent epidemic" by December 7, 2004

Annual Report of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution State of Hawaii - Judiciary, June 20, 2004

Slain rampaging elephant- Tyke- left tenuous legacy in animal rights and people's lives . (2004-08-20)

Closing roads after accidents routine
(Discusses H1 Freeway closures for accident investigation)
By Peter Boylan, February 13, 2005
Advertiser Staff Writer

Resolving insurance hassles trumps tort reform on Oklahoma medical association agenda by the Associated Press / January 19, 2005 from

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Some accidents happen and the victims don't know who hit them. In such cases, a negligent driver can sometimes be found through law enforcement, video cameras, and investigation. See, Woman Settles for $3 Million After Being Run Over by School Bus. In addition, in other cases, the injured parties may be able to pursue insurance coverages that are designed to fill in such gaps - such as Uninsured Motorist Insurance and/or Underinsured Motorist Insurance.

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