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Bellingham Personal Injury Attorneys - We Help People Rebuild Their Lives After an Injury

Bellingham – Industry, major university, and proximity to the U.S. border create a unique environment

Bellingham, founded in 1903, is the largest city in Whatcom County, Washington State, and is the county seat. It was the result of the consolidation of four towns initially situated around Bellingham Bay: Whatcom, Sehome, Bellingham, and Fairhaven. Bellingham’s early industries were coal mining and lumber. With the decline of those industries,

Bellingham became the home of several large employers that drive the economy today, including PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Heath Tecna, and Sodexo. In 1937 Western Washington University became a 4-year university, and expanded its enrollment. The university remains a major employer and draws 15,000 students to the area annually.

Mass transit in Bellingham is limited, resulting in too many cars and accidents on the roads

Despite the large number of students and several large employers, Bellingham has a limited mass transit system. Most commuters rely on their own personal vehicles to get to work. The Whatcom Transit Authority administers the bus system, as well as carpool and vanpool systems.

The major highways in Bellingham take travelers to Canada, to the ocean, and to the mountains

Bellingham is located 50 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and a great deal of Canadian traffic moves down Interstate 5 which bisects Bellingham. This influx of Canadian drivers creates significant traffic, and also is the source of many car accidents. State Route 542 leads from Bellingham to Mt. Baker, one of the nation’s prime winter ski resorts. This proximity to Mt. Baker makes Bellingham the hub of a great deal of winter tourist traffic. State Route 542 is notoriously dangerous, a 2 lane highway with many turn offs and a rash of ski traffic each winter.

Brett Murphy personal injury attorneys hear every day from people injured in the Bellingham area. Contact us if you need information about your rights and options after being hurt in an accident.

The Brett Murphy attorneys have achieved exceptional results for their clients

  • Dean Brett uses his 40+ years of experience to handle all types of injury claims in Bellingham and across Washington State.
  • John Murphy's expertise in personal injury and wrongful death claims spans four decades.
  • Steve Knapp has been delivering a wide array of legal services to clients for 27 years.
  • Paula McCandlis uses her 18 years of legal expertise and vast courtroom experience to obtain top settlements and verdicts for her personal injury clients.
  • David Brown possesses focused experience in both plaintiff and defense law, enabling him to negotiate effectively with insurance adjusters and secure full claim values.

How Brett Murphy attorneys have helped their clients

Through the 40+ years our lawyers have been in practice in Bellingham, they have handled hundreds of claims for clients, including:

  • $5.5 million for seriously injured victim of drunk driver;
  • $105,000 for a leg injury from a bicycle/truck collision;
  • Almost $450,000 for pedestrian’s multiple fractures;
  • $900,000 for motorcycle accident resulting in multiple broken bones.

If you are dealing with injuries after being in a car, truck, bike, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, let them help you too. For a free consultation to review your potential case, contact us by calling 1-800-925-1875 or by completing our simple contact form.

What types of cases does Brett Murphy focus on?

Some examples of the types of cases that the Brett Murphy legal team has successfully handled for clients are:
Bellingham Car accidents – With large numbers of cars on the roads and freeways, there will inevitably be high numbers of accidents.
Bellingham Bicycle accidents – As more commuters turn to bicycles to avoid road traffic, the likelihood of collisions increases.
Bellingham Motorcycle accidents – Motorcycles are difficult to see clearly in Bellingham’s notorious rainy and foggy weather, and the resulting collisions can be devastating.
Bellingham Personal injury claims – Personal injuries happen in a wide variety of ways including truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and even railroad collisions.

When an accident, injury, or wrongful death happens, it is important to work with an experienced law firm that knows the regional insurance companies and how they handle claims, and most of all, that knows how to obtain a full settlement for its clients.

Brett Murphy is that law firm. Find out how we can help you move forward with your life after an accident or injury. Talk to our legal team immediately by calling 1-800-925-1875, or complete our convenient contact form. We will get back to you right away.

Bellingham is a city of single-occupancy drivers – with the high collision rate that follows

Anyone who lives, works, or visits Bellingham will have noticed some of the city’s defining features – the charming downtown business district, the views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges (on a clear day,) and the gorgeous San Juan Islands to the west. Another thing many visitors will notice is the famous traffic that affects commuters and visitors every day. With limited transit options, single occupancy vehicles are the norm.

I’ve been in an accident – Do I need an attorney?

