Accidents in New Zealand
The following information includes answers to common questions relating to New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme and is provided for its specific relevance to overseas guests and visitors regardless of where accidents occur – in and around properties, when sightseeing or when travelling within New Zealand.
The simple message is that anyone who visits New Zealand is automatically covered under certain circumstances for personal injury as the result of an accident. This means should the personal injury meet the ACC cover criteria, ACC will be able to help with some of the medical costs.
ACC is not a replacement for personal health insurance or travel insurance. ACC cannot help with medical costs once visitors leave New Zealand, such as ongoing treatment costs or a guest’s inability to work then they arrive back home. All guests should have robust travel insurance to cover these eventualities.
Everyone in New Zealand has 24 hour, seven day a week, no fault comprehensive injury cover through ACC.
Visitors to New Zealand
If visitors are injured during their visit to New Zealand, ACC may be able to help with the cost of treatment and support their needs while they are here. It is important to be aware that visitors cannot sue for personal injury – ACC replaces this right. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation costs while visitors are in New Zealand – it is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not cover illness, disrupted travel plans or emergency travel for visitors to get back home.
To Qualify for ACC
ACC support may be available to visitors if they are:
- Injured in an accident within New Zealand;
- In certain circumstances suffering from a health problem related to working in New Zealand;
- Injured as a result of medical treatment whilst in New Zealand;
- Dealing with the mental effects of a sexual assault or abuse suffered in New Zealand.
The injury must have happened in New Zealand. There is no cover if:
- Visitors are injured while aboard the boat or plane on which they travelled to New Zealand or getting on or off that boat or plane;
- Visitors are injured while travelling around the country in the craft they arrived in such as a yacht or cruise ship;
- If visitors take an excursion during their visit that takes them 300 nautical miles or more from New Zealand.
The reason ACC advises visitors “may” get cover is because each accident and injury registered has to be measured against their rules for covering accidents to determine whether it meets the legislation as set out in the Accident Compensation Act of New Zealand.
It must be stressed that ACC is not a replacement for travel insurance or medical insurance, it is only a mechanism to help with some costs of someone has an accident (personal injury).
Eligibility for injury cover for everyone in New Zealand.
Everyone in New Zealand is eligible for comprehensive injury cover no matter what they are doing or where they are when they are injured; no matter how the injury happened; and no matter what age they are or whether they are working.
What injuries are covered?
Wounds, lacerations, sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations and work-related injuries such as hearing loss may all be covered. Most physical injuries are covered if they’re caused by:
- An accident;
- A condition that comes on gradually because of work (gradual process);
- Medical treatment;
- Sexual assault or abuse.
There is a specific definition of “injury” in the Accident Compensation Act 2001, which is the law that ACC must apply when considering applications for claims and assistance. ACC has to be satisfied that a personal injury has been suffered which can mean any of:
- Physical injury;
- Mental injury suffered due to a physical injury;
- Mental injury caused by certain criminal acts;
- Damage (other than wear or tea) to dentures or prostheses that replace part of the human body;
- Death due to a physical injury.
Definition of physical injury
Physical injuries can include a number of things and ACC considers that a physical injury has not occurred unless there is actual damage to the body from the injury. Neither is a diagnosis of pain sufficient to establish there has been a physical injury – an actual diagnosis of the injury is required.
As no two injuries are the same, the assistance ACC is able to offer varies depending on the circumstances. It is important to talk to ACC to confirm if visitors are eligible for particular services.
What doesn’t ACC Cover?
ACC doesn’t cover:
- Stress, hurt feelings, loss of enjoyment or other emotional issues (these may be covered if these are the direct result of a physical injury or sexual abuse);
- Injuries related mainly to ageing. That means there is no cover for injuries to teeth from normal use, or heart (cardio-vascular) disease or brain (cerebro-vascular) disease, unless it stems from medical treatment or a work injury involving abnormal or excessively intense effort;
- non-traumatic hernias (eg. From coughing or sneezing, or not directly as a result of trauma);
- injuries that come on gradually and are not due to a work task (non-occupational gradual process injuries).
Further information can be obtained by visiting the ACC website – www.acc.co.nz
Specific questions should be directed to ACC either by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or Freephone 0800 101 996
Our thanks to Greta of ACC for the information contained in this article.
Members are also reminded that when an accident occurs on our properties we are first responders. The following are important reminders:
- To have emergency contact data readily available, ie. ambulance, medical centre, Healthline.
- Have a first aid kit handy. St John’s and Red Cross both sell excellent kits and first aid handbooks.
- At least one host should be qualified in administering first aid.
- Remember your First Aid Register and Health & Safety procedures.