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Communtity Law Manual | Accident compensation (ACC) | Nervous shock and other mental conditions: Sometimes covered

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

Nervous shock and other mental conditions: Sometimes covered

Accident Compensation Act 2001, ss 21, 26, 27

Although most ACC claims involve physical injuries, significant mental conditions (“mental injuries”) can also be covered in some cases. This includes mental conditions caused by the following events:

  • Rape and sexual abuse ACC covers mental harm like depression and anxiety disorders resulting from rape or sexual abuse. We explain this in more detail in the next section: see “Sexual abuse: Cover for resulting mental harm”.
  • Physical injuries – Mental conditions are covered by ACC if they’re caused by physical injuries that are themselves covered under the ACC scheme. This might include depression caused by a physical injury that restricts your movement and enjoyment of life, or a panic disorder that was caused by scarring from a serious car accident and that prevents you going out in public. Mental injuries caused simply by the experience of being in an accident aren’t covered. There’s also no cover for mental injury resulting from physical injuries suffered by someone else.
  • Sudden traumatic events at work – A mental condition is covered if it’s the result of an event at work that you saw or heard directly and that could reasonably be expected to cause you mental harm – for example if the bank you work in is robbed, or if you’re a train driver and you unavoidably run over and kill someone lying on train tracks.
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