Accident Compensation Corporation 

What things can I claim for under ACC?

ACC is New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme. It provides no-fault personal injury insurance cover to all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. 

This includes mental injury (due to a criminal act or resulting from physical injury), some forms of damage to prostheses, and death due to a physical injury. It can also include injury which happens gradually as a result of your work.

Compensation can be in the form of payments and / or help with the cost of treatment and rehabilitation.

ACC cover is provided in place of the ability to sue for personal injury.

You are not covered by ACC if your personal injury has been caused by a degenerative condition or an age-related condition or illness.

If you want more information about whether ACC covers your particular injury, see the ACC website.

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How do I make a claim under ACC?

If you get injured, your first step is to get treatment for the injury. The health professional who provides your treatment should help you fill in the appropriate form to register your ACC claim. If this doesn’t happen, ask your treatment provider about filling out an ACC45 form. There is a list of treatment providers that can register ACC claims on the ACC website.

You'll need to lodge your application within 12 months of your injury (late claims are allowed only in some cases).

ACC can generally get back to you with their decision within 21 days. They’ll tell you whether your claim has been accepted, and what kinds of assistance you are entitled to.  

More information about how to make an ACC claim is on the ACC website.

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I slipped on wet flooring outside a bar and hurt my leg. Can I get compensation from the bar owner?

It’s a good idea to let the bar owner know what happened so that they can take action to prevent further mishaps, but you can’t claim any compensation from the bar because ACC covers all personal injury claims in New Zealand. This means you can’t sue anyone for your personal injury (except for exemplary damages - where the court orders someone to pay money to the person they caused injury to, as punishment). This rule applies to overseas visitors as well.  

You can claim compensation from ACC for your injury as long as you meet all the requirements. See the previous question for how to claim.

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Can I get ACC cover if I get sick?

ACC generally doesn’t cover common illnesses, but you could be covered if the illness is caused by exposure to - for example – a poison, asbestos or work-related exposure to disease (for example legionnaire’s disease).

You can read more about when illness counts as a personal injury, in the Community Law Manual.

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Am I covered if I am injured as a result of medical treatment?

You may be eligible for assistance from ACC if you are injured as a result of medical treatment, whether it has happened during diagnosis, as a result of the treatment or from lack of treatment.

In general you are only covered if the treatment was provided by a registered medical professional (e.g. dentist, doctor, nurse). However it’s worth claiming even if your treatment was from an unregistered provider as ACC may still consider your claim.

You will need to file a claim with the health professional you believe caused the injury or, if that is not possible, another health professional.

ACC has information to help you make a claim for a treatment injury.

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Can I get help from ACC if a family member dies from an injury?

ACC cover may be available to the deceased’s family when someone dies as a result of an accident, a work-related disease or infection, or medical treatment, even if the deceased had other insurance policies, and regardless of how old they were, or how or where the injury happened.

Families of New Zealand residents fatally injured on a short trip overseas, and families of visitors who are fatally injured in New Zealand, may also be covered by ACC.

ACC may be able to help: 

  • the deceased’s partner (even if they were living apart at the time);
  • the deceased’s children (including children they cared for, who aren’t the deceased’s natural or adopted children);
  • other dependents of the deceased (anyone financially dependent on the deceased due to a mental or physical disability).

The kind of assistance ACC can provide includes:

  • a funeral grant 
  • a survivor’s grant 
  • childcare payments to the caregiver of the deceased’s children
  • weekly compensation to dependents who relied financially on the deceased

 To find out more you can visit the ACC website.  

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I feel that ACC is not treating me fairly. What are my rights?

The Code of Claimants Rights outlines what your rights are when you are dealing with ACC (but does not cover any issues of entitlement).

For example, as an ACC claimant you have the right to be treated fairly, and with dignity and respect, to have a support person (e.g. if you need to meet with ACC over a complaint), and to be fully informed about what is happening with your claim.

If you feel that ACC has not respected your rights under the Code you have several avenues for complaint:

Complaining to the ACC staff member
If you feel your rights under the Code have been breached, you can complain to the person who is dealing with your claim or, speak to their team leader or branch manager. You might decide with ACC that mediation is an option for resolving the dispute (this means an independent mediator would be brought in to try to help you and ACC come to an agreement).

