Car Accident Case: Why Knowledge And Experience Matter

A single mom and eight-year-old son from Texas were visitors to Maui. She rented a car at the airport, and when she asked about a car seat for her son, she was told that Hawaii law does not require car seats for an eight-year-old. They loaded up their rental car and drove to their hotel. They spent the next several days enjoying Maui.

The next morning, they were driving along the Maui coast highway on their way to a birthday celebration, when a speeding driver (who was late for work) suddenly crossed the center line and broadsided their car. The impact was so great that the other car split in half.

When their car came to a rest, the mom asked her son if he was ok. He responded, “Mommie, I don’t feel good.” He died several hours later.

Months later, the grieving mother asked her family attorney in Texas for a referral to a Hawaii attorney. She was referred to one of the largest law firms in Hawaii. The attorneys there obtained the police report, hired an expert from the mainland, and did a site visit of the Maui highway. After thoroughly investigating the case, the attorneys told her that there was only a case against the speeding driver and that she should accept their policy limits offer of $50,000. She decided to get a second opinion and asked a friend on Maui if he knew of any good lawyers. He referred her to Roy Chang.

She flew to Honolulu to meet with Mr. Chang. After reviewing the police investigation, her son’s autopsy report, and photographs of the scene and the vehicles, Mr. Chang told her that the other law firm had missed two other defendants, the State of Hawaii and the car rental company.

The photos taken at the scene showed a 1 foot drop off on the side of the road where the other driver’s tires had gone off. Mr. Chang explained that when the other driver attempted to go around a car making a left turn, the tires of her car dropped off the paved road. When she tried to come back onto the road, she over-corrected her wheel, causing her car to suddenly veer across the road into the oncoming lane. The State had failed to correct this roadside drop off.

After reviewing her son’s autopsy report, Mr. Chang told her that her son did not die from the initial impact, but from injuries caused by the adult seat belt he was wearing. Even though it was legal for him not to be in a car seat, he was too small for an adult lap seat belt, and that’s what killed him. Car seat use by children should be based on the size and weight of the child and not his age, and the rental car company knew this because of rental ads that Mr. Chang had found.

In the end, instead of settling with the other driver’s insurance company for only $50,000, the final settlement for this mom who lost her only child was with three defendants, and it totaled over $ 1 million.

Seek Advice & Excellent Representation From Shim & Chang Attorneys at Law

Few personal injury law firms can rival our experience in dealing with insurance companies and other at-fault parties. Our firm provides a complimentary consultation regarding your injury. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no legal fees until we obtain compensation on your behalf. Please call our Honolulu car accident lawyers right away.