Bellingham car accident lawyers

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced Bellingham car accident lawyer.

At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, our dedicated Bellingham car accident lawyer have helped thousands of Washington clients receive fair compensation after an accident, including several multimillion-dollar awards and other impressive case results.

Understanding the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Bellingham and Washington State

car accident in Bellingham, WA

In 2023, there were 773 fatalities in car accidents in Washington state, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation data. This was an increase over the 732 fatalities that occurred in 2022. Whatcom County was responsible for 19 fatalities 2023, In addition to the fatalities, thousands of people sustained injuries in a car wreck in Bellingham and across the state in that time.

In 2023, the following were the most common causes of traffic-related deaths in Washington.:

Drunk Driving – 

Drunk driving caused 117  fatal crashes in 2023. When a person drinks and drives, his or her judgment and driving ability may be substantially impaired. This can lead to reckless driving, falling asleep behind the wheel, or having a delayed reaction.

Distracted Driving  

Distracted driving caused 115 fatal crashes in 2023. Distracted driving includes texting and driving as well as other distractions, such as talking to other passengers, using other electronic devices, or eating or drinking while driving. Any type of behavior that keeps a driver’s eyes or mind off the road or their hands off the wheel can potentially result in a distracted driving accident.

Teen Drivers  

Teen drivers were involved in 71  fatal crashes in 2023. In addition to being less experienced drivers, teen drivers are more likely to speed, engage in dangerous driving behaviors, or drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Different Types of Car Accidents Our Bellingham Attorneys Handle

How seriously you are injured in a car accident depends largely on what type of accident occurred. Identifying the type of accident is also one of the first steps involved in reconstructing the accident, which can reveal whose fault the accident was. The following are some of the most frequently encountered types of car accidents.


A rollover accident occurs when the car flips over onto its roof.  The most common cause of a rollover accident is turning too sharply at a high speed. Because a rollover accident is related to the vehicle’s center of gravity, some vehicles, such as SUVs, are far more prone to rollover accidents than others. This type of accident can be caused by another type of accident, such as when a side-impact collision flips one of the cars onto its roof. Rollovers are among the most deadly types of accidents, especially for occupants who are not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Head-on collision

A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of both vehicles crash into each other – normally with both cars moving in opposite directions. This term also applies when a car hits a stationary object such as a telephone pole. The high-speed, two-vehicle, head-on collision is the single most deadly type of car accident because the speed of both vehicles contributes to the force of the crash. Depending on the speeds involved, even airbags might not be able to protect the occupants of either vehicle.

Rear-End collision

A rear-end collision occurs when the front end of one car crashes into the rear end of another. It is usually caused when the driver from behind finds himself unable to brake in time. Such collisions are particularly likely to occur during wet or icy weather when the roads are slick. Most airbags do not protect against rear-end collisions. The damage done by a rear-end collision varies widely. Although they are sometimes fatal, in many cases, none of the occupants are injured. The driver of the car coming from behind is usually held liable for a rear-end collision.

Side-Impact collision

A side-impact collision occurs when the front of one car crashes into the side of another. Side-impact collisions are particularly likely at busy intersections. It may not be immediately obvious whose fault the accident was, especially if the intersection was controlled by a stop sign rather than a traffic light. Most airbags do not protect against side-impact collisions.

Possible Damages Involved in a Bellingham Car Wreck Accident

Many accident victims drastically underestimate the potential value of their claim because they do not realize the long-term impact of the case or the types of damages for which they may be able to recover.

Possible damages involved in Bellingham auto vehicle accidents include:

  • Medical expenses – You may be able to receive compensation for the medical expenses you incur, including ambulance bills, surgery, ongoing treatment, and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Property damage – You can also recover the costs to repair or replace the vehicle and other property that was damaged in the accident.
  • Lost earnings – You have the right to recover lost wages, lost benefits, and the difference between the earnings you made and those you would have made had you not been injured. If the accident results in disability and you are unable to return to work, our experienced legal advocates can help you seek full compensation for these economic losses.
  • Non-economic damages – You may also be able to receive compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

A dedicated Bellingham car accident attorney can assess your damages during a free consultation and will work diligently to secure maximum compensation on your claim. Call us today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

car accident attorney in BellinghamFollowing a car wreck accident, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and with many unanswered questions. This is understandable, as an unexpected auto accident can be a shocking and very upsetting experience.

