Hawaii Malpractice Laws | Hawaii Medical Malpractice
Limits on Malpractice Damages
Hawaii limits damages for pain and suffering to $375,000. This limit is not applicable to awards for other non-economic damages such asmental anguish, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or loss of enjoyment o life,hedonic damages.
Collateral Source Rule
Under the collateral source rule, a defendant may not seek to reduce its liability by introducing evidence that the plaintiff has received compensation from other sources, such as the plaintiff’s own insurance coverage.
Rules for Expert Witnesses
There are no special rules for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases.
Joint and Several Liability
Under a traditional rule of joint and several liability, where more than one defendant is found liable for the injury suffered by a plaintiff each defendant is individually liable for the entire amount of the judgment such that if one defendant is unable to pay the other defendant or defendants are liable for the entire amount of the judgment. In Hawaii, where a defendant’s negligence is less than 25% responsible for the plaintiff’s injury, responsibility for damages is apportioned between defendants in proportion to their fault.
Statute of Limitations
Medical malpractice actions must be commenced within two years from the act giving rise to injury injury or reasonable date of discovery. In the event that an object is left inside a person’s body, a medical malpractice action may be commenced within one year from the date of discovery. However, all medical malpractice actions must be commenced within six years of the date of the act giving rise to injury. This six year time limitation is tolled for any period during which the person has failed to disclose any act, error, or omission upon which the action is based and which is known to the person. Under Hawaiian law, minors have until the age of ten or the standard six year statutory period to file a claim, whichever is longer.
Limits on Attorney Fees
Attorney fees are not limited, but must be approved by the court.
*Hawaii requires all malpractice claims to be submitted to a medical claim conciliation panel. The findings of the panel are not admissible at trial.
*All claims for damages in amounts of $150,000.00 or less are subject to mandatory nonbinding arbitration.