Experienced Bellingham Personal Injury Attorneys Offering Comprehensive Legal Support

When you’ve suffered from a serious accident in Bellingham, you and your family may be at a loss for what to do next. Luckily, our trusted Bellingham injury attorneys – Paula, Dave, Matt, Scott, and Dean – have served the Bellingham community and its victims for many years.

A Bellingham personal injury lawyer from our firm is here for you and your family in your time of hardship. As you move toward recovery, here is a compilation of resources and helpful information to review while you begin the physical, mental, and financial healing process.

How Our Bellingham Legal Team Assists with Personal Injury Claims

Whenever you are hurt as a consequence of the misconduct of someone else, a personal injury claim arises under Washington state law. The problem is these personal injury claims do not enforce themselves – they must be enforced by the victim, and preferably with the help of a legal representative using diligence and a thorough understanding of the Washington personal injury law.

The following are some of the ways our trusted personal injury lawyers in Bellingham can help you win your claim:

  • Conducting an investigation and assembling admissible evidence. The word “admissible” trips up many people trying to handle their own personal injury claims because the Rules of Evidence sometimes exclude evidence that is relevant. For instance, you are not allowed to introduce evidence that the defendant repaired the dangerous condition (a stairway, for example) that injured you to prove that the condition was dangerous in the first place.
  • Building your claim. Combining (i) the assembled evidence (ii) recognized legal principles and (iii) the specific facts of your individual case into a coherent whole to generate a specific legal claim on your behalf, along with arguments to support it.
  • Calculating the real value of your claim. Your accident claim might be worth more than you think it is. Accurately calculating your claim is always important, but it is absolutely critical (and can be quite difficult) if you suffered long-term injuries that will cost you medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering in the future.
  • Negotiating a settlement of your claim with the insurance company. Although insurance companies are notoriously tricky negotiators, fear not – we know all their tricks by heart, and they know better than to even try most of them on us.
  • Drafting an airtight settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is enforceable in court just like any other contract. We make sure that it contains no loopholes and thoroughly protects your interests. Remember: We cannot agree to any settlement without your consent.
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington state court. Just because you file a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to trial. Most personal injury claims that reach the lawsuit stage settle before trial. Filing a lawsuit, however, lets the defendant and the insurance company know you mean business, and it can also help you gather evidence.
  • Litigating at your trial. Actually, far fewer than 10 percent of all cases ever get to the trial stage, because insurance companies would rather settle than fight – especially if their opponent is Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC.
  • Appealing your case if the trial court reaches an adverse decision. Very, very few claims get to this point.

    These are only some steps in personal injury claims. How your case proceeds depends on the practice area it falls under.
  • Schedule Your Free Consultation with Brett McCandalis Brown & Conner PLLC

Or Call our Office425-374-1491

Specialized Practice Areas: Your Trusted Bellingham Injury Lawyers

We have an unparalleled breadth of knowledge and experience in a variety of injuries. We protect the rights of Washington accident victims who suffer injury in  the following areas.

Car Crash Accidents

Bellingham personal injury lawyerWashington is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning that, after checking on the safety of the persons involved in the accident, the next step is showing who is at fault for the accident. It is important to document the accident scene as best you can.

Report the accident, take pictures of the scene, and collect witness information. Then, contact an experienced Bellingham personal injury lawyer who can get to work immediately.

Your lawyer will work to show the other driver was negligent in your auto accident case for reasons such as drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield, or other causes.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

PI attorney in Bellingham, WAMotor vehicle accidents often result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, back, and spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and broken bone injuries.

There may be a bias toward motorcyclists, but many accidents are the result of the careless behavior of passenger vehicle drivers. The lawyers at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner work diligently to protect your claim against the pure comparative negligence system, which can reduce your level of damages based on your own degree of negligence. We will work diligently to establish that the other driver was solely responsible for your damages.

