If you’ve been injured as a passenger of a bus, you are likely concerned about what your legal rights for compensation are. Buses present a unique personal injury claim. There are multiple passengers who all may have their own evidence of what happened. Bus crashes are also typically more severe, simply because of the size and weight of the bus.
After a bus injury, you need the help of an experienced and compassionate Huntington Beach personal injury attorney. You should trust the experience of personal injury attorneys with over 100 years of combined experience. Easton & Easton is a family, and we welcome you to join our family. Let us help you navigate the tedious work of getting the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do Right After the Bus Crash?
Your health is the most important priority. Make sure you are safe and that you have checked yourself over for injuries. If you are able, call 911. Don’t assume help has already been called. Take full advantage of any emergency medical technician (EMT) services, and do not hesitate to go to the hospital if the EMTs recommend that you go. Some injuries do not appear immediately after a vehicle collision. It’s important to make sure that all damages are accounted for; this includes injuries that do not immediately appear. Whiplash is notorious for a delayed onset. You usually wake up the day after the crash feeling like a bus hit you. It’s similar to trauma caused by exercise; the pain doesn’t always manifest itself immediately.
Declining medical care at the scene of an incident may affect your future legal claim, so it’s better to be cautious and accept the care available at the scene of the accident.
Avoid Social Media
So much of our lives are documented that it could feel like second nature to Facebook Live the aftermath of an incident or immediately respond to friends who see a crash near you on Snapchat. However, it’s best to avoid social media. Sometimes, innocent posts are misconstrued in the aftermath of an accident, especially one that involves a common carrier. Assume that you could be suffering an injury and avoid posting anything until you’ve spoken with one of our attorneys. Even if you feel well enough to post, it’s best to keep your information private.
Hire the right Bus Accident Attorney
As soon as practical, it is imperative that you hire the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton to help you with all that must be done. Do not speak to any insurance companies until you have consulted one of the personal injury lawyers at Easton & Easton. Statements made to insurance companies may be used against you in a court of law. As mentioned previously, injuries are not always known immediately. Sometimes our bodies take time to react to the trauma. The insurance company may try to get you to admit you aren’t injured immediately after a collision. It’s important that you know the full extent of your injuries and that you’ve hired the experienced personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton to help you with your Huntington Beach bus accident before you make any statements.
Document the Scene
If you can and it is safe, document everything you can at the scene at the time of the collision. Try to get the contact information for as many people as possible who witnessed the bus crash.
Documentation is one of the most critical elements that can be presented to a court of law. Photographs and videos are very solid evidence. Photographs of the scene are significant but so are photographs of injuries. Make sure to take pictures of all skid marks, if possible, and the vehicles as they were at the end of the crash. Try to get photographs before any of the vehicles are moved. Document the weather conditions (i.e., wet, rainy, sunny, dry).
Videos of the actual bus collision are preferred but not always available. Besides taking photographs, take some videos of the accident scene and any witness statements you can get safely. The more you can document in the beginning, the better the chances are for a solid case.
Unbiased witness accounts are preferred. That means you may want to talk to any pedestrians or uninvolved individuals. Unbiased testimony is best because there is no perceived incentive for their testimony. For instance, a pedestrian walking by who witnesses a crash is preferable to other passengers in the Huntington Beach bus because they may also have a claim pending with the same defendant, and they may be seen as being biased (they have something to gain by agreeing with the plaintiff as far as what happened in the bus accident).
Start a journal of your daily activities concerning the bus collision. Mark down any pain or discomfort you experience because of the bus crash. This will be important to establish damages or compensation you get for personal injury. Document missed workdays, doctor appointments, interruptions to sleep, mental health episodes, etc.
Keep all your documentation in one place. Make sure that any photographs or video evidence is backed up sufficiently. Start a physical folder to hold all your medical bills, pay stubs, witness statements, and medical documentation. Don’t rely on your smartphone exclusively.
Types of Accidents
There are several different types of vehicle accidents. Most involve another moving vehicle, but single-vehicle accidents do occur. The different types of car accidents include:
Rear-end accidents. Especially in southern California, rear-end collisions are prevalent. Even minor fender benders on the highways can cause serious injuries.
Head-on collisions. These are catastrophic crashes that can result in serious injuries. They cause 10% of all fatalities in car accidents.
Side-impact collisions. These are often called T-bone crashes. Most occur at intersections, but they can happen anywhere.
Rollover accidents. This is when a vehicle rolls after a collision. Vehicles with a center of mass higher up are more prone to rollovers.
