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Health & disability

When you’re covered by ACC, and when you’re not

Conditions caused gradually: Covered only if work-related

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 30

In general ACC doesn’t cover conditions, diseases or infections that are caused gradually, rather than by a specific event. However, there are some exceptions to this, and a key one is when you’re exposed to something harmful at work over a period of time and as a result you develop a disease or infection or a condition like hearing loss or repetitive strain injury (RSI). For your claim to succeed you’ll have to show that:

  • your work tasks or work environment had a particular characteristic (like the presence of a harmful substance, or loud noise) that caused the harm, and
  • this characteristic isn’t found to any real extent outside your work, and
  • the risk of suffering the harm is significantly greater for people who do your particular work tasks or have your particular work environment than it is for other people.

    Note: For some specific occupational diseases, you don’t have to prove that your work tasks or environment were the cause. These diseases include conditions caused by asbestos, lead, arsenic or mercury. Here you only have to show that your job exposed you to the particular substance.

Because conditions that are caused gradually are only covered if they’re work-related, this means ACC won’t cover you if you develop a condition like RSI or hearing loss from a hobby or other activity in your non-work life.

Illnesses and infections are also covered if they were caused by medical treatment (see below, “Injuries caused by medical treatment: ‘Treatment injuries”). Otherwise, illnesses and infections aren’t covered by ACC.

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Accident compensation (ACC)

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Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)



Claims helpline: 0800 101 996
Treatment Injury and Sexual Abuse (sensitive claims): 0800 735 566
Accidental death: 0800 101 996
Deaf community fax: 0800 332 354
Email: claims@acc.co.nz

General enquiries

Phone: (04) 816 7400
Email: information@acc.co.nz


Phone: 0800 650 222
Email: complaints@acc.co.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner


Health and Disability advocates are available to help users of health services make complaints about their health service provider. Health and Disability advocates are free.

Sexual abuse claims (“Sensitive” claims)

ACC Sensitive Claims team

Phone: 0800 735 566
Email: sensitiveclaims@acc.co.nz

Find Support website – www.findsupport.co.nz

This is an ACC website that will help you find information and support. You can click on “Find a therapist” on the home page to find a therapist in your area who can help you begin the process of making an ACC claim.

Support organisations

Sexual abuse support centres


TOAHNNEST: Te Ohakii a Hine – National Network for Ending Sexual Violence Together has a list of places where you can get help.

Medical Council of NZ


The Medical Council registers doctors in New Zealand and has responsibilities in the areas of standards, conduct and competence.

Privacy Commissioner


The Privacy Commissioner has a wide range of functions, including investigating complaints about breaches of privacy, running education programmes, and examining proposed legislation and how it may affect individual privacy.



Phone: 0800 273 030

Email: info@wayfinders.org.nz

Wayfinders are a free national service that’s available to anyone who have questions about ACC or a specific ACC claim. Their service is available for people who may want an alternative way to interact with ACC rather than deal with ACC directly.

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