Complaining to Customer Support Service
If you aren’t comfortable with complaining to the ACC staff member or their team leader or branch manager, you can make a complaint by sending a completed complaints form to their Customer Service Centre -

ACC’s Customer Support Service
Freepost 264
PO Box 892
Hamilton

Phone: 0800 650 222
Fax: 0800 750 222
Email: Complaints@acc.co.nz

Complaint to Office of the Complaints Investigator
You can make a formal complaint to the Office of the Complaints Investigator at any time.

The Office of the Complaints Investigator looks into complaints and can direct ACC to apologise and find a solution if that is appropriate. To make a complaint to the Office of the Complaints Investigator, send a completed ACC709 complaint form (available on the ACC website and from ACC branches) to the Customer Support Service address given above.

Other agencies you can complain to:

More about making a complaint about the ACC is on their website.

If your complaint is about an ACC decision regarding a claim, read the next question.

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Who do I complain to about an ACC decision regarding my claim?

If you are unhappy with an ACC decision about a claim you made, you can talk to the person you’ve been dealing with at ACC or contact their Customer Support team (call 0800 650 222 or email complaints@acc.co.nz).

If this does not resolve the issue, you can apply to ACC for an independent review or ask ACC to arrange for mediation. If you choose to apply for a review you’ll need to do this within three months of the date of the decision.

An ACC review is a hearing at which you can present your case to the reviewer. You don’t have to appear in person, but it’s recommended that you do (you can bring a support person with you and a lawyer to represent you). ACC pays for the costs of the review but if you bring a lawyer you’ll need to pay your lawyer’s fees.

More information about ACC reviews is on the ACC website. 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the review, you can appeal to the District Court. You would generally need to do so within 28 days of receiving the ACC review decision. More information about this is on the ACC website.

Note that if the ACC decision you wish to appeal was made under the repealed 1972 or 1982 Accident Compensation Acts (this usually means that the injury occurred before 1992) then your appeal should be directed to the Accident Compensation Appeal Authority.

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Who can support me in my dealings with ACC?

Whether you are about to make a complaint, or just want some support and advice after you have made a claim, you can ask for help from an ACC advocate at any time.

An ACC advocate is someone independent of ACC (e.g. from a community law centre or health support group) who is willing to speak to ACC on your behalf and clarify any issues you have during the claims process.

Free ACC advocacy is available through Linkage Ltd (on 0800 123 4ACC or 0800 123 4222), which is contracted to ACC to provide this service. There are other ACC advocates available, some of whom charge a fee. Your local CAB can help you find an ACC advocate.  

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My ACC claim is taking a long time to resolve and I need the money.

In general ACC will make a decision about a claim within 21 days of receiving it. If additional information was needed then it could take up to four months from the date the claim was lodged - but you’ll be notified if this happens. You can’t get help from ACC until your claim has been approved.

If you haven’t heard from ACC about a month after you sent in your claim, contact them to find out what’s holding it up. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer you can make a complaint.

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Can ACC stop my payments if I don't show up to my medical appointments?

You must have a good reason for missing appointments as ACC can cancel an entitlement if a claimant unreasonably refuses or fails to have medical or surgical treatment.
 
You can also lose some or all of your entitlement if you won’t agree to or won’t comply with your treatment plan (without good reason) or if you don’t comply with a requirement under the Accident Compensation Act in relation to your claim.

There are also restrictions to what a person can be entitled to if the injury was deliberately self-inflicted or it occurred while the claimant was committing a criminal offence.

ACC must give you advance notice in writing if they are going to cancel or suspend your entitlement.

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If I have to take time off work due to an injury which is covered by ACC, do I have to take this as sick leave?

If the injury is work-related, your employer must pay you “first week compensation”, and ACC will pay you compensation for any additional weeks which you have to be off work – none of this time should be taken as sick leave.

If the injury is not work-related, your employer is entitled to ask you to use your sick leave entitlement for your first week off work.

See our Sick leave page for more about this.