Organization Helps Injured Workers Know Their Rights

Thank you  to Alan Yonan Jr. for the great article in the Star-Advertiser's Sunday edition. The article is reprinted below.

(As relevant today as it was in 2014 when this artical was written)

Hula Dancer at Sunset Oahu HawaiiQuestion: What role does the Hawaii Injured Workers Association play in Hawaii's workers' compensation system?

Answer: The Hawaii Injured Workers Association (HIWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization concerned with the well-being of many injured, disabled and displaced workers in Hawaii who suffer financial and personal hardships due to work-related industrial injuries and occupational diseases.

HIWA's mission is to educate, organize and support injured workers. HIWA also educates the general public. HIWA promotes safe and healthy work environments.

HIWA meetings afford an opportunity for injured workers to network with one another and with professionals to help them navigate Hawaii's workers' compensation system.

Workers who become injured are often unfamiliar about workers' compensation and do not understand their rights. HIWA provides education about the process, the law and the professionals who can assist injured workers' return to work.

Q: What's the first thing a worker should do if he or she is injured on the job?

A: Immediately report the injury to the employer. Request that an accurate and complete injury report is written and filed with the Department of Labor. The injured worker should also request a copy from the employer. The injured worker should seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible.

Q: Does an injured employee need a lawyer to file a workers' compensation claim?

A: No, but it can help to have a lawyer assist them to navigate through Hawaii's often complicated workers' compensation system, especially if the claim is denied.

Q: Are injured workers paid if their injury forces them to miss work? How are workers' compensation benefits calculated?

A: Yes, whether total temporary disability (TTD) or total partial disability (TPD), what will be paid depends on how much work is missed by the injured worker. Typically, the injured worker's average weekly wage is computed based on the injured worker's wage earnings in the 52 weeks prior to the date of injury. The weekly compensation rate paid to the injured worker is typically two-thirds of the average weekly wage. It is important to getting paid that injured workers ask their treating physicians for contemporaneous disability certifications.

Q: Can injured workers choose from whom they receive medical treatment?

A: Yes, and initially no prior approval is required. It is recommended that the injured worker's treating physician or other medical provider have a working knowledge of the reporting, treatment plan request and billing requirements of the workers' compensation system. The injured worker's treating physician can then request appropriate medical testing (X-ray, MRI, etc.) and can refer injured workers to medical specialists (orthopedists, neurologists, physiatrists, psychiatrists, therapists, etc.).

Q: What should injured workers do if their employer fails to file a claim on their behalf?

A: First, request the employer to file the written claim as soon as possible. Second, if the employer refuses or fails to, the injured worker should immediately file a written WC-5 claim form with the Department of Labor, Disability Compensation Division. Third, the injured worker should consider getting legal advice to assist with filing the written claim.

Q: Does the HIWA have any workshops planned in the near future to provide information on workers' compensation issues?

Douglas Thomas Moore 

Position: President 
Organization: Hawaii Injured Workers Association 
Website: www. 
Phone: 538-9771


A: We do have periodic educational workshops with presentations from a panel of experts who can advise injured workers about the workers' compensation system, the law, medical treatment and testing, physical therapies, vocational rehabilitation and return to work. For more information, go to


Source: Star-Advertiser


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On 12/12/2012 HIWA was granted its non-profit status by the IRS, effective as of 11/30/2011

ER ID No. 45-4038392


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Call: (808) 538-9771