Updated July. 18, 2013 03:47
A 47-year-old man living in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province was hit by a speeding car in 2007 and broke his cervical spine, which paralyzed the body below the neck. About a year later, his wife told him to get a false divorce to receive better social security benefits, to which he agreed. After the supposedly false divorce, however, his wife took his damage compensation of 200 million won (178,000 U.S. dollars) and their children and left him. He tried to see the kids but could not reach his former wife.
Like the man mentioned above, traffic accident caused by foul driving tends to destroy both the body and family of the victims. Such victims often have to quit their jobs due to disabilities, leading to financial difficulties as well as family breakdown.
Dr. Jeong Nam-ji at the Korea Transport Institute gave a talk about damages by foul driving Tuesday at a seminar titled Stop Foul Driving and Improve Driving Practice at the headquarters of Samsung Fire Insurance in downtown Seoul. The survey was conducted in May via telephone and Internet of 645 victims, including 188 who became disabled.
According to the survey, those who were diagnosed as disabled from class one to six have experienced serious problems following the accident, including job loss and family breakdown. Among the disabled victims, 70.7 percent said they lost their jobs. Most of them (80.5 percent) said they resigned due to disabilities. Those who were asked to resign due to problems in performing their duties or fired without notification by their companies were 12.8 percent.
Getting a job again was yet another story. Only 26.3 percent of disabled victims could get a job again. Job-seeking periods were 3.1 years for disabled and 1.65 years for victims with light injuries. The average job-hunting period in Korea last year was 2.5 years.
Forty one out of 188 disabled victims said they experienced separated from their spouses, including divorce, separation and disappearance from home. But if singles were excluded, about one third of married victims were separated from their spouses. About 60 percent of them said financial difficulty was the reason for the separation. Those who said their physical problems and disabilities were the reasons for the separation were 34.1 percent.
Many victims with physical and financial stress have underwent depression, alcohol-dependence or violence toward family members as they suffered financial difficulties due to disabilities after traffic accident, said Jang Ok-hee, a counselor at the Korea Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities by Traffic Accident. "The government must help those victims to prevent family breakdown.