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What Should You Do in the Aftermath of a Car Accident?

If you have the misfortune of being involved in an automobile accident, the law in Georgia requires you to do certain things. If you are injured in the accident and intend to make a claim for personal injuries there are additional things you can do which should improve the ultimate outcome in your case. We have included those things required by Georgia law, and some suggested tips below:

Report It
The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500 or more is required to give notice of the accident to the local authorities immediately. (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273)

Stay at the Scene
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person or damage to a vehicle is required to immediately stop, remain at the scene and: (1) give his/her name, address and registration number of the vehicle he/she is driving; (2) upon request and if available, show his/her driver’s license to the other driver or occupant; and (3) render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident including transporting, or making arrangements for the transportation, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital if it is apparent such treatment is necessary or if the injured person requests such transport.

The driver shall, in every event, remain at the scene of the accident until fulfilling these requirements. Every stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270)

Should You Move the Vehicles?
As far as moving the vehicles after an accident, Georgia law provides that when a motor vehicle traffic accident occurs with no apparent serious personal injury or death, it shall be the duty of the drivers of the motor vehicles involved in such traffic accident or any other occupant of any such motor vehicle who possesses a valid driver’s license, to remove said vehicles from the immediate confines of the roadway into a safe refuge on the shoulder, emergency lane, or median or to a place otherwise removed from the roadway whenever such moving of a vehicle can be done safely, and the vehicle is capable of being normally and safely driven, does not require towing, and can be operated under its own power in its customary manner without further damage or hazard to itself, to the traffic elements, or to the roadway. (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-275(c))

However, a vehicle incapacitated as a result of a motor vehicle traffic accident with apparent serious personal injury or death may not be moved until the law enforcement officers have made the necessary measurements and diagrams required for the initial accident investigation. (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-275(g))

Have Your Insurance Information Available
In automobile collisions that meet the reporting requirement, law enforcement officers at the scene of the accident shall instruct the drivers of each vehicle to report the following information to all parties who suffered injury or property damage as an apparent result of the accident: (1) the name and address of the owner and the driver of the motor vehicle; (2) the license number of the motor vehicle; and (3) the name of the liability insurance carrier for the motor vehicle or the fact that such driver has a certificate of self-insurance issued pursuant to Code Section 33-34-5.1 (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273.1)

The items above are required by Georgia law, but there are other things you can do that will help you advance your claims for personal injury and defend yourself in the event a claim is filed against you.

Notify Your Insurance Company
Insurance policies are contracts, and one of the contractual requirements placed on you is a duty to report claims as soon as possible and cooperate with your insurer in the investigation and handling of your insurance claim. Get out your policy and find the provision that explains your duty to provide notice and proof of loss. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. Make sure you follow the specific requirements in your policy and document your efforts. Keep copies of letters you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations, including the date, time, and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Failure to comply with your policy could result in the denial of coverage.

Take Photographs
Be sure to take pictures of the scene especially if the vehicles must be moved before the police arrive. It is very important to take pictures of the damage to both automobiles. This should be done immediately after the wreck and before the vehicles are repaired, sold for salvage or simply disappear. It is much easier to convince the insurance company and the jury that the impact from the collision was severe enough to cause your injuries if you have a photograph of your crushed vehicle.

Photograph the Injuries
Injuries like severe bruises, lacerations, swelling, stitches and others heal over time, making it difficult to adequately describe them months or years later. Therefore, take photographs of the injuries so they can be shown to the insurance company or jury at a later date.

Be Careful What You Say
It is certainly true that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. Therefore, be very careful about what you say after an accident. While you have a duty to cooperate with the authorities and your own insurance company, you are not required to give a statement to the adverse driver or his insurance company. The best course of action is to seek legal advice before speaking to them.

Make Notes
Certainly, your memory of the events will fade over time. Therefore, it is important to make notes. Write down any important observations you made at the scene. Did you smell alcohol or was the sun in the other driver’s eyes? Keep track of your conversations with the insurance adjusters or the authorities. Make a note of the name, address and telephone number of each person you speak to and the substance of your conversation. It is especially important that you keep the names and addresses of all witnesses to the accident.

You should also note your injuries, the inconvenience and hardship that the accident has caused, and how your injuries affect your life daily. If your claim ultimately takes months or years to resolve, this diary can be an invaluable tool for reminding you just how much you suffered. A word of caution, however. Your diary may one day be subject to discovery or subpoenaed to court which means you may have to produce it to the opposing lawyer, and he may be able to introduce it into evidence and present it to the jury. Therefore, keep it simple and factual, recognizing that it may displayed for all to see and even read to the jury one day.

