Home | Browse Topics | Health & disability | Accident compensation (ACC) | Nervous shock and other mental conditions: Sometimes covered

Health & disability

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.

Did this answer your question?

Accident compensation (ACC)

Where to go for more support

Community Law


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

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.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top