While many car accidents are fairly minor and involve no injuries or minor ones, many crashes result in significant injuries and damages. If you are wondering if you have a valid claim or if you need an attorney to get the full settlement you deserve, then the Brett Murphy attorneys offer a free initial consultation so that you can ask questions and learn more about your potential claim. Give us a call; we are easy to reach at 1-800-925-1875 or, if you prefer, you can complete our convenient contact form.

What have the Brett Murphy attorneys done for other car crash victims?

  • $4.2 million for victims of a drunk driver: Attorney John Murphy obtained a multi-million dollar verdict for victims of a devastating crash caused by a drunk driver.
  • $1,750,000 for head injury from a high speed freeway accident: Our client was a passenger in a high-speed freeway accident. His multiple spine fractures and head injury ended his career as a physician.
  • $1 million for client severely injured in head-on collision with commercial truck: Brett Murphy attorneys Dean Brett and David Brown tackled a difficult case for a client who was seriously injured in a head-on collision with a commercial truck.
  • $200,000 for two victims injured by police pursuit of drunk driver: Attorney Dean Brett recently completed a fascinating case in which two women were seriously injured by a drunk driver who fled from law enforcement, led police on a reckless high-speed chase, and slammed head-on into a vehicle.
  • $182,500 for a serious soft tissue injury: Our client contacted attorney David Brown after being involved in two moderate impact auto collisions. He was diagnosed with cervical and lumbar strains, with injuries that prevented him from returning to his job.
  • $100,000 settlement for rear-end accident caused by uninsured driver: Brett Murphy attorney Steve Knapp represented the victim of a collision caused by an uninsured driver that resulted in back injuries, neck injuries, and $20,000 in medical bills.

How can we help you?

When you contact Brett Murphy, we offer a free, no obligation consultation during which we will learn more about your accident, your injuries, and your situation, and we will let you know if we think you have a potential case. We answer your questions, and we discuss your rights and options.

Bicycle accidents in Bellingham – a growing problem in a city with many cars, many students, and few bike lanes

Bellingham is unique in that a significant number of residents are students at Western Washington University, a population that depend on bicycles for transportation. Unfortunately, Bellingham is not particularly bike friendly, although the city is working hard to improve that.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bike-related injuries. Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations.

Brett Murphy injury lawyers have vast experience managing bicycle accident cases. Our legal team has focused expertise in bike laws and the common injuries related specifically to bike accidents. We also understand that insurance adjusters frequently are biased against injured bike riders, and we know how to work with these adjusters to obtain full settlements for our bike accident clients.

The Brett Murphy legal team has helped many bike accident clients, including:

$100,000 for bicycle rider injured in collision with car: Attorney Steve Knapp secured a large settlement for his client who sustained serious injuries when a driver failed to yield and caused a collision that resulted in facial, neck, back, and leg injuries, as well as $3500 in damage to a custom bike.

Contact Brett Murphy today to begin the healing process. You can reach us by calling 1-800-925-1875 or by completing our confidential contact form.

Motorcycling in Bellingham and Whatcom County – Great roads and scenic drives

Bellingham’s motorcyclists enjoy the fun of riding in a truly beautiful part of the state. The Mount Baker Highway is famous for its stunning scenery, gentle curves – and track record of motorcycle accidents. With Bellingham’s easy access to both Mt. Baker and State Route 20 that cross the Cascade Mountains and provide access to Eastern Washington’s motorcycle-friendly roads, Bellingham is the origination spot for many motorcycle trips.

The personal injury lawyers at Brett Murphy have been helping motorcycle crash victims collect substantial settlements and verdicts for more than 40 years. Contact us to learn more about your rights and options by calling 1-800-925-1875 or by completing our simple contact form.

Motorcycle accidents and injuries – the statistics are alarming

For every motorcyclist who is involved in an accident, more than 80% will be injured or killed, much higher percentage than victims of other types of accidents. Even riders who drive safely, who wear helmets and safety gear, and who properly maintain equipment can easily become the victim of a motorcycle accident. Read more about the sobering statistics at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

About one-third of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes are a result of other motorists turning into the path of the motorcycle. Other injuries and fatalities are caused by unsafe or defective equipment, drivers with very little experience and training, or poorly maintained roads. Motorcyclists make up a high percentage of all serious injuries and fatalities on Everett’s highways and roadways. Learn more about common causes of motorcycle accidents at

Brett Murphy accident attorneys maximize your financial recovery Brett Murphy has been managing motorcycle accident claims for more than 40 years. We are typically able to resolve motorcycle accident claims through negotiation alone to achieve a settlement that represents the full value of the claim. But if negotiation does not result in a full settlement, we take the claim to trial. Contact the motorcycle crash attorneys at Brett Murphy today by calling 1-800-925-1875, or contact us using our online form.

