Injured Hikers in Hawaii May Have Legal Recourse
by Shim & Chang, JD Supra, October 4, 2012
A hiker was severely injured this September when she fell more than 300 feet after the trail she was hiking on, Pali Notches, gave way. Agnes Bryant, the hiker, was with two other people at Nuuanu Pali Lookout when she tried to make her way around a large boulder when the trail collapsed and Bryant fell. Presently, she remains hospitalized with serious injuries, including a broken arm, broken wrist and some fractures of the neck and spine.
In cases like Bryant's, the state and recreational companies that own the hiking trails have a legal obligation to keep it reasonably safe. When this duty is neglected, the proprietor can be held legally responsible for any injuries sustained by hikers and other park visitors. The fall victim may be eligible to sue for damages under Hawaii's premises liability laws. It is not yet known whether Bryant plans to file a personal injury lawsuit against Nuuanu Pali Lookout.
As reported in the Trail Analysis report issued the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the department cites its own obligation to provide safe, well-maintained premises and, in absence of fixing hazards, their obligation to warn patrons of potential danger. Provided the injuries sustained on poorly maintained trails are serious, such as the miraculous case of Agnes Bryant and those not as lucky, and the state may be held liable for damages and costs associated with the injury. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy and prescription costs, loss of future earning capacity, and more.