Semi-Truck Accidents

Severely damaged truck as a result of an accident in Bellingham, WA.Although the federal government has passed several rules to make the roadways safer, trucking companies and truck drivers have continued to violate these laws in the interest of hauling more loads and increasing their profits.

Our experienced semi-truck accident attorneys will work diligently to establish that the defendant violated important rules like the hours of service rules or mandatory drug and alcohol testing rules. We will also get to work quickly to preserve important evidence in your claim, such as the truck’s “black box” data.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

A wrecked bicycle due to an accident in Bellingham early morning.Washington is a great place to bike and walk and readily encourages residents to enjoy the great outdoors. However, motorists or other cyclists may not be cautious and can injure you in a bike accident or pedestrian accident.

Our compassionate legal advocates will explore all possible avenues of recovery to seek maximum compensation for your injuries.

Mass Transit Accidents

Our knowledgeable lawyers also assist clients who have been injured in mass transit accidents, including railroad accidents, bus accidents, and airplane accidents. These cases require extensive knowledge of the complex laws for these highly regulated industries. Our attorneys can skillfully help you navigate this process to pursue just compensation for your claim.

Boating Accidents

While many people enjoy the open waters surrounding Washington, boaters must be cautious to avoid boating accidents. Our injury attorneys will quickly get to work on your claim to avoid any issues with the statute of limitations.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a lot more common than most people realize. If the injury is caused by a physician or other health care provider, then a malpractice claim arises. Our Bellingham injury attorneys can provide you with the help that you deserve.

Wrongful Death Cases

Washington’s wrongful death statute allows the personal representative of the deceased to bring forth a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings of a victim who died because of the wrongful acts of another. While no amount of compensation can ever bring your loved one back, our compassionate legal advocates can help you ease the financial burden of the loss through zealous legal representation.

Slip & Fall

We successfully navigate through the complexities of slip and fall cases, we keep strategic and meticulous approach to deliver comprehensive legal representation. Our efforts pursue justice for those who have suffered injuries due to hazardous conditions.

Premises Liability:

From slip and falls to inadequate security or hazardous conditions on another’s property, our dedicated team handles premises liability cases with diligence and determination, ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. No matter what practice area your case falls under, we often rely on information and evidence from first responders and other professionals.

Collaborating with Bellingham’s First Responders for Effective Injury Case Building

As you would expect, the aim of first responders is always to respond quickly and efficiently to decrease the seriousness of an accident in any way they can. Our own Bellingham Police Department will report to the scene of the accident, if it occurs within city limits, and document everything via a traffic collision report.

For all accidents that happen outside of Bellingham city limits but inside county lines, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department responds to the accident with the same care and attention as Bellingham police. If you are involved in an accident while traveling on Washington’s interstates, you’ll likely be aided by the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Should you need a copy of any traffic collision reports, it’s best to consult the WSP database. The database holds all traffic records statewide.

For all injury-related aspects of your accident, the Bellingham Fire Department and Whatcom Medic One Emergency Medical Services can provide you with safety and immediate medical assistance. For more serious matters, they can transfer you to local hospitals for treatment and long-term care.

Partnering with Bellingham Healthcare Providers for Your Injury Recovery

Immediately following an accident, it is likely that one of your first experiences includes treatment at a hospital. Physically, this is the first step. If you’re receiving medical care in Bellingham, you’re probably being supported by the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital.

Often, the second step in the recovery process is addressing your emotional support needs. This is particularly true if you lost a loved one in an accident. When someone you love has passed away in an auto accident, it can be essential for the grieving family to work with a grief support organization or therapist who can provide guidance. To learn more about possible grief support options available to you in Bellingham, click here.

After you seek support, you can take your case to the local court to seek resolution.

Bellingham and Whatcom County Court Systems Handle the Criminal and Legal Sides of Your Accident

Concerning minor criminal matters, civil suits (involving small amounts), and traffic tickets, you’ll likely work with the Bellingham Municipal Court. When felony or larger civil cases are on the table, they will be handled by the Whatcom County Superior Court.  Our established and highly skilled Bellingham personal injury lawyers are very familiar with these court systems. We will file your lawsuit and notify interested parties such as insurance companies.