Read about what Brett Murphy attorneys have done for motorcycle accident clients:

  • $900,000 for multiple fractures;
  • $752,000 - Largest wrongful death jury verdict for a minor in county history;
  • $250,000 for rider injured in a motorcycle/dog collision;
  • $200,000 - Motorcycle collides with van resulting in broken leg; $100,000 for motorcycle rider hit by car that failed to yield right of way.

Contact Brett Murphy to learn about your rights and options after a motorcycle accident

We understand what needs to be done to help you recover and move forward with your life. We oversee all aspects of your claim so that you can concentrate on healing. Call us at 1-800-925-1875 or complete our contact form.

Personal Injury Claims happen in a thousand different ways

Brett Murphy attorneys have been practicing for more than four decades and have helped hundreds of personal injury clients, but we are still surprised sometimes by the variety of ways our clients are injured. Some of the unusual cases we’ve seen include:

  • A case where a teenager died in a collision on a jet ski;
  • A case where a two men died when their truck rolled off a poorly designed highway;
  • A case where a client was injured when a table umbrella at a local restaurant became airborne in the wind;
  • A case where an industrial worker was nearly killed when the lift he was in was knocked over by an inattentive worker.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. is unintentional injury. Leading causes of nonfatal injuries include vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, falls, and house fires. When an injury happens due to the negligence of someone else, these issues can be compounded by the complexity of dealing with multiple insurance companies, medical providers, law enforcement, and others who are involved in the situation.

Brett Murphy’s focus is to secure the funds you need to recover financially from an injury.

When we represent you, our legal team works tirelessly to hold the at-fault party responsible and to secure the money to fully compensate you and your family for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

What will the Brett Murphy legal team do for you?

When you contact us, we provide a free review of your case and an evaluation of your legal options. We will be thorough in our investigation of your claim, and we will be firm in our negotiations with insurance companies. Because insurance companies and their attorneys know that Brett Murphy attorneys will take cases to court when a settlement offer is inadequate, we are typically able to resolve cases at the settlement stage, for full monetary value.

The Bellingham legal community reflects the nature of this unique city

In Bellingham and across Whatcom County, the legal community reflects the character of the area itself. Its industries in timber, manufacturing, and healthcare ensure that a vibrant and diverse legal industry flourishes in support of the workers and companies in these fields. And of course, the ongoing transportation issues and gridlock ensure that personal injury attorneys are a necessary part of the legal landscape.

Bellingham’s court system is efficient and easy to access

Bellingham’s court system is administered both by the City of Bellingham and by Whatcom County:

  • The Bellingham Municipal Court The Court hears misdemeanor, gross misdemeanors, infractions and parking cases. The Municipal Court Probation Department provides cost-effective supervision to offenders who have been sentenced by the Municipal Court judges.
  • Whatcom County District Court District Court resolves and adjudicates infractions, criminal traffic and criminal non-traffic violations. It also process small claims, civil actions, name changes, anti-harassment orders and domestic violence protection orders.
  • Whatcom County Superior Court oversees legal functions related to criminal and civil matters.

Important legal resources are available to Bellingham’s residents

Low income citizens of Bellingham have resources to turn to for free legal services from LAW Advocates a free legal aid program serving Whatcom County residents experiencing poverty. Pro-bono attorneys and volunteers provide information, advice, and legal representation.

Local colleges prepare students for law school and beyond

While Bellingham does not have a law school located within its boundaries, Western Washington University and the Whatcom Community College prepare students to move on to 4 year universities, law schools, and other training programs that open careers in the legal field.

The regional law schools:

  • University of Washington School of Law – The UW School of Law has 63 full-time staff and a student enrollment of 686. Located on the beautiful University of Washington campus, the UW School of Law offers a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, providing top-quality education for the next generation of Seattle’s attorneys.
  • Seattle University School of Law – The Seattle University School of Law is located on Seattle University’s 48-acre urban campus in the Capitol Hill neighborhood just steps from downtown Seattle. It offers leading academic programs, including the country's top-ranked legal writing program.
  • Gonzaga University School of Law – The 3-year curriculum at Gonzaga Law focuses on a broad-based legal education, grounded in a skill-based curriculum, firmly rooted in the theory and practice of law.

If you have been injured in an accident in Bellingham or anywhere in Washington State, contact Brett Murphy today to learn more about your rights and options. You can reach us by calling 1-800-925-1875 or by completing our confidential contact form.

