Hawai'i Workers' Compensation


What are the benefits I am entitled to?


In Hawai'i, if you are injured on the job then you may be entitled to worker's compensation benefits.

These benefits include:

  • Medical benefits-all medical treatment which includes surgical and hospital services and supplies related to the injury. The injured employee is entitled to choose the treating physician.
  • Temporary total disability benefits-wage loss benefits paid as long as certified disabled from work by a treating physician.
  • Permanent partial disability benefits-payments due an employee when an injury results in a percentage loss of use of specified portions or functions of the body.
  • Permanent total disability benefits-payments due an employee if the injured employee cannot return to work because of the injury.
  • Disfigurement-payments due an employee for scars as a result of laceration or surgery, can include deformity and discoloration.
  • Death-payments due to a surviving spouse and dependent children in work-related death cases.
  • Vocational rehabilitation-if unable to return to usual occupation, injured employee may receive career counseling, testing, training, and job placement.

The foregoing benefits generally comprise your exclusive remedy against the employer for an on the job injury. HRS 386-5 This bears repeating. Workers Compensation benefits described above generally are the only benefits you can recover against your Employer.

You are not entitled to pain and suffering damages, actual loss of earnings and/or diminished earning capacity. Those are items of damage you would be entitled to claim in a personal injury lawsuit against someone other than your employer in a court of law but not under Workers Compensation.


Why do I need legal representation?


There is no law which says you need to hire a lawyer. But the reality of dealing with fat and sassy insurance carriers lately, together with recent changes to the Hawaii Administrative Rules for Workers Compensation, makes it difficult if not impossible to handle a workers' compensation case on your own.

With trained adjusters working for the insurance companies who have lawyers at their beck and call, hiring a qualified attorney is essential. Trying to handle your own case may save you a penny in the short term but usually costs you a pound in the long run.

Hiring a lawyer is critical (and should be done promptly) in any of the following situations:

  • The employer denies you were injured on the job
  • The carrier has denied benefits
  • You cannot get medical treatment
  • You are not getting paid
  • The adjuster promises benefits or care which never arrives
  • An attorney for the employer or insurance company contacts    you and wants to take a deposition
  • You want to sue a third person.
  • You begin to represent yourself  and you encounter someone on the other side who    is particularly difficult and is trying to take advantage of your lack of legal expertise
How do I pay my lawyer? Attorney fees are based on time expended in handling the matter, and are typically paid directly from the insurer out of compensation payable to the claimant. The fees must be approved by the Department of Labor and are typically approved at a substantially lower hourly rate than market.  
Where are all the forms filed and where are the hearings held on Maui?

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Disability Compensation Division

State Office Building 2

2261 Aupuni Street

Wailuku, HI 96793

(808) 984-2072





The foregoing is a general statement of Hawai'i law and is not legal advice and not intended as such. So that you may gain a better understanding of your matter, contact our office and speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case.

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