Off-road crashes. The deadliest of crashes, this is a catchall category. These are caused mainly by intoxicated drivers and drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. More than 30% of deaths in vehicle accidents are from off-road crashes.
Types of Injuries
Many different types of injuries may occur as a result of a Huntington Beach accident. Not all are physical; some injuries are mental and emotional. It is important to try to seek treatment yourself, even for your mental health. Injuries that may occur as a result of a bus crash include:
Whiplash (this may not appear until the day after a bus accident)
Traumatic brain injuries
Scarring or disfigurement
Loss of limbs
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
General anxiety disorder
Cuts and contusions
It is important to have the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton collect all the medical evidence to present to a court. In addition, these medical records may be used in negotiations for a settlement.
What Is a Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between the parties to set a monetary award instead of continuing with legal action. Settlements take all the guesswork out of the equation. Personal injury cases are not all the same, and results cannot be guaranteed. Going to trial has risks that may be worth the amount being offered in a settlement. Settlements are the best way to ensure compensation. Trust the experience of the dedicated personal injury lawyers at Easton & Easton.
What Makes a Huntington Beach Accident Different From a Regular Car Accident?
There can be many different types of buses. There are private buses, city commuter buses, and tour buses. Depending on who owns the bus, you may be dealing with a municipality or governmental entity. These nuances are best handled by the Huntington Beach accident attorneys at Easton & Easton.
Additionally, if the bus is considered a common carrier under California law, the driver owes passengers additional duties.
How Do You Know If the Bus Is a Common Carrier Under California Laws?
Simply put, a common carrier is a company that transports people or items for a fee. There are three main factors that you look at when determining whether a bus is a common carrier:
A fee is charged for the transportation.
The company was formed to transport people or things from one place to another.
The company was advertised or introduced as a transportation entity to the public.
Common carriers are more than just buses; they include cruise ships, taxis, planes, and, more recently, Uber and Lyft. Being a common carrier comes with additional duties that are owed to the passengers or customers.
Heightened Duty of Care for Common Carriers
Under civil and common law of California, buses that are common carriers are required to use the “utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.” This heightened duty of care makes it easier to establish negligence in a personal injury case.
As common carriers, buses and their operators and employees must:
Provide a safe bus that is adequate to perform the service offered.
Pay attention to the passengers (reasonable degree of attention) and be civil to them.
Inform passengers of any dangerous conditions that exist with the transportation.
Be mindful of the disabled and elderly and provide adequate accommodations.
Drive in a safe manner (no erratic driving, no sudden stops).
Protect the passengers from harm, including from each other.
Provide proper training and screening for the bus driver and other employees.
This duty of care can extend to third parties, including other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. Reasonable care must be given to ensure their safety as well.
Common Carrier Liability
There are instances where a common carrier can be found liable for your injuries, if the common carrier:
Starts before the passenger is on or off board.
Starts before passengers are seated.
Closes the door on any passengers.
Attempts to make a bus stop at an unsafe spot.
Fails to maintain the steps of the bus safely.
There are some exceptions to the liability discussed above regarding common carriers. When a Huntington Beach bus crash is due to an act of nature, the common carrier can be pardoned. Additional exceptions to common carrier liability are robbery, carjacking, pirating (yes, even pirates), and passenger negligent acts. If the common carrier’s duties cannot be performed due to something outside of its control, it may be pardoned from the liability associated with common carriers.
What Do You Need to Show to Receive Compensation for Your Personal Injury Claim?
You need to show negligence when one party’s failure to act with reasonable care in a specific situation causes an accident. There are four core components of negligence:
Identify the defendant (the bus driver or a driver in another vehicle that caused the bus accident) and prove that there was a duty of care owed to the plaintiff (you) by the defendant. All California drivers have a legal duty to drive safely, pay attention, and abide by traffic laws. There is a special duty of care when it involves a bus, where the bus provides a service. Bus drivers must provide a safe environment for passengers on the bus and other drivers on the road.
Identify how the defendant breached the duty of care. This is how the driver was negligent (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distraction, moving violations).
Identify the damages. Identify all the ways this personal injury affected you.
Identify the causation between the defendant’s negligence and the resulting injuries.
These four components can be overwhelming to someone who is already dealing with a personal injury. Place your trust in the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton.
Negligence with a common carrier can usually be proven by a violation of a traffic law. The other way is to show that the bus driver failed to exercise reasonable care and diligence that a prudent bus driver would have exercised.
How Are Damages Determined?