Seek Medical Care if Necessary
If you are injured, get to a doctor. While this seems like common sense, many people simply “tough it out” hoping they will get better. Invariably, the insurance adjuster or opposing lawyer will ultimately ask, “If they were hurt so bad, why didn’t they seek medical attention?” This can be a tough question to answer. Therefore, if you are hurt go to a doctor. Tell your doctor exactly what is bothering you and follow his/her advice. Follow up as directed, and take the medicine they prescribe. Keep your appointments and take ownership of your own health. This is the responsible way to handle injuries caused by an automobile collision, and the jury will understand and appreciate your diligence. Also, keep all bills and records related to your medical care if you need them to establish your claim.

Get the Accident Report
Typically, the investigating officer will give you a card that contains the accident report number. After a few days, the final accident report should be finalized and on file at the law enforcement office. Get a copy as soon as possible or have someone else get it for you. Review the accident report and make sure it is accurate. If the report is inaccurate, contact the investigating officer and explain the inaccuracies to him. It is always better to do this while the events are still fresh on his/her mind and the minds of witnesses in case he needs to follow up with them in order to clarify a mistake.

What if You Get a Ticket?
Sometimes, the investigating officer will issue a citation to one of the drivers. Sometimes, the officer will not, deciding instead to let the party’s respective insurance companies resolve the issue of fault. If you receive a ticket, protect yourself. Make sure you know when and where you are supposed to appear in court. Failure to appear for a scheduled court date can have serious consequences and compound an already difficult situation. If you are not guilty, then don’t plead guilty. If you do, it may constitute an admission that can be used against you if a civil claim is filed. If you can afford counsel, they may be able to negotiate a plea bargain and a reduction in the charges against you. In the long run, this may save you considerably more in future insurance premiums than it costs.

What if the Other Driver Gets a Ticket?
If the opposing driver is issued a citation and you receive a subpoena or other notice of his/her court date, make a point to attend. By listening to the opposing driver in court and speaking to the prosecutor, you may discover valuable information that proves helpful in pursuing your claims.

What if the Other Driver Does Not Get a Ticket?
Many people get upset when the investigating officer fails to ticket the other driver for causing the wreck, even though he/she was clearly at fault. While this frustration is understandable, the fact that no ticket was given does not defeat your claim against the opposing driver for personal injuries. In fact, the citation would only benefit you in your personal injury case if the opposing driver actually pled guilty to the charges, something he is not likely to do. Therefore, try not to concern yourself with whether the opposing driver receives the criminal punishment he deserves and focus instead on making sure you receive fair and adequate compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.

Should I Give a Recorded Statement?
Typically, the adverse driver’s insurance company will contact you and ask you to give a recorded statement over the telephone. While you are required to cooperate with your own insurance company, the law does not require you to give a statement to the opposing insurer. Therefore, this is not something you have to do. Depending on the circumstances, it may be in your best interest to give a recorded statement, but it is always better to obtain legal advice before doing so.

Do Not Blog, Tweet, E-Mail or Post
The internet has changed how people communicate and exchange information. It has also created new avenues for people to make admissions against their own interests—admissions that can be used against them later. Therefore, it is better not to blog, e-mail or post information on the internet that concerns your automobile wreck or the injuries you have suffered. The opposing insurance adjuster can obtain this information and later used to defeat or reduce your claims.

Keep All Paperwork
It is important to keep all paperwork related to your automobile wreck. This includes but is certainly not limited to:

  • the accident report
  • the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the witnesses
  • the name, address and telephone number of the adverse driver
  • all insurance information, including policy numbers, claim numbers and correspondence sent to and from insurers
  • information related to property damage including estimates to repair
  • photographs of the scene, the vehicles involved and the visible injuries
  • medical records and bills
  • correspondence sent to and from courts

Don’t throw anything away. It is always better to have the documents and not need them than to need them and not have them.

Contact Burnside Law Firm for Representation

Is it possible to resolve your case without retaining legal representation? Perhaps. In certain circumstances, we even suggest that individuals consider managing their own claims rather than enlisting our services, as it may prove more cost-effective. However, this is typically an exception rather than the norm. Automobile accidents entail intricate issues involving auto insurance agreements, liability statutes, hospital and medical provider lien rights, as well as the subrogation and reimbursement rights of health insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and others. Therefore, why not take advantage of a complimentary initial consultation to obtain expert guidance on whether retaining legal counsel is advisable?

If you have been injured in an automobile collision in Augusta or Athens, Georgia, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation.

To help us better understand your Personal Injury issue, please fill out our intake form.

DISCLAIMER: Every automobile wreck presents a unique set of facts and circumstances. These suggestions, on the other hand, are very general in nature and may or may not be appropriate in your particular case. Therefore, these suggestions are not intended as legal advice for your case and should not be relied upon as such. For legal advice and a free initial consultation about your automobile wreck case, please contact one of the attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP.