Depending on Your Situation, There May Be No Avoiding the Insurance Company

Even though the specifics of your case will vary, nearly everyone has to deal with insurance claims after accidents. Fortunately, the Washington State Insurance Commissioner protects insurance consumers and provides information on how insurance policies generally work. While you can handle minor accidents directly with an insurance adjuster, major accidents usually require more time and attention.

In general, it’s best to speak with a Bellingham personal injury lawyer for all cases, from bicycle accidents to car crashes.

Calling All Bicyclists and Motorcyclists of Bellingham, WA

Sometimes, there can be nothing better than riding your motorcycle or bicycle here in our lovely city. But unfortunately, bicyclists and motorcyclists face an especially heightened level of risk when traveling on the roadways. Luckily, these risks don’t stop our fellow Washingtonians from still taking to the roads on less than four wheels. To learn more about biking and motorcycling in our area, check out Washington Bikes and the Washington State Department of Licensing Motorcycle Safety Program. For non-biking traffic affairs, you’ll want to contact the Washington Department of Transportation. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation: Your Source for Everything Bellingham

Well, maybe not everything about Bellingham, but the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) can certainly be consulted for travel and weather conditions, traffic, and general road information. Also, the Washington State 511 phone system can provide drivers with up-to-date information regarding travel, weather, road-construction projects, mountain pass conditions, and other important information.

Drunk Driving Accidents in Bellingham: An Ongoing Problem

Every day, we Bellingham personal injury attorneys hear about tragic accidents taking place in our community. We understand just how prevalent – and unjust – drunk driving and drugged driving accidents are. In an effort to decrease these accidents, one organization called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is doing much toward prevention and reduction. If you’re interested in learning more about their organization and how you can help fight the battle against drunk driving, here’s a link to the MADD site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Your Bellingham Injury or Accident

What Are 'Pain and Suffering' Damages?

Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the pain and suffering that result from a physical injury. For this reason, some medical conditions can command higher pain and suffering damages than others, regardless of how expensive they are to treat. In many cases, pain and suffering damages add up to over 50% of the damage awarded. If you need help estimating pain and suffering damages for your accident, consult with an experienced Bellingham injury lawyer by calling us today.

What Is 'Maximum Medical Improvement' and Why Is It Important?

A patient is said to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) when medical treatment has helped that individual recover as much as it is ever going to. That being said, you may still suffer from long-term disability and/or chronic pain. Since MMI is often extremely important for calculating damages, it may be difficult to resolve your claim until you reach MMI. Contact our Bellingham personal injury lawyers to find out more about MMI.

Can I Sue the Owner of a Dog That Bit Me?

Yes, you can. And you don’t even have to prove “scienter” (knowledge that the dog was dangerous) to recover damages from a biting dog’s owner. According to the Washington dog bite statute, even if the owner was not at fault and the dog has never before exhibited aggressive tendencies, you may still be able to win your case. Homeowners’ insurance can typically make payouts for dog bite claims. However, certain defenses (such as trespassing or provoking the animal) may apply and could hinder your dog bite claim.

What If the Owner of a Dog That Bit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance or Money to Pay for My Damages?

Even if you win your lawsuit, it’s hard to collect from a defendant who doesn’t have funds to pay. If a biting dog’s owner doesn’t have insurance or the money to pay for your losses, don’t despair. Remember that the dog’s owner is not the only person who can be liable for your damages. In Washington, owners, keepers, and harborers of a dog are responsible for bite injuries the dog causes. Determining who owns a dog is pretty straightforward, but who are the keepers and harborers?

