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Auto Accidents

Honolulu Attorneys Represent Victims of Auto Accidents

elevated view of broken cars after accident

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.

Auto Accidents Caused by Negligent Drivers

In Hawaii, you have the legal right to sue a negligent driver if you have suffered a severe and permanent injury, someone lost their life, or the medical bills paid by the no-fault insurance carrier total $5,000 or more.   Just suffering an injury does not entitle you to compensation.  You need to prove that the other driver was negligent, careless, or acted irresponsibly, and that you were not more at fault than the other driver.  Proving your case requires a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney.  We, at Shim & Chang, have been that attorney for hundreds of clients over the years.

Unfortunately, some accidents involve irresponsible or intoxicated drivers who have either no insurance or not enough to fully compensate you for your injuries and losses.  As a result, it takes an experienced attorney, one who is familiar with Hawaii’s auto insurance laws, to look for other sources of coverage such as uninsured motorist coverage (when injured by a driver with no insurance) or underinsurance motorist coverage (when injured by a driver with insufficient insurance coverage).  We have taken cases all the way to the Hawaii Supreme Court to fight for more coverage for our clients, making new law in the process.

Auto Accidents Caused by Auto Defects

  • Defective autos, trucks, and buses—In past cases, we have sued and collected against an automobile manufacturer for a defective steering column that did not collapse during collision (as they are required to do), killing our client. We have been successful in suits against auto manufacturers for defective air bags, defective seat belts, car doors that opened during a crash, and car seats that collapsed during a minor rear-end impact which resulted in an “enhanced” or more serious injury even death.
  • Faulty vehicle maintenance—We have also recovered against companies for their failure to properly maintain and service large utility vehicles such as construction trucks and tour buses. 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 did not check to make sure the brakes in the truck were operating properly.  In a rental car case, we were able to recover against the rental car company for not properly servicing the brakes in one of its cars before renting it to our clients.

Auto Accidents Caused by Dangerous Roads and Roadside Hazards

  • Dangerous roads—Our client’s mother was killed while walking in a dangerous mid-block crosswalk that should not have been installed in that location because of inadequate sight distances for drivers. (See crosswalk video).
  • Dangerous roadside hazards—Government agencies have a legal duty to provide drivers and pedestrians with safe roads to use, and also with safe roadsides and recovery areas should the driver inadvertently or intentionally leave the travelled way. We successfully represented a family who lost two children in an auto accident because the utility company located a telephone pole too close to Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu.  In another telephone pole case, we successfully represented a driver in a suit against the State of Hawaii.  He had driven onto the roadside and collided with a telephone pole located on a sharp curve on Hawaii Island.  The force of the impact rendered him a paraplegic.  In another case against the State of Hawaii, we successfully represented a mother whose 8-year old son was killed in a head-on crash which resulted when another car going in the opposite direction, hit a drop off in the road, lost control of her car, and crashed into our client’s car.

Not only do State and local counties have a legal duty to provide drivers with a safe shoulder to drive onto, they also have a duty to provide a safe road.  Poorly designed roads, poorly marked curves, and poorly lit roads are magnets for accidents.  The lack of suitable guardrails and other highway safety devices can also lead to catastrophic accidents and injuries.

Extensive Experience in Catastrophic Injury Cases

Drivers in Hawaii have gotten worse.  Not only are they distracted by cellphones, they drive faster, run more red lights, and ignore the rights of bicyclists, moped riders, and pedestrians.  As a result, traffic fatalities and other catastrophic injuries in Honolulu are on the rise every year.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a traffic accident, you should trust your case to the lawyers whom other lawyers trust with a track record of success in all types of injuries, including the most serious, 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

  • "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
  • google

    Absolutely professional! I was injured in a moped accident and The attorneys at shim and chang were sincere honest and worked quick and diligently to get me the fair compensation I deserved. I would recommend them to anyone for personal injury. Top N...

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    Jordan C

  • google

    I just did a consultation, asked questions, they are very nice and helpful. They give you advises.

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    Gemma Ganir

  • google

    I had a great experience with Shim & Chang. I was injured in a moped accident and needed help with making sure all my medical bills were taken care of. Harvey was my lawyer, and he was excellent. He was very efficient and knowledgeable, and broke dow...

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    Annie Keyes

  • google

    The attorneys of the law firm Shim and Chang are excellent, helpful, trustworthy, compassionate and conduct their business with integrity. Shim and Chang are not a law firm looking only to make money. Rather, Shim and Chang showed me they truly cared...

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    Kimberly Kau

  • google

    When the condo owner living above us caused water damage to our condo, we were displaced for nearly two months. When his insurance carrier refused to compensate us for the inconvenience and the temporary housing cost, we hired the law firm of Shim an...

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    Dean N

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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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