Losing a loved one is never easy. On top of the emotional stress, you will need to deal with a variety of different bills that can rapidly pile up into a seemingly insurmountable mountain of debt. However, there are ways to make part or all of that debt vanish, the simplest of which is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, each state has a different way of treating these lawsuits, with different laws and statutes leading to dramatically different requirements for you, the plaintiff. To help you get a better idea of how to file a lawsuit in your state, here is an overview of some key laws that Hawaii has regarding wrongful death lawsuits:

How much time do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In Hawaii, you have 2 years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This starts counting on the date of the death and ends exactly two years after that. However, there are some specific circumstances that can actually extend this period substantially.

Most commonly, if you didn't actually discover that the death was wrongful until the statute of limitations had already expired, then you may be given an extension. This is referred to as the discovery rule and applies to a wide variety of personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful deaths.

However, this isn't always the case and the discovery rule doesn't always work. Most notably, medical malpractice lawsuits often have an extremely strict statute of limitations that cannot be extended beyond a certain point unless you can prove that you were fraudulently misled.

How much money can you win from a wrongful death lawsuit?

Like most states, Hawaii has damage caps that limit the amount of money that can be awarded. Most importantly, damages from a medical malpractice case are limited to $375,000. However, this cap only applies to non-economic damages, which means that your economic damages will remain untouched.

To clarify, non-economic damages refers to types of damage that cannot be directly quantified as a dollar amount. For example, pain and suffering is a non-economic damage.

To contrast, economic damages are types of damage that can be directly translated into an objective amount of money. Hospital bills and funeral expenses fall into this category because they correspond to exact dollar amounts.

This means that pain and suffering are subject to a cap of $375,000 in cases of medical malpractice, whereas medical bills and funeral expenses are completely uncapped. Contact personal injury attorneys in your area to learn more.