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ACC Files Complaint On Sensitive Claims Mailout

Immediate Release
25 January 2002

ACC Files Complaint On Sensitive Claims Mailout

ACC is filing a complaint with the New Zealand Law Society because of the content of Wakefield Associates leaflet offering help to sexual abuse victims.

The Christchurch lawyers want at least a 25% fee for their work.

Head of ACC Garry Wilson said the general publicity surrounding the issue has been confusing and disturbing to sexual abuse victims.

“Sexual abuse in New Zealand is a national disgrace.

“People who have been abused are vulnerable and need our sympathetic and compassionate help.

“To suggest these people are only after money and that ACC is their personal gravy train is appalling.

“I believe we get fewer false claims from this area, compared to any other”, said Mr Wilson.

The lump sum entitlement is designed to compensate people who suffer permanent damage from an injury. It applies to all injured people, not just sexual abuse victims.

To be eligible for a lump sum your injury has to happen on or after April 1 2002.

For example, someone who had their arm badly crushed in a car accident could apply for a lump sum.

ACC uses expert medical assessors to decide who can get a lump sum, only those entitled to it will receive it, said Mr Wilson.

“The lump sum for sexual abuse victims is the last port of call.

“The first thing ACC offers is counselling and other rehabilitation, and not all sexual abuse victims will be entitled to a lump sum”, said Mr Wilson.

To get cover for sexual abuse the existing process continues - a person visits their GP or Counsellor who then notifies ACC with a diagnosis on the mental injury.

ACC is going through a re-registration process with all the counsellors that work with us to make sure they are fit for the job.

“We have complete confidence that we will get the right type of treatment and the right type of cover to those who need it, said Mr Wilson.
“It is unfortunate that a mail drop like this has clouded the fact that ACC offers a good service to assist sexual abuse victims”.

What is a lump sum and who is eligible?

- Lump sums are a one-off non-taxable payment for permanent impairment (not for loss of enjoyment of life).
- To be eligible for a lump sum your injury must happen on or after April 1 2002.
- Compensation is only available for permanent impairment that is assessed at a level of 10% or greater.
- Claimants may receive a minimum payment of $2500 for a 10% whole-person impairment, up to a maximum of $100,000 for a permanent impairment of 80% or more.
- Lump sums are calculated by using the American Medical Association Guides – to the evaluation of impairment – 4th edition and the ACC companion to those guides.
- More seriously injured claimants receive proportionally greater compensation.
- Before a claimant can be assessed for a lump sum payment, ACC must receive a certificate from a registered medical practitioner indicating that impairment is permanent or stable.
- Claimants may be reassessed if their impairment worsens.


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