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Hawaii Wrongful Death Laws

The Hawaii Wrongful Death Laws can be found in Chapter 663, Title 36, Division 4 of Hawaii Revised Statutes.  Pursuant to HRS § 663-3, when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person, the deceased’s legal representative, or the surviving spouse, reciprocal beneficiary, children, father, mother, or any person wholly or partly dependent upon the deceased, may maintain an action against the person causing the death or against the person responsible for the death.  The jury or court awards damages that they consider fair and just with reference to the pecuniary injury and loss of love and affection including:

1) Loss of society, companionship, comfort, consortium, or protection;
2) Loss of marital care, attention, advice, or counsel;
3) Loss of care, attention, advice, or counsel of a reciprocal beneficiary;
4) Loss of filial care or attention; or
5) Loss of parental care, training, guidance, or education suffered as a result of the death of the person[i].

The jury or a court sitting without jury shall allocate the damages to the persons entitled thereto in its verdict or judgment and any damages recovered shall not constitute a part of the estate of the deceased.  A wrongful death action shall be commenced within two years from the date of death of the injured person[ii].  In any case, if the person who may be liable for damages for death dies after action has been instituted against the person therefor, the action may be continued against the legal representative of the wrongdoer’s or other person’s estate[iii].

Pursuant to HRS § 663-8, the legal representative of the deceased may recover the future earnings of the decedent in excess of the probable cost of the decedent’s own maintenance and the provision decedent would have made for his or her actual or probable family and dependents during the period of time the decedent would have likely lived but for the accident.

[i] HRS § 663-3

[ii] Id

[iii] HRS § 663-5

Inside Hawaii Wrongful Death Laws