Overview of the ACC scheme

What is the accident compensation scheme?

New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme provides 24-hour, no-fault insurance cover for personal injury to New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand. In return for giving no-fault accident cover, the ACC scheme takes away the right to sue for personal injuries covered by the scheme (except for exemplary damages).

Note: If the injury suffered is not covered by the accident compensation scheme, then court proceedings for damages (compensation) may be brought; for example, by suing the person responsible for the injury for negligence. Exemplary damages may also be available, whether or not the personal injury has ACC cover. Exemplary damages are aimed at punishing the wrongdoer for their conduct, rather than at providing compensation to the person who was injured.

What cover does the accident compensation scheme provide?

Costs covered under the accident compensation scheme include:

  • treatment
  • loss of earnings (weekly compensation)
  • social rehabilitation (aimed at restoring the claimant’s everyday independence outside the workplace) and vocational rehabilitation (aimed at restoring the claimant’s independence in their working life)
  • lump sums for permanent impairment (disability).

(See “ACC entitlements” in this chapter.)

Where injury occurs, the primary focus is on rehabilitation. The aim is to restore, to the greatest degree possible, the injured person’s health, independence, and participation.

Who administers the scheme?

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) administers New Zealand’s accident compen­sation scheme.

ACC is a Crown entity that has responsibility for:

  • promoting measures to prevent injury
  • collecting personal injury cover levies
  • determining whether claims for injury are covered by the accident compensation scheme and providing entitlements to those who are eligible
  • paying compensation
  • buying health and disability support services to treat, care for, and rehabilitate injured people.

What is the law that governs the scheme?

The Accident Compensation Act 2001 is the principal Act under which ACC operates. The Act aims to enhance the public good and to provide a fair and sustainable scheme for managing personal injury. The Act seeks to ensure positive claimant interactions with ACC through the development and operation of a Code of ACC Claimants’ Rights (see “The Code of ACC Claimants’ Rights” in this chapter). The Act also has a number of regulations relating to rehabilitation, reviews and appeals, levies and lump sum compensation.

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