When Accidents Occur in Bellingham, Our Personal Injury Lawyers are Here to Help

After a serious Bellingham crash, injured people and their families find themselves thrown in a weird, stressful, sometimes scary new world. Before the accident, life was maybe busy, challenging, and stressful, but after the accident, life is always difficult. Since attorneys Paula, Dave, Matt, and Dean have vast experience working with injured folks, we wanted to provide information for injured people and their families as they move toward recovery.

The Bellingham first responders help reduce the damage caused by accidents

The Bellingham Police Department will take charge of the scene when the crash occurs within the city limits, and will create a traffic collision report. Go here to request a copy of the police report.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department responds when an accident happens in the county.

The Washington State Patrol usually responds to crashes that happen on the interstates in Bellingham. Also, the WSP keeps all of the Police Traffic Collision Reports for the entire state. This is where you go to get a copy.

The Bellingham Fire Department and Whatcom Medic One Emergency Medical Services provide immediate help for injured victims. After an accident, many crash survivors want to reach out and thank their first responders for their help. You should – they save lives, and they are awesome.

“After my accident I felt like the walls were closing in on me. Having someone on my side made all the difference.”

Healthcare providers in Bellingham take charge after an injury accident

Often the first post-crash experience for an injured person is being treated at one of Bellingham’s hospitals including PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital.

Getting emotional support after losing someone in a fatal accident is important

When a loved one is killed in a motor-vehicle accident, it is incredibly helpful for grieving family to work with a grief support organization or therapist who provides help and guidance. Go here to learn more about grief support.

The Bellingham and Whatcom County court systems help accident victims deal with the criminal and legal aspects of a crash

The Bellingham Municipal Court typically has authority over minor criminal matters, traffic tickets, and civil lawsuits where a small amount of money is involved. The Whatcom County Superior Court handles felony cases and civil cases involving larger amounts of money.

Drunk-driving accidents are a huge problem in Bellingham

We hear every day from people injured in drunk-driving and drugged-driving crashes. We admire the work that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is doing to reduce and prevent these collisions. Here’s a link to the MADD site which provides great information on their efforts and how you can help.

For the Bellingham bicyclists and motorcyclists out there

In Bellingham, bicyclists and motorcyclists face a heightened level of potential danger on the roadways. To learn more about biking and motorcycling in the region, check out Washington Bikes and the Washington State Department of Licensing Motorcycle Safety Program.

Get Bellingham travel, traffic, weather, and road information from Washington State DOT

Since accident prevention, traffic, and road/transportation safety are key interests in any community like Bellingham, the Washington State Department of Transportation works to move people and vehicles safely, and to offer traffic and weather information that help drivers plan their travel. Also, the Washington State 511 phone system provides up-to-date information regarding travel, weather, road-construction projects, mountain pass conditions, and other information for travelers.

Regarding the insurance claim that is inevitably barreling your way

Since we are injury attorneys, we have to think about that aspect of an accident. Regardless of the severity of the accident, most folks have to deal with an insurance claim. The Washington State Insurance Commissioner protects insurance consumers and provides great information on how insurance policies work. While minor crashes can be often be handled directly with your insurance adjuster, major accidents require more assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are “pain and suffering” damages?

Pain and suffering damages compensate you for suffering arising from a physical injury. Because of this, some medical conditions justify higher pain and suffering damages than others, regardless of how expensive they are to treat. In many cases, the amount of pain and suffering damages adds up to well over 50 percent of the entire damages award.

What is “maximum medical improvement” and why is it important?

You reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) when medical treatment has helped you recover as much as it is ever going to. You might still suffer from long-term disability or chronic pain. Since MMI is important for calculating damages, it may be difficult to resolve your claim until you reach MMI.  

Can I sue the owner of a dog that bites me?

Yes, you can. You can win under the Washington dog bite statute, even if the owner was not at fault and the dog had never before exhibited aggressive tendencies. Homeowner’s insurance usually pays out on dog bite claims. Certain defenses, such as trespassing and provocation, apply that could defeat a dog bite claim.

What happens if I miss the statute of limitations deadline?

The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file 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 and three years after the victim’s death for a wrongful death claim.

The other driver’s insurance company wants me to sign something or issue a statement. Should I do it?

No, not unless your lawyers approve it first. When you are pursuing a claim, the insurance company you are claiming against is an opposing party that will 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; nevertheless, you should still consult with your lawyer first.

Worried about handling your own insurance claim? You don’t have to!

Reach out to Paula, Dave, Matt, and Dean if you are struggling with the aftermath of an accident and need some support and advice. They know what you are dealing with now, and they know what you will need to deal with in the future. You will know what to expect, you will know what your rights and options are, and you will not have to deal with insurance companies alone.