In 2017, there were 562 fatalities in car accidents in Washington state, according to Washington State Department of Transportation data. This was an increase over the 544 fatalities that occurred in 2016. Whatcom County was responsible for 20 fatal crashes in 2017, which resulted in 23 traffic-related deaths – a 67% increase from the number of traffic-related deaths in 2016 and the second-highest number in the last decade. The number of traffic-related fatalities has been higher than the state average for several years during the last decade. In addition to the fatalities, thousands of people have been injured in car accidents in Bellingham and across the state. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced Bellingham car accident lawyer. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, our dedicated legal team has helped thousands of Washington clients receive fair compensation after an accident, including several multimillion dollar awards and other impressive case results.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Washington
In 2017, the following were the most common causes of traffic-related deaths in Washington:
- Drunk driving – Drunk driving accounted for 110 deaths in 2017. 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 was the cause of 87 traffic-related fatalities in 2017. 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 accounted for 50 traffic deaths in 2017. In addition to being less experienced drivers, teen drivers are more likely to speed, engage in dangerous driving behaviors, drive distracted, or drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
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. Contact Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Risk Factors for Whatcom County Traffic Accidents
In 2018, the Bellingham Herald completed a six-part series in which it analyzed traffic accident statistics for Whatcom County. It found that men were three times more likely to die in a fatal car accident in Whatcom County based on data from the Washington Traffic and Safety Commission Fatal Collision Dashboard. This mirrors the state statistic, which shows that males account for nearly 70% of the traffic deaths. It also found that young drivers between the ages of 16 to 25 were the group most likely to be involved in fatal traffic accidents, making up 30% of the accidents in Whatcom County – even though they only account for about 13% of the driving population. These drivers were more likely to cause accidents due to intoxicated driving, speeding, distracted driving, and inexperience. Older individuals suffered nearly one-quarter of the fatal traffic deaths in Whatcom County.
In 2017, 17.3% of traffic-related fatalities were suffered by passengers while 7.4% were suffered by bicyclists and 13.6% were suffered by pedestrians. Drivers made up the largest category with 61.7% of the deaths.
Possible Damages Involved in a Bellingham Car 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 car 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 a 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, inconvenience, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Our dedicated attorneys can assess your damages during a free consultation and will work diligently to secure maximum compensation on your claim.