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Auto Accidents

Honolulu Attorneys Represent Victims of Auto Accidents

Respected law firm strives for exceptional service and results

The Honolulu car accident attorneys at Shim & Chang, Attorneys at Law have represented hundreds of auto accident victims in Hawaii over decades of practice. We have the experience and resources to handle even the most serious and challenging auto accident cases, often taking on cases that demand extensive preparation, research, and creativity to achieve a fair recovery. We cut no corners when investigating and building a claim for compensation. We often consult experts to reconstruct the accident, biomechanics to tell us if there are any defects in the vehicle, and highway traffic engineers to search for hazardous conditions in the road or roadside. As a law firm that takes pride in thoroughness and results, we explore every avenue of recovery available to our clients.


Determining fault in a motor vehicle accident

Hawaii is a no-fault state for auto accidents, so your first recourse for compensation is your own auto insurance’s personal injury protection. In many cases, this only requires you to file a claim with your own insurer. However, insurance companies are often reticent about paying full value for a claim, so many injured parties wind up hiring a lawyer to negotiate with their own insurance company.

Importantly, a serious injury can easily exceed the levels of your policy’s personal injury protection. Fortunately, you do have the right to sue a negligent driver for severe and permanent injuries. However, in such a case, you must be able to prove another party was negligent and caused the accident. You must also be able to defend yourself from allegations that you were at fault, because Hawaii’s comparative negligence law can reduce your recovery or bar you from asserting a claim. Proving fault and protecting you from comparative negligence claims are two areas where an experienced attorney can be of great help.

Additionally, many accidents involve irresponsible or intoxicated drivers who have either no insurance or very little. As a result, we have learned to look elsewhere for other liable parties and sources of recovery, for example:

  • Auto part defects — In past cases, we have sued and collected against major automobile manufacturers for defective steering columns that did not collapse during collision. We have also been successful against manufacturers of defective seat belts, doors that popped open during impact, and seats that failed and collapsed even during minor impact, resulting in serious injuries.
  • Faulty vehicle maintenance — We have also recovered against companies for their failure to properly maintain and service large utility vehicles. In one case, our client’s son was killed when a large dump truck lost its brakes while traveling down the Pali Highway. In a wrongful death action, we were able to obtain compensation for his family because the truck company should have ensured its vehicle’s brakes were in safe condition.

When you retain our services, you get a resourceful legal team determined to deliver the compensation you deserve.

Accidents caused by dangerous roads & roadside hazards

Many serious accidents and deaths have occurred because of road and roadside hazards. In these circumstances, you need a Honolulu legal team with experience handling cases against the state, counties, and public utilities. Shim & Chang has held government agencies responsible for creating or allowing unsafe roadways to exist.

We successfully represented a family who lost two children in an auto accident because the utility companies located a telephone pole too close to Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu. In another case, we collected against the state for a paraplegic who lost control of his car, drove off the road, and collided with a telephone pole located on a sharp curve on the Big Island. Trees are also roadside hazards. We were able to settle a client’s case when he fell asleep and struck a tree planted in the middle of a median.

In these cases, the counties and state had a duty to protect drivers from further injury when they traveled off the road and struck a tree, utility pole, or ill-placed traffic device. In another case, our client’s son was a passenger in a car traveling down Pupukea that drove onto the shoulder of the road and struck a telephone pole. We were successful in recovering against the county for a poorly marked curve and roadway, and the utility company for locating its pole too close to the roadway. We have also recovered against a government agency for failing to install an appropriate guardrail, which may have prevented our client’s son’s death.

Extensive experience in catastrophic injury cases

Traffic in Honolulu has become notorious in recent years, as motor vehicle congestion, distracted drivers, and pedestrian activity have combined to create an unsafe environment. Rural roads throughout Hawaii are often very dangerous, too. So, it’s no wonder that traffic fatalities are on the rise in Hawaii, from 95 in 2014 to 120 in 2016. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a traffic accident, you should only trust your case to a personal injury lawyer with a track record of success in cases of catastrophic injuries, such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, brain damage, and death.

What to do after an auto accident in Honolulu

If you are involved in an auto accident, your first concern has to be for your safety. Here, briefly, are some steps to take:

  • Get your vehicle to a safe position at the side of the road.
  • Administer first aid as needed to yourself and passengers.
  • Render reasonable aid to injured parties in other vehicles.
  • Call 9/11 and request police and an ambulance.
  • Exchange identifying information with the other driver.
  • Take cellphone photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and injuries.
  • Ask the police how you can get a copy of their report.
  • Get yourself checked out, even if you are not sure you were injured.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Contact an auto accident attorney.

Of course, the specific circumstances of your accident may force you to diverge from this list. If the driver who hit you is intoxicated, you don’t want to engage. Stay in your car and wait for the police. If your vehicle cannot be moved, you have to decide whether you are safer inside the car or out. You must weigh the danger of a second collision with an oncoming vehicle against the danger of crossing the road to safety. But no matter the circumstances, you must keep a cool head and contact Shim and Chang as soon as possible.

Seek determined legal representation from a skilled Honolulu car accident attorney

If you are in need of an auto accident lawyer in Honolulu, call Shim & Chang, Attorneys at Law at 808-524-5803 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. As our client, you pay no attorney’s fees until we recover compensation on your behalf. If your injury prevents you from coming to our offices, we can come to you.


“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our case and have Shim & Chang to thank for it. Our case was a difficult personal injury case. Never having been a party to a legal matter like this, we had no idea what to expect, but from the beginning, the attorneys explained every step of the process, in terms that we understood. They were professional, responsive, patient, thorough and most importantly, realistic. We were treated with courtesy and respect by both the attorneys and their staff. We highly recommend the firm to anyone looking for exceptional representation on a personal injury case.”
-Beth Stefano, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Google

“As a law abiding citizen, I had never envisioned a need for an attorney until I was rear-ended. Searching for an attorney wasn’t a problem for me because I had heard a lot about the law firm of Shim and Chang. Mr. Chang is someone you will immediately feel comfortable with. In a short period of time, my anxieties had lessened because of his calm demeanor. Due to his reputation and years of court experience, my case was resolved in a timely manner and I was extremely happy with my settlement. Thank you, Mr. Chang!”
-Wanda Wong, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Google

“I have worked with the Attorneys at Shim & Chang, and have seen the compassion, effectiveness and pride they take with each and every case. They have practiced for over 35 years, and are committed to helping people have suffered personal injuries. I highly recommend them to my friends and family.”
-Ikaika Nakoa, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Google