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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

State law determines the workers’ compensation process for anyone who gets hurt or sick on the job. (If you’re a federal employee, however, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined in this article to apply for benefits.) Below, we’ll explain the steps you should follow to apply for Hawaii workers’ compensation benefits. You can also see in our interactive chart how the Hawaii workers’ compensation program changed from 2013-2017.

Which Employers Must Carry Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Hawaii state law says any employer with one or more employees in this state must have workers’ compensation coverage. This insurance plan must cover all temporary, permanent, part-time and full-time workers from their first day on the job. However, there are some exceptions. Employees that don’t automatically have this required coverage may include:

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

Related: Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Process

Steps to File Your Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Claim

According to the State of Hawaii’s Disability Compensation Division, you should follow these steps to apply for workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Report your injury to your supervisor immediately. Seek emergency medical care first, if needed. Then, tell your supervisor the date, time and how your injury occurred as soon as possible.
  2. Your employer must report your workplace injury to the DCD within seven business days if you meet certain requirements. Those include needing medical treatment beyond basic first aid or missing a work shift due to your injury.
  3. Get a completed copy of Form WC-1, Employer’s Report of Industrial Injury/Illness, from your employer. Your supervisor should complete and file this form with the DCD to begin your workers’ comp claim.
  4. 4. If your claim’s denied, you can file Form WC-5, Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits directly with the DCD. In addition, ask the doctor treating your injury to submit Form WC-2, Physician’s Report to the DCD and your employer.
  5. In the event that your employer’s insurer denies you again, request a hearing to appeal. Once you plead your case, the hearings officer must approve or deny your claim within 60 days.
  6. 6. To dispute the hearings officer’s decision, file a notice of appeal with the DCD within 20 calendar days. Once you reach this stage, we strongly recommend talking to a workers’ comp lawyer about your case!

Every claim is unique, so your own experience may vary. For more information about the Hawaii workers’ compensation program, read this highlights brochure.

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2013-2017

Data for workers’ compensation programs in most states is available in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual report. This report shows total claims filed, how many people missed work or changed positions and job sector-specific data. Our interactive chart below shows how the Hawaii workers’ compensation program changed between 2013 and 2017:

The Hawaii workers’ compensation program shows some interesting shifts between 2016 and 2017. While total claims rose 10% from 2014-2015, they fell the same amount from 2016-2017. That same year, service-industry injury claims rose 14%. Injured employees who missed work, changed positions or received restrictions increased 16% from 2016-2017. Perhaps the most notable data point is that most Hawaii workers’ compensation claims come from service-industry workers. In both 2015 and 2017, service-industry employees filed 3 out of every 4 claims. However, in other years, this sector still filed the most claims, ranging from 71% in 2013-2014 to 72% in 2016. In addition, at least 3 out of every 5 claims filed each year qualified for Hawaii workers’ compensation benefits.

The Hawaii workers’ compensation process isn’t always clear. The DCD’s website doesn’t explain how many days you must miss work before you’ll qualify for lost wages, for example. And there’s no information on how long it takes to get an appeals hearing scheduled for disputed claims. The fact is, preexisting conditions are the number-one reason for denied workers’ comp claims in America.

Think you can’t afford legal assistance from a Hawaii workers’ compensation attorney? All workers’ comp attorneys in our network offer free, no-obligation consultations to answer all your claim questions. Since these attorneys always work on contingency, you’ll owe $0 unless that lawyer helps you win. And if your case does win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify for Hawaii workers’ compensation benefits? Click the button below to start your free workers’ compensation evaluation online now!

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.