Like owners, keepers, and harborers of a dog have direct control over the dog. Specifically, a harborer is someone who protects the dog, controls the dog, and allows the dog in their home. Because others in addition to owners can be liable for dog bites, you can include more defendants in your lawsuit. This can help you hold everyone accountable and help ensure you fully recover your due. It’s not always easy to identify all owners, keepers, and harborers in a dog bite lawsuit. Sometimes even your local Animal Control officers could be liable. A skilled attorney can accurately identify all necessary defendants to give your case the best chance at success

What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline?

The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit in order to keep your claim alive. The Washington State statute of limitations is three years after the accident for a personal injury claim or three years after the victim’s death in a wrongful death claim.

If you have any questions about the relevance of the statute of limitations for your case, please contact us immediately. Hiring proven and knowledgeable Bellingham injury attorneys is a vital decision. Your decision can mean the difference between winning or losing your case.

The Other Driver's Insurance Company Wants Me to Sign Something or Issue a Statement. Should I Do It?

No, not unless your injury lawyers approve it first. When you have a claim against the insurance company, that company is considered an opposing party; as such, they can and will try to find any excuse to deny or minimize your claim. If you are claiming against your own insurance company, you may be required to give a statement at some point. But, always remember to consult with your Bellingham personal injury attorney before signing or issuing anything.

Illustrative Example

Brett is seriously injured in an on-duty construction accident and is hospitalized for several months. His doctor fears that he may suffer permanent disability. An investigation reveals that the cause of the accident was a defectively manufactured backhoe. Brett sidesteps the workers’ compensation system and instead files a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the backhoe. The manufacturer offers Brett $80,000 in compensation.

Brett’s lawyer is certain that this is not enough. He advises Brett to wait until he reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before issuing a counteroffer, because it will be difficult to calculate Brett’s future damages until he reaches MMI. Brett reaches MMI three months after the accident, and the doctor concludes that he can return to his previous job in about a year. However, Brett will have to undergo rehabilitation therapy and will experience severe muscle pain.

Brett’s medical bills are $120,000, and his estimated future medical expenses add up to another $60,000. His past and future lost wages add up to $48,000. Brett’s lawyer demands five times his medical expenses for pain and suffering.  This demand makes a total of $900,000 in pain and suffering damages and $1,128,000 in total damages. Brett eventually ends up settling for $768,000.

Meet the Brett McCandlis Brown & Cooper Personal Injury Lawyers

You can rely on our firm when you need a personal injury attorney in Bellingham, WA. Take a moment to get to know some of our lawyers.

David Brown

David Brown is a personal injury lawyer who has been helping injured victims for nearly two decades. Mr. Brown has a proven track record of success in cases involving car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and more. He is a member of the Washington State Association for Justice and has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine. Mr. Brown is passionate about his work and his clients. He understands the value of a dollar and strives to achieve the best possible outcome.

Matt Conner

Matt Conner is a personal injury lawyer in Bellingham with a proven track record of success. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seattle University School of Law and joined Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner in 2014. Since then, Mr. Conner has handled a variety of different types of cases, such as multiparty litigation, car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death cases.

He knows how to seek maximum compensation for his clients and hold liable parties accountable. Mr. Conner is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the Whatcom County Bar Association, where he has served as secretary, treasurer, and vice president.

Paula McCandlis

Paula McCandlis is a personal injury lawyer working in the legal field for over 30 years. She has represented clients in various areas of law, such as personal injury, wrongful death, criminal law, and family law. She joined Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner as a partner in 2011, and since then, she has focused on personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Ms McCandlis is also a part-time Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington and held other positions like Commissioner for Whatcom County Superior Court. She is a member of several professional associations and served as President of the Washington State Bar Association for one year.

Contact Our Bellingham Injury Lawyers

Following your accident, do the physical pain and emotional stress of the situation have you worried? Are you concerned about handling your insurance claim by yourself? Luckily, our Bellingham personal injury attorneys are here to offer you support and advice. Contact our Bellingham office today and tell us about your case. We offer free consultations and only charge a fee if we get you compensation.

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
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