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Frequently Asked Questions for an Injury Attorney in Honolulu

If you are considering talking to an injury attorney in Honolulu, you likely have many questions about your legal rights and options at this time. Shim & Chang provides the following answers to some frequently asked questions about hiring an attorney, dealing with insurance companies, and pursuing recovery for your damages.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, we invite you to contact our offices for a free initial consultation to learn more about our services.

I’ve been in an accident, but how do I know if I have a case?

At Shim & Chang, our attorneys in Honolulu will talk with you on the phone, in person, or communicate by e-mail to discuss whether you have a case. Many factors determine the type and amount of compensation you will be able to recover from insurance companies and at-fault parties, making it difficult to speculate about potential claims without knowing the details of an accident. Contact our offices today to talk about the facts in your case and your options for recovery.

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What evidence should I save after an accident?

It is very important to take photos of the scene of your auto accident, your vehicle, and your injuries. If you contact us shortly after your accident, we can do this for you. Save your footwear if your injuries resulted from a slip and fall. If you have not yet reported your accident to the premises owner, police, your insurance company, or other appropriate party, let us do it for you.

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Do you charge for a consultation?

The answer is “NO.” We do not charge you just to talk about your case or to answer your questions. There is no risk to you for simply scheduling a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Honolulu personal injury attorneys.

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How do you get paid?

We only get paid if we obtain a recovery for you. When we recover, our fees are based on a percentage of the total amount of compensation you receive at the conclusion of your case. If we are not able to achieve a recovery for you, you do not pay us for our services.

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Do I have to give you a retainer fee?

The answer is “NO.” To help our clients, we advance the necessary costs for legal representation and only get reimbursed if a recovery is made. Costs are amounts we must pay in order to pursue your claim, such as filing fees, copying charges, and the like.

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Do I need a lawyer?

This is another question that is difficult to answer without knowing the facts of your case. Some people may not need a lawyer, but that is the rare exception. Because we do not charge for an initial consultation, you have nothing to lose by calling us, but you may have everything to lose if you do not talk to a Hawaii law firm.

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When should I retain a lawyer?

You should retain a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been involved in an accident or sustained an injury. The party responsible for your injury already has a lawyer if they are insured, and you will be at a disadvantage if you do not have a lawyer or if you try to handle matters by yourself. If you wait too long to seek legal representation, valuable evidence could be lost, or you may miss the time within which the law allows you to file a claim or lawsuit.

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What if I feel uncomfortable about suing someone?

Most clients have reservations about suing another person, especially if they have never been involved in a lawsuit before. We can explain the process to you, so that you are comfortable asserting your rights. If you have been injured and you have suffered some out-of-pocket losses, you are being victimized again if you do not make a claim for compensation. In the great majority of cases, you only deal with an insurance carrier and not the person who injured you.

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What if I do not want to go to court?

Most cases do not go to court or require a trial, as they are simply resolved with the other side’s insurance carrier. If we do go to court, however, we will prepare you for the process and be with you the entire time. Our decades of trial experience will guide you through the legal process, step by step.

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Should I talk to the other side’s insurance company?

Absolutely not! Always remember that the other side’s insurance carrier is definitely not “on your side,” no matter what an insurance adjuster may promise you. Do not talk to any insurance company representatives without your own legal counsel.

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The insurance company told me that someone would call me, but no one has. What should I do?

Many insurance companies will not call you because they hope you will not go through the effort of hiring an attorney. If you are hurt, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to make the call for you.

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The other side’s insurance company is rude, uncaring, and makes the accident seem like it was my entire fault. What can I do about it?

By hiring a lawyer immediately, you can avoid dealing with insurance companies and their representatives. They are motivated to protect their insured’s interests and by saving money for their company. They are not there to help you. Our attorneys can speak for you and look out for your best interests. You cannot trust that anyone at an insurance company will.

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The person who caused my accident never even said they were sorry for hurting me. Why are they like this to me?

Some people are told to not say they are sorry by their attorney or insurance company because it becomes an admission of fault. It is not a reflection on you. Most people are concerned about getting sued and therefore will not admit anything. Rather than words, compensation for your injuries is the other side’s acknowledgment of responsibility for your accident. We can help you obtain fair and reasonable compensation.

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If I do not have any medical insurance, who pays for my medical care?

Depending upon your type of accident, some medical insurance may be available to you even if you do not have your own insurance. However, you need to contact us to discuss your case before we can meaningfully answer this question.

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Are you conveniently located?

Our offices are centrally located in downtown Honolulu, near the courts and other government offices. We also have validated parking in our building, which saves you from having to find on-street parking.

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What if I physically cannot come to your office?

We will meet clients at the hospital, at their homes, or at a mutually comfortable place if you physically cannot come to our offices.  We feel, however, that meeting at our offices is preferable, as we can better explain your case and the legal process to you in an environment designed for providing legal services, but special accommodations are possible.

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Why should I retain your law firm?

You should select a lawyer whom you feel is competent, caring, relatable, and easy to talk to. Please contact an attorney at Shim & Chang and judge for yourself whether you are comfortable entrusting your case to us.

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  • "Shim & Chang were committed to helping my son no matter how long it took. They got the settlement we needed to take care of him for the rest of his life."

Verdicts & Results

The Estate of Mark Tokuyama v. City and County of Honolulu Jury awarded $953,114.57, which at the time was the highest award ever for a drowning case.

  • Death of a mother due to a hospital error

    $7 Million medical malpractice settlement.

  • Brain injury suffered by a teenager in a motor vehicle crash

    $6.5 Million settlement.

Reviews and Ratings
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Roy K. S. Chang Attorney Photo
Roy K. S. Chang

With more than 30 years of practical and trial experience handling all types of personal injury cases, Roy K. S. Chang has molded Shim & Chang into a highly creative and innovative law firm that honors the Hawaiian spirit of aloha. He has achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the national directory of attorneys, indicating…

Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos Attorney Photo
Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos

With his unique name and background, Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos' character and experience have greatly added to the creative and innovative approach of Shim & Chang. He has been with the firm since 1996, exclusively handling personal injury cases. Raised in Honolulu, Harvey graduated from Kaimuki High School and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa…

 Attorney Photo

Alvin Tong Shim, Founder of Shim & Chang In Memoriam of Alvin Tong Shim, November 10, 1923 - June 24, 2006 The Spirit of Aloha Born in Wailuku, Maui on November 10, 1923, Alvin Tong Shim was the second child and first son of Henry and Helen Shim. As a young boy, he earned money…

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