California is a pure comparative negligence statute state. This means that a percentage of culpability is given to each participant, and the participant owes their share. Comparative negligence means if another driver were partially at fault, they would be responsible for their portion of the damages.
Are There Different Types of Damages?
Compensation can come in many forms. First, medical expenses are the most common form of compensation.
Medical costs. Monetary compensation for medical expenses should allow the injured party to reach maximum medical improvement. If permanent disability is at issue, compensation for long-term medical care should also be included.
Property damage. Damaged property can extend to personal property, including lost items in a bus accident. For instance, if a bus accident resulted in a vehicle fire and luggage was lost, a claim for the amount of the lost items may be appropriate.
Lost wages. Injured parties may also claim their lost wages in the compensation they are due. Lost wages include wages lost when recovering and future lost wages if permanent disability occurs.
Pain and suffering. The injured person may also claim pain and suffering. This is a general category that the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton will be able to discuss with clients. Pain and suffering includes psychological suffering as well as physical pain caused by the bus accident.
Punitive damages. It is possible to also try to obtain punitive damages in bus accident injury cases. Punitive comes from the Latin root word punire, “to inflict a penalty on.” Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the action rises to a level above simple negligence. Courts will look at whether the actions of those at fault were intentionally harmful.
Criminal penalties are possible too. Criminal charges may concern driving while intoxicated, or the charges might be in the form of a specific violation of the traffic laws and regulations. Criminal charges may help to show the negligence of the defendant.
Is There a Time Limit to File My Case?
There is a two-year statute of limitation in California for personal injury claims. This may seem like a long time, but a lot of preparation goes into each case. You need to contact the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton as soon as possible after an injury.
Is the Bus Driver Always the Defendant?
No. Other drivers may be at fault, either partially or fully. In addition, city or state government entities might be involved if poor maintenance of the roadway contributed to the crash. School boards may be involved in school bus crashes. In addition, experts may be hired to do an accident reconstruction to aid in the case.
The accident reconstruction expert will look at all of the evidence (witness accounts, pictures, videos, skid marks, etc.) and provide a thorough report on what happened in the crash.
Also, newer vehicles are equipped with a black box that records all relevant information at the time of an accident. It provides speed, braking, airbag deployment, and sometimes other important details. Experts in accident reconstruction will use all this information to recreate the accident, usually with the help of a computer program. With an expert’s advice, the personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton may also decide to pursue a municipality for faulty highway design or sign placement. The bus manufacturer may also be liable for damages if mechanical failure caused (either entirely or partially) the bus accident.
Additional experts may be needed depending on the case. Sometimes medical experts, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, and other experts are needed to present the best case. The personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton will ensure that the appropriate experts are hired and available for your case.
How Much Do the Injury Lawyers of Easton & Easton Cost?
Payment is contingent on winning the case. A percentage of the award will be given to the personal injury attorneys. Since our payment amount is directly related to how much money we recover on your behalf, we have an additional incentive to do the best job possible. It’s always in our best interest to get the highest financial award possible for personal injury cases relating to Huntington Beach bus accidents. Certain expenses (such as expert fees) are not included in the contingency fee, and those are paid directly when the award is given.
Are There Things I Should Avoid Doing to Minimize Problems With the Case?
Yes. First, do not speak with anyone at any insurance company until you have consulted one of our bus accident attorneys. Wording can be critical in the outcome of a case. Sadly, some insurance companies don’t have your best interests in mind in an accident but the best interests of the bus company or government that runs the busses.
Second, avoid posting on social media. It’s just as important to be cautious with social media as you recover as it was in the aftermath of the accident. Social media posts can undermine the strength of a case because posts can be used against you. For example, consider an issue where a victim in a personal injury case loses a leg. Months after his amputation, he participated in a wounded warrior snowboarding event. The defendant may try to use the snowboarding posts on social media to try to say his pain and suffering wasn’t as bad as it was.
It is best not to post anything on social media that can be used against you. Privacy settings are not always absolute. The best philosophy is less is more as far as social media posts. The actual preference is to avoid social media altogether.
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Hiring a personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies will be quick to try to settle cases for the lowest possible amount. Often the insurance companies are reaching out before injuries are even fully treated.
Hiring a personal injury attorney from Easton & Easton will give you the peace of mind to manage your injuries after a Anaheim bus accident. It is the job of the attorney you hire to tell your story and tell it well enough to get you the compensation you deserve. We want to hear your story and ensure it is told accurately and fairly.
Easton & Easton has recovered more than $100,000,000 for our clients within the past five years; contact us now to see how we can help you.
Your Story Is Important To Us. CALL US SO WE CAN HEAR IT.