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2919 Professional Pkwy

Augusta, GA, 30907

Phone: (706) 432-8320


325 North Milledge Avenue

Athens, GA, 30601

Phone: (706) 227-4264

We have recovered tens of millions in settlements and verdicts

The attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP have over 30 years of collective experience handling personal injury claims. Over that time, we have helped hundreds of injured people recover the compensation they deserve and need in order to begin putting their lives back together. This list is just a sample of the recoveries we have obtained for some of our clients here and during our time at our former firm, Burnside Wall LLP. Obviously, success in obtaining significant judgments and settlements for other clients is no guarantee of success in your case. Each case must be evaluated and handled based on the individual merits of that particular case. To discuss the facts of your case and learn more about your legal rights, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation.

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Meet The Team

Thomas R. Burnside III Personal Injury Attorney

Thomas R Burnside III

Thomas R. Burnside III is a personal injury lawyer who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have suffered injury as a result of automobile collisions, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, work related accidents or other causes. With over 20 years of experience in personal injury law at both the trial and appellate court levels, Attorney Burnside has represented people with brain and head trauma...

Meet Thomas Burnside
Garon Muller Personal Injury Attorney

Garon Muller

Garon Muller is a trial lawyer who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have been seriously injured or damaged through the negligence or recklessness of others, including automobile collisions, workplace injuries, premises injuries, or defective products. Before beginning his practice in the representation of injured individuals, Mr. Muller served the community as an Assistant District Attorney...

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Robert MacGregor

Robert MacGregor

Robert MacGregor is an experienced trial attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia and South Carolina. At the Burnside Law Firm, Robert devotes his practice to protecting the rights of individuals who have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness and represents those who have been injured in automobile collisions or tractor-trailer accidents; because of a slip and fall; and in other general negligence actions.

Meet Robert MacGregor

Ashton Revollo

Ashton is a trial lawyer in Augusta, GA who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have suffered serious injuries or damages due to the negligent or reckless conduct of others, including automobile wrecks, job-related accidents, unsafe premises, or defective
products. Before beginning his practice, Ashton obtained his J.D., at Emory University School of Law, where he gained valuable courtroom experience as an intern assisting the District Attorney for DeKalb
County. After his time at Emory, Ashton received experience as a trial attorney at a respected personal injury firm in Atlanta before moving to Augusta. Over the course of his career, Ashton has assisted deserving clients in recovering millions of dollars in injury cases throughout Georgia.

Meet Ashton Revollo

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Erin Wren

After my car accident they helped me every step of the way! They were up front and answered any questions I had! They negotiated the insurance and got a higher settlement than was offered! I would definitely use them again!

Debbie Walker

In November 2017, I was in a car accident and I decided to seek out legal assistance. I chose to go with Burnside Law Firm, LLP because of their five star rating. My inital consultation was with attorney, Mr. Garon Muller. I knew immediately that I wanted Mr. Muller to take my case. His professionalism and expertise in personal injury made my decision easy. Mr. Muller maintained his professionalism throughout my case. He kept me updated on a regular basis via telephone or email. He was always available to me when I call. I did not have to wait 24 hours to get a call back from him. I would greatly recommend Mr. Muller and the Burnside Law Firm, LLP.

Rick Estep

Burnside Law Firm is who you want to represent you. Mr. Muller came to our house for a free consultation without hesitation. He guided us and overcame every obstacle we encountered. He secured the maximum insurance limits for us and we couldn't be more happy. If you are injured, DO NOT attempt to recoup compensation without the expertise of a trusted, skilled and able law firm to be your voice. THANK YOU MR. MULLER!!!

Alexander Hughes

Garon Muller with Burnside Law Firm makes client satisfaction his priority. Mr. Muller made sure that I had a lucid understanding during every discussion. He never made a decision without my input and made me feel like we were partners. Garon Muller was very professional and push for the maximum dollar amount from the insurance company. Me and my family considered ourselves blessed to have been represented by Garon Muller with Burnside Law Firm. We highly recommend Garon Muller and Burnside Law Firm! Burnside Law Firm staff are exceptional and exceeded our expectations.

Lynn Eldridge

I have known the Burnside family for many years. Recently Thomas was most helpful in getting my check following an auto collision. I highly recommend their firm.

Damien Williams

I definitely felt comfortable in there hands really good people.

Jacob Clements

Very very good law firm. Went above and beyond to make things right. Highly reccomend.

Barbara Huskinson

Burnside Law did what they said they would do. Garon Muller was great in communicating and looked out for my best interest in getting what was fair in my settlement. I would recommend Burnside to anyone.

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    2919 Professional Pkwy

    Augusta, GA, 30907

    Phone: (706) 432-8320


    325 North Milledge Avenue

    Athens, GA, 30601

    Phone: (706) 227-4264