Visitor Question

Is Hawaii a “modified comparative fault state”?

Submitted By: Samuel (Maui, Hawaii)

I live in the state of Hawaii. I had a slip and fall in Walmart due to a wet spot on the floor inside the store. I filed a report with the store and had a witness submit a statement as to what he saw happened. I was then contacted by the store’s insurance company and informed that they would pay for all my medical bills and give me a $1000.00 settlement.

I tried negotiating with the insurance company for a larger settlement ($5000.00) for my months of pain and suffering while seeking medical treatment. All they would offer me was $2500.00 and payment of all my medical bills.

Per the insurance company, I live in a “modified comparative insurance state” and that both parties are assessed fault. The insurance company also stated that there was sign (a small orange dome cone on the floor were I fell) according to camera photos from the store. But where I fell, I had already walked past the sign when I slipped and fell.

Is there anything I can do about this? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Samuel,

The State of Hawaii is a Modified Comparative Negligence State. This means a person  (victim) who is injured by the negligence of a third party may recover compensation from that third party even if the victim contributed to his or her own injuries.

Under Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) §663-31, a victim injured by the negligence of a third party may recover compensation as long as the victim’s percentage of fault does not exceed 50%. If the victim’s percentage of fault is determined to be 51% or higher, the victim is wholly barred from recovering compensation from the at-fault party.

By implication, Hawaii’s Modified Comparative negligence statute covers slip and fall injuries. It appears Walmart’s insurance company is taking the position that the cone placed near the wet area was a sufficient warning to you to keep away from the area, and that you ignored the warning. Or perhaps the wet area may have exceeded the area in which the cone was placed, but you still should have been careful to avoid the wet area anyway.

Without knowing the extent of your injuries and resulting medical bills, it is impossible to tell you if the insurance company’s offer is fair. Regardless, you should get a local personal injury attorney to review the details of your claim.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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