Bellingham’s hospitals and healthcare community are the keys to recovery after an accident

It is crucial for our clients to get the best medical care possible after an accident or injury, and Bellingham is home to an exceptional healthcare community. With several hospitals and countless physicians, specialty clinics, physical therapists and other healthcare providers, Bellingham is well positioned to help injured people get back on their feet.

Here is an overview of the healthcare community in Bellingham, with information about some of the wonderful providers and facilities that our clients have worked with as they recover from their injuries.

Bellingham’s medical providers are integral to our cases

Often the first stop after an accident or injury is the emergency room. Bellingham’s St. Joseph Hospital offers a vast array of medical and surgical services including emergency services.

For people seriously injured in an accident, a hospital visit is just the first step on the road to recovery. Many common injuries that we see in accidents require long-term therapy and medical support to achieve a final level of healing.

Bellingham offers a large number of therapy providers that will be able to assist healing for all types of injuries. For a comprehensive list, please go here.

The auto insurance policy – not many people know what their policy really contains!

While most drivers purchase an insurance policy per Washington State law, many people have not really read and do not understand their policy. It is only when an accident happens that people question exactly what coverage they have purchased, and how their claim is managed.

Learn more about Washington State law as it pertains to insurance coverage at One of the most common complaints to the State’s Insurance Commissioner regards differences between what customers thought they were purchasing in an insurance policy, and the actual coverage they receive.

What exactly is an insurance policy?

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. The policy details what the company agrees to cover in exchange for the premium amount that you pay. The contract is divided into two parts:

Declarations page: The declarations page defines the basic agreement and includes name(s) of the policyholder(s), the policy number, the length of time the policy is in effect, a description of the vehicle(s) insured, the type of coverage purchased, the limits of liability and deductibles, the premium for each type of coverage, and the addendums to the policy.

Policy: The policy is the second part of the contract that sets forth any other terms of the agreement including definitions, endorsements, and general conditions. Please go to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website for a more in-depth description.

What are the common types of insurance coverage?

Many different types of auto insurance are available. Some types are required by law, while others are optional. You should check your declarations page to confirm that your policy includes all of the coverage that you need, and communicate immediately with your insurance company if there are any discrepancies.

The main types of coverage include:

  • Liability coverage protects you if you cause an auto accident, and pays to compensate the injured person for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and property damage. To protect your assets, it is a good idea to purchase as much liability coverage as you can afford.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays you and your passengers’ medical expenses and lost wages. PIP coverage applies regardless of who is at fault for the accident. So, even if you caused the accident, PIP will pay your medical expenses and lost wages. Your insurance company must offer you PIP coverage. If you reject PIP coverage, you must do so in writing. It is not advisable to reject PIP coverage without careful consideration of the consequences. PIP coverage is not very expensive and is worth the cost.
  • Underinsured Motorist/Uninsured Motorist (UIM/UM) coverage covers you if you are in an accident caused by someone with no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your damages. It is advisable to carry as much UIM/UM coverage as you can afford.
  • Collision and comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle if you are in an accident. The coverage applies regardless of which driver is at fault. Comprehensive coverage also pays for damage to your car that is caused by fire, theft, vandalism, weather and contact with an animal.

What are the main insurance companies?

While there are many insurance companies operating in Washington State, the following are the biggest that we deal with every day:

  • PEMCO Insurance: PEMCO offers auto, home, and boat insurance. There are discounts offered for customers who purchase both auto and home insurance, as well as discounts for multiple vehicle coverage, and for educators, new customers, and drivers with good driving records.
  • Safeco: Safeco began in 1923 and offers many kinds of insurance including auto, home, condo, boat, motorcycle, RV, and renters insurance.
  • Mutual of Enumclaw: Mutual of Enumclaw was founded in 1898 by a group of farmers, but has grown to operate across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. The company offers insurance products including home, auto, business, and farm insurance.

A complete insurance policy is worth the cost!

The Brett Murphy attorneys work with clients every day who have been injured by uninsured and underinsured motorists. Often, our clients must rely solely upon their own insurance policies to cover their medical bills as they recover, and to obtain a settlement for their injuries, damaged property, and lost wages. Don’t avoid purchasing a good insurance policy in the hopes that you won’t need it. Accidents and injuries happen every day to people who are good drivers and who are not at fault for a crash.

If you have been injured by a negligent party, whether you have insurance or not, contact Bellingham's Brett Murphy attorneys to learn more about your rights and options. Call us at 1-800-925-1875 or complete our convenient contact form.