What I Should Have Done After a Car Accident While Overseas

Kia Morning
Kia Morning 🙁

Some of you might know what I was in a relatively minor car accident when I was on holidays in Seoul/Jeju Island about 3 weeks ago.

I thought it was a minor accident because we’re just shaken up by the bump and no blood was spilled by anyone. And it turns out that I had completely trivialised the entire thing so I’m writing this up so you guys know what’s involved and hopefully never have to experience it. While I’m writing this specific to my experience in Jeju Island, know that the experience should be similar enough worldwide and also in Singapore.

First thing, when we hit the other car, the impact was like a huge bumper car crash and we were jerked quite hard by the impact. The air bags in the car didn’t inflate so that kinda contributed to why I thought the accident was not that big a deal.

The worst part of the accident to me at that point was, what am I going to do now? I was in a country where there was a language barrier. And even though I have been studying Korean for the last 2 years, I am nowhere near fluent so how am I going to deal with it?

Fortunately, an off-duty employee was passing by and he came over to help us. Thing is, not everyone will be that lucky to have someone step up to help.

So first thing, turn off the engine of the car and pull up the handbrake; make sure that the car won’t move/roll off and cause even more chaos.

Next up, you should call up the car insurers and if it is a rental car, call the car rental company. Have your rental car agreement on hand as well. I called up the car rental company but the call didn’t connect so while the guy in the other car tried to call, I started taking pictures of the car mostly for the intention of Instagraming than for anything else.

I made the mistake of not uploading the photo of the damaged car onto Twitter/Facebook/Instagram soon after the accident. I would have tons of concerned people who would have told me what to do. At that point, I didn’t want people to freak out but now that I think about it, I should have.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had trivialised the entire accident so I didn’t seek medical attention soon after the accident since there wasn’t really much pain or aches after the accident anyway. Another big mistake.

About 2 weeks after the accident, I had a really acute ache and pain in my shoulders and lower back really suddenly. I later realised that I did sustain some kind of injury with that one jerk and it took a huge downpour to flag it up. The aches were so bad that I got a headache which got worse throughout the day and I became nauseous even. The speed at which the symptoms appeared and got worse was pretty terrifying. For a while, I even thought that I was going to die. 🙁

I went to see a Traditional Chinese Doctor and a Western Doctor but both gave me different opinions. The Western Doctor said that my aches and pains were muscular in nature and there shouldn’t be any other serious problems. The Western Doctor didn’t even think that I needed an X-ray or MRI scan that everyone had nagged at me to get.

The Traditional Chinese Doctor on the other hand, said that my injuries were internal in nature and that’s why it took so long to surface. While the pain flared up because of the rain, it wasn’t rheumatism as many people thought. It merely meant that the body isn’t able to deal with changes in the environment. That last part about how the rheumatism-like symptom was especially important. It will affect your insurance claim.

I’ve got a travel insurance plan and so needless to say, I submitted a claim for my visits to the Traditional Chinese Doctor and the Western Doctor. Then came the questions from the Insurance Company. I was asked why didn’t I make a police report about the car accident and why it took so long for me to seek medical attention.

I was quite surprised actually. I didn’t know that a police report had to be made for a car accident. Besides, the guy in the other car and the car rental company didn’t mention anything about it. Fortunately, the Insurance Company accepted my explanation of inexperience in such matters and how there was a language barrier.

Also, about why it took so long for me to seek medical attention, I felt fine at that point in time so I thought I didn’t need to seek medical help BUT I found out subsequently that it would have helped a lot when it came to claim submission if I had gone to a hospital or something while still in Seoul and then came back to Singapore for a follow-up check.

Anyway, at the end of it all, I’m still recuperating from the aches and still getting a headache on and off when I put too much stuff in my bag. So yeah, that’s why I’ve been missing from so many concerts and events coz I am forced to slow it down and take it easy. 🙁 Oh well. Health is critical right?

I know this account is not fully comprehensive because I don’t want to write a huge and detailed essay about every single aspect of the whole incident and post-incident experience. Still, if you ever want to know anything more, I’m happy to answer questions in the comments section.

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