State paid out $200K in small claims in 2015 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State paid out $200K in small claims in 2015

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Big lawsuits against the state make headlines. Small claims? Not so much.

But the state’s recently-released annual report on claims paid out under $10,000 does make for interesting reading, in part because it could point to bigger issues.

One significant source of claims was potholes. Of the 174 claims and lawsuits paid out, 57 (or about one third) were to reimburse drivers for pothole damage on state highways and roads.

Payouts for pothole damage ranged from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000.  

There were also a number of claims related to property that went missing from state facilities.

An inmate got nearly $1,200 after his dentures were “lost after a shakedown” at Oahu Community Correctional Center. A patient at Kauai Veteran’s Memorial Hospital got $900 for a lost hearing aid. And a number of inmates statewide filed claims for lost orders from their commissaries behind bars.

Damage to property also drove people to file claims.

One man got $190 after a tree branch fell on his tent at Malaekahana State Recreation Area. A driver got $600 for damage to a vehicle that “reversed into a concrete block” at an elementary school. And several drivers filed claims after weed wackers shot rocks into their windshields and cars. One of those claims topped $2,900.

Several people also filed claims for injuries.

A minor got $488 after being injured by a teacher’s hot coffee at Hale Kula Elementary. A bicyclist who got into an accident because of a low-hanging guy line got $10,000. And there were several inmates who filed claims after being injured behind bars.

Altogether, the state paid more than $210,000 for 174 small claims in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015.

Worth noting: Some 368 claims – asking for upwards of $83 million – were denied in the same fiscal year.

See the full report here.

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