The superior client service Easton & Easton provides has earned the firm an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen anew each year since 2014 by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers as one of the "Best Law Firms" for the Southern California Metro Area.
Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen by the LA Times Reader's Choice Poll as "The Best Personal Injury Law Firm in Orange County" for 2018.
Doug and Brian Easton have been selected as Top 100 Trial Lawyers for California each year since 2014 — honors given to less than 1% of attorneys.
Doug and Matt Easton have each been chosen as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Plaintiff's Personal Injury Litigation. Best Lawyers lists attorneys who have earned selection through exemplary legal work that attracts the notice of their colleagues. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto this list.
Brian and Matt Easton were recently honored for their efforts in securing a $1,850,000 verdict for a client in 2016, which was selected as one of the Top 50 Personal Injury Verdicts in California by TopVerdict.com.
Doug and Brian have each been selected by Super Lawyers, an honor given to less than 5% of attorneys. Matt Easton has been selected among Super Lawyers' Up-and-Coming Top 25 in Orange County and Top 100 in Southern Califonia, an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys under 40 years old.
Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen as one of the "10 Best Personal Injury Law Firms” in all of Southern California" each year Since 2015 based on client satisfaction — one of the highest honors we could ever hope to achieve.
Easton & Easton received the “People Love Us On Yelp” award in 2016 due to the exceptional client satisfaction reviews given by our clients over the years.
Doug and Matt Easton have each been featured as Premier 100 Trial Attorneys for California since 2015 — honors given to less than 1% of attorneys.
Brian and Matt Easton have each earned lifetime appointment to the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum — The Top Trial Lawyers in AmericaTM through the results achieved for their clients. This is an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys in the United States.
Doug Easton has held the “AV Preeminent” Rating for over 30 years and Matt Easton received this prestigious distinction in 2015. The "AV Preeminent" rating is the highest possible rating for both legal ability and ethical standards, and is based on the legal profession’s oldest peer review rating system, dating back to 1887.
Doug, Brian, and Matt Easton have all been chosen as one of the "10 Best" Personal Injury Attorneys in Southern California each year since 2015 based on client satisfaction, an honor given to less than 1% of personal injury attorneys - and Easton & Easton houses three of them.
Brian Easton was selected to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in 2015. ABOTA is one of the most premier associations of trial attorneys and judges, requiring a certain number of jury trials as lead counsel and approval by a majority vote of the ABOTA board.
Matt Easton has been selected each year since 2014 as one of the Top 40 Trial Lawyers Under 40 for California by The National Trial Lawyers — an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys.
Doug and Matt Easton have each been chosen as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Plaintiff's Personal Injury Litigation. Best Lawyers lists attorneys who have earned selection through exemplary legal work that attracts the notice of their colleagues. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto this list.
Both Doug and Matt Easton have been selected as Top Personal Injury Attorneys by Avvo with scores of 10 out of 10 based on their skill, experience, results, peer evaluations, and client reviews.
Matt Easton has been selected as one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Attorneys Under 40 in California for 2015 by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys — an honor given to less than 1% of personal injury attorneys under the age of 40.
Doug, Brian, and Matt Easton have all been selected by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel among the Nation's Top One Percent of Attorneys each year since 2017.
“We look for the human story behind every injury or wrongful death. We prepare our cases for trial; reaching out to the jury with the most compelling evidence possible for the best verdict possible. Insurance companies know this and come to the table prepared to negotiate in good faith. Call us to see how we can turn your story into fair compensation.”
Partner W. Douglas Easton
What Our CLIENTS SAY
Coming out of my first auto accident as an adult, a very difficult and scary time to navigate and understand, I was so incredibly thankful to have been put in contact with Easton & Easton. I honestly was lost with how to handle paperwork, doctors, medical costs and what next steps were, and from the moment I spoke with Travis Easton and my case manager Katie, my mind was put at ease. They have made the entire process stress free for me as I recovered, and I am so grateful for them and their genuine care for my case. Communication from the start has been fantastic, especially making clear what my expectations for the entire process would look like, and I truly believe they have my best interest at heart. 100% I would recommend their firm for anyone that is needing representation!
My experience with Easton & Easton has been amazing! Gabriel Mendoza and my case manager Katie have been so helpful and taken so much stress off my plate. They’ve been super informative and honest and given me very clear expectations. They’ve taken such a terrible experience (my accident) and eased my mind about the outcome. I can’t thank them enough!!
