Hawaii Workers' Compensation article image
Hawaii workers' compensation laws are different from other states. Here's what you need to know to make a successful claim and get your appeal approved.

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How to Apply

Important: We updated this article in April 2023 to ensure all information below is both current and correct. State law outlines who gets Hawaii workers’ compensation benefits and how the process works. If you were injured or got sick on the job in the Aloha State, you should focus on feeling better ― not feeling anxious about the claims process.

We’ve gathered the information you need to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Eligibility

Hawaii state law says any employer with one or more employees in this state must offer workers comp coverage to all temporary, permanent, part-time and full-time workers from their first day on the job.

Find out more about how to qualify for workers comp benefits.

There are some exceptions, though:

  • Volunteer or student workers employed by any charitable, educational or religious non-profit organization.
  • Ordained and/or licensed ministers, priests or rabbis.
  • Domestic workers earning less than $225 per quarter each calendar year or employed by public welfare recipients.
  • All 50% company stockholders and certain 25% stockholders.
  • Realtors®, brokers and salespersons working in commission-only real estate jobs.

Important: Federal employees are not covered by state rules. Learn how to file a federal claim.

How to File Your Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Claim

Important: Seek treatment immediately if you require emergency or urgent care. Tell the doctor your injury or illness is work-related, and make sure to keep all receipts and bills.

See what a Hawaii workers’ compensation doctor can do for you.

To qualify for Hawaii workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove your injury or illness is work-related. Every case is different, so your experience may vary, but most workplace accident claims work like this:

1. Notify your supervisor immediately.

Be sure to provide the date, time and details of your your workplace accident or illness occurred. Failing to report your accident or illness may put your claim at risk.

2. Make sure your employer completes and files Form WC-1, Employer’s Report of Industrial Injury/Illness.

This is necessary in order to start your claim with the state’s Disability Compensation Division. Complete this step within seven days if you need medical treatment beyond basic first aid or miss a work shift due to your illness or injury.

Important: Make sure you get a copy of this document for your records.

3. Wait for a decision.

If your claim’s denied, file Form WC-5, Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits directly with the DCD.

Also ask the doctor treating you to submit Form WC-2, Physician’s Report to the DCD and your employer.

4. Take action if your claim’s denied again.

If your employer’s insurer denies you a second time, request a hearing to appeal. The hearings officer must approve or deny your claim within 60 days. If you aren’t happy with the hearing officer’s decision, you have 20 calendar days to file another appeal with the DCD.

Important: We strongly recommend hiring a Hawaii workers’ compensation lawyer to help you appeal.

Get all the details on Hawaii workers’ compensation coverage.

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes workers’ comp data on most U.S. states and territories. The total number of recordable cases in the Aloha State decreased during COVID-19, dropping from 16,200 in 2019 to 13,100 in 2021. Claims reported in the service-providing sector followed a similar path, decreasing from 12,000 in 2019 to 9,500 in 2021. The total number of employees missing work, transferring jobs or receiving restrictions also declined, from 9,900 in 2019 to 8,500 in 2021.

When you’re living with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the Hawaii workers’ compensation system can make you feel even worse. And since your employer chooses the doctor who diagnoses your illness or injury, you may feel you aren’t being treated or compensated fairly.

That’s why we recommend working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney for free, confidential claim assistance. These specialists typically work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing unless you win a cash settlement. You only pay a reasonable, one-time fee when your case is successful.

Want free expert claim help? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call during regular weekday business hours:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.