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Communtity Law Manual | Accident compensation (ACC) | Lump-sum payments for permanent impairments

Costs covered by ACC: Treatment, compensation and other support

Lump-sum payments for permanent impairments

What compensation can I get for permanent injuries?

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 69, Schedule 1, clauses 54–62

Lump-sum compensation is payable for permanent impairments – for example, if you lose a finger in a machine accident at work. These are one-off, non-taxable payments that are paid on top of other ACC entitlements.

These lump-sum payments don’t include compensation for pain and suffering, or for loss of enjoyment of life, resulting from your impairment. However, permanent impairment can include not only physical impairments but also mental harm caused by rape and sexual abuse: see “Sexual abuse: Cover for resulting mental harm” in this chapter.

Eligibility for lump-sum compensation is based on a medical assessment of the claimant’s impairment. The ACC-appointed assessor must decide if the claimant is permanently impaired, and if so, to what degree or “percentage”. In assessing impairment, ACC uses the American Medical Association guidelines. To qualify for lump-sum compensation, a claimant must have suffered a minimum threshold of 10 percent degree of impairment.

Usually, assessment for lump-sum compensation takes place after ACC receives information, from a registered medical practitioner, that the claimant’s personal injury has stabilised, and that it is likely that there is permanent impairment.

Alternatively, if after two years the practitioner states that the claimant’s personal injury has not stabilised but that permanent impairment is likely, an assessment can take place.

For information about laws protecting disabled people generally, see the chapter “Disability rights”.

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