Ive used them twice and never been disappointed
The Easton & Easton Law Firm is amazing! The entire team is very helpful and caring. They were always there to answer all my questions. They directed me through the entire process and stayed with me every step of the way. This team is outstanding and were wonderful to work with. Because of the tremendous effort they put on my case they were able to win my difficult personal injury case. I couldn’t have asked for a better law firm to handle my case. They are the Best! Thank you for your patience, professionalism, & guidance! I definitely recommend this firm to handle your case. They go out of their way to fight for your rights. THANK YOU…
I could not be more pleased with the services provided by the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton. The senior partner Mr. Easton took the time to meet with me and my wife while I was still in the hospital, where he gave my family hope that there was light at the end of a very long, and very dark tunnel. Matt Easton then worked my case, and because of his dedication, experience and expertise I received a settlement that was larger than I EVER thought possible. It was truly astounding! Matt and the entire team at Easton & Easton looked out for me throughout my recovery, and in the end they gave me my life back. Five stars is not enough. Thanks Matt! Thanks Easton & Easton!
Brian and everyone at Easton and Easton are simply the BEST at what they do. Brian is thorough, easy to talk to, and truly cares about his clients. If you want a family of attorneys with perseverance and determination to fight for you, give Easton and Easton a call. I am glad I did.
What an amazing law firm, talk about going above and beyond to make such a painful experience go so well. I have referred a co-worker and a family member to them as well and everyone had such a great experience as I had.
I can’t say enough amazing things about my experience with Travis Easton at Easton & Easton. Travis and his entire team (Katie, Amy, Dee, Michelle, & Araceli) are phenomenal. It provided me a lot of comfort to know I was being so well taken care of. I was especially impressed that every document for the case was perfectly written and specific to me. Nothing was generic, which shows the level of care and attention they put into each individual case. I had such a great experience and would highly recommend Travis Easton and his firm to anyone going through a personal injury. Travis took a bad situation and made the best of it for me. Thank you again, I’m forever grateful!!
Retaining Easton and Easton was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! From the initial consultation to our final meeting, they were nothing short of exceptional. I was forced to retain their services after firing my previous attorney for not handling the case properly. I dealt with Gabriel and Brian (partner) exclusively throughout the case. They did as promised and were great communicators throughout the entire process. I will recommend them to anyone I know going through a personal injury case. They were ultimately able to untangle the mess caused by my previous lawyer and get a result that I was extremely happy with. Their staff is exceptional as well and provided top notch customer service. Amera was also extremely helpful and easy to deal with as well.
I was in a pretty bad car accident and decided to have Easton & Easton represent me, Travis Easton to be specific. Travis Easton and his paralegal made the whole process effortless. They were so understanding and helpful! The entire thing was a gigantic mess, yet Travis managed to make it run like clockwork. I would HIGHLY recommend Easton & Easton! If you are ever in need of a personal defense attorney Easton & Easton is the firm to represent you!
They are the best law firm in Orange County period. Choosing them to represent me was the best decision of my life.
My life changed in a matter of seconds after a catastrophic spinal cord injury that left me disabled. Brian Easton and his team worked on my case non stop for 3 years and provided me the justice I deserved. I couldn’t have been more content.
I was treated with utmost respect and I felt like I was being represented by a close family member. The responses to my questions were quick and clear. What E & E has done for me is phenomenal.
My sincere thanks to Brian, Matt, Travis, Doug, Gabriel and Amera. They are what they are because of their dedication to provide high quality and professional service to their clients.
Brian Easton and his team, Gabe Mendoza and Amera Hajali, helped me during a very difficult time in my life. I had a significant injury from a car accident, and wound up seeking out Easton & Easton when I was having difficulties getting help from my doctors. The Easton team took a lot of stress off of me while acting as my advocates to help me get the care I needed, and saw my case all the way through to a healthy settlement.
They are the BEST!
I have nothing but good things to say about Easton and Easton. Brian handled my case professionally and communicated with me effectively throughout the process. He made sure that the process was effortless and as hands free as possible. This was super important for my busy schedule. I highly recommend Easton and Easton if you are ever found in a situation that you need an attorney.
I would highly recommend Easton & Easton.
I was rear ended on my home and pushed into a semi-truck. I was not sure how to go about even using an attorney.
Brian, Gab and Amera were so good about helping me thru the process and representing me.
I was able to concentrate on getting myself better knowing they had my back, taking care of the details and keeping me informed along the way
The best Law firm by far. I would highly recommend Easton & Easton, LLP and ask for Gabriel Mendoza and staff. He and his colleagues did and exceptional service. Thank you for everything. Job well done!