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Health & disability

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

Injuries caused by accidents

What kinds of things does “accident” cover?

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 25

An “accident” means a specific event where your body is subject to some force or resistance outside your body (including when you’re injured in a fall), or where you move suddenly to avoid an external force or resistance, or where you twist your body in some way.

The term “accident” also includes:

  • breathing in or swallowing a gas, liquid or foreign object on one specific occasion (long-term exposure at work to harmful substances like asbestos can also be covered under a separate ACC category (see: “Conditions caused gradually: Covered only if work-related)
  • burns, or exposure to radiation or rays on one specific occasion (but usually not sunburn: see below, “What aren’t “accidents”?”)
  • absorbing chemicals through your skin over a period of up to one month
  • a maternal birth injury that occurs during labour and childbirth (see below).

What aren’t “accidents”?

The following things aren’t “accidents” and won’t be covered by ACC:

  • injuries not caused by any specific event – for example, if you develop muscle pain after a long drive
  • injuries like slipped discs that are caused by sneezing or coughing fits (because they’re caused by forces inside your body, not external forces)
  • catching common illnesses like colds or flu by breathing in viruses or bacteria
  • sunburn, hypothermia and other conditions caused by exposure to the elements (sun, rain, cold, wind and so on), unless your normal activities are restricted by the condition for at least a month
  • damage to your teeth or dentures (false teeth) caused by natural use of those teeth or dentures. So if you break a tooth while eating, ACC won’t cover you.

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Accident compensation (ACC)

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

ACC’s website provides information to help you navigate the ACC system. It includes information on the claims process, possible entitlements and how to resolve an issue with ACC.

Website: www.acc.co.nz

General questions 
Email: information@acc.co.nz
Phone: 04 816 7400
Claims helpline: 0800 101 996

Sensitive claims
Email: sensitiveclaims@acc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 735 566
Free therapy services for sensitive claims: www.findsupport.co.nz

Deaf services email: deaf@acc.co.nz

Language and cultural services phone:  0800 101 996

Request your personal information:  www.acc.co.nz/contact/request-for-personal-information

Way Finders

Way Finders is a free nationwide independent service that can provide you with general or specific advice about ACC and help you navigate the system.

Website: www.wayfinders.org.nz 
Email: info@wayfinders.org.nz
Phone: 0800 273 030

Talk Meet Resolve (TMR)

Talk Meet Resolve is a free independent nationwide service that can assist you in resolving your dispute with ACC.

Website: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Email: info@talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

Complete the webform: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz/contact

Medical Council of NZ

The Medical Council of New Zealand is responsible for ensuring doctors are competent and fit to practise. The website contains a register of practising doctors.

Website: www.mcnz.org.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 803 909

To make a complaint online: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

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