At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, our Bellingham car accident attorneys are happy to provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive:

What Steps Should I Take Immediately after a Car Accident?

Following a car collision accident, it is important to take the following steps.

Call emergency services

Call 911 so they can send emergency response services. Even if you think you are fine, seek medical attention simply to be safe. Being evaluated by a doctor qualified to determine if you’ve sustained any injuries is a wise decision; you may not even realize you have injuries.

Remain at the scene unless you have to leave to seek emergency medical attention.

Document evidence

Take photographs of the accident scene. If possible, take photos of any injuries as well. Also, make note of any video surveillance in the area that may have captured the accident.

However, refrain from posting photos or information about the accident on social media.

Gather contact details

Obtain the names and contact information of any other drivers who were involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the accident and the name of the investigating officer. You will also want to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved.

Do not speak with the other party or the insurance company regarding the accident without a car accident attorney present.

Collect your police report

Collect the police report of the accident. You can pick this up from your local police station or possibly online.

Hire a car accident lawyer

Finally, contact a qualified attorney right away if you believe that you may have grounds to file a claim. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you as to how the law might apply to your particular circumstances and help you through the claims process.

What Happens If I Am Partially at Fault for the Car Accident?

Washington is a pure comparative negligence state. If you are partially at fault for the car accident, you can still recover compensation. However, your recoverable compensation is reduced based on your portion of the fault.

For example, if you are 30% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 70% of your calculated damages.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Car Accident? 

In Washington, you typically have three years following your vehicle accident in which to file a claim. Though this is true, ideally, you should file your claim as soon as possible. This reduces the risk of losing valuable evidence or  witnesses becoming forgetful about important details. If you fail to file your claim in this three-year period, absent certain exceptions, you will be barred from recovery.

How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Car Accident Claim?

Certainly, each and every car crash accident claim is different and unique and will have its own particular set of circumstances. As a result, it can be difficult to put an exact time frame on the resolution of your case. Generally, after negotiations with the insurance company have commenced, it will typically take several months to reach a settlement. If the case ultimately goes to trial, it could be a year, two years, or possibly more before the case is decided by a judge or a jury, depending upon the complexity of the case.

Expert Legal Assistance from Bellingham’s Top Car Accident Lawyers

Our office in Bellingham, WA:

  • Address: 200 W Chestnut St, Bellingham, WA 98225
  • Open hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Phone number: 360-714-0900
  • Map Directions

Learn more about our seasoned attorneys.

Paula McCandlis

Paula is a seasoned lawyer with almost three decades of legal experience. She currently serves as a part-time U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District of Washington. She is well-versed in multiple areas of law but found her love in personal injury law. 

Paula also has extensive trial experience. If your car accident case goes to trial, know that Paula is well-versed in Bellingham’s trial procedure and etiquette. 

David Brown

David has nearly 20 years of legal experience. Super Lawyers Magazine has recognized him as a Rising Star for the past decade.

David empathizes with victims of car accidents. With personal experience of living paycheck to paycheck, he understands the difficult financial situation and the stress you’re facing. He’ll take the time to explain your legal options so you can decide the best course of action.

Matt Conner

Before becoming a lawyer, Matt gained a prestigious background in finance. Combined with his law degree from Seattle University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude, Matt has a unique arsenal of knowledge that he brings with him for every case. 

For the past decade, Matt has earned a reputation as a formidable attorney willing to stand up for clients and get them the compensation they need.

Speak With Trusted Bellingham Auto Accident Lawyers

If your injury was caused by the negligent actions of another driver, it is important to learn about your right to recover fair compensation for your claim. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, we would be happy to answer any additional questions.

Our highly skilled injury attorneys offer a wide variety of legal services for people seriously injured. Contact our Bellingham car accident attorneys today and get the assistance you deserve.