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ACC inflicts ‘double jeopardy’, says claimant

Media release 14 April 2014

ACC inflicts ‘double jeopardy’, says claimant


A disabled man in Auckland has twice had his weekly compensation stopped by ACC for amending the corporation's standard privacy release form despite a District Court ruling in the claimant’s favour.

ACC specialists have found Peter de Waal, aged 53, to be permanently disabled and suffering a whole body impairment rating of 38 per cent.

In July 2009, Mr de Waal’s compensation was stopped by ACC after he amended their privacy release form 167 to reflect a prior agreement with ACC.

Under this prior agreement, which a judge later found had been running smoothly since February 2001, ACC had agreed to contact Mr de Waal on a case-by-case basis whenever the corporation wished to release private information to a medical practitioner.

“Eight years later, however, ACC unilaterally demanded that I sign their 167 form,” said Mr de Waal. “They simply ignored their own privacy agreement with me. When I stuck to this original agreement, they cut me off my compensation three days after the birth of my first child when my partner was recovering from a cesarian operation.”

“In effect, ACC demanded the right to release any or all my private information to whoever they wished for the rest of my life, with no ability for me to check on what they were doing and why.”

In October 2012, Justice Joyce in the Auckland District Court found in Mr de Waal’s favour and ordered the resumption of his weekly compensation backdated to when it had been cut off.

But a month ago, on 14 March 2014, ACC again stopped Mr de Waal’s compensation after he inserted the same amendment into their privacy release form.

“I don't believe that ACC has the legal power to overturn a Court decision,” commented Mr de Waal. “But that’s what they’ve just done. So I ask: Is this right? I think that ACC is inflicting double jeopardy on me, by their second termination of my compensation in defiance of a prior Court ruling.”

“And I hear they're taking similar actions against other ACC claimants. That’s why I’m making this public stand.”

--

District Court ruling by Justice Joyce, October 2012:

“The appeal is allowed so that the Corporation's decision of 21 July 2009 is set aside.

“It will now be for the Corporation to inquire into and see to the meeting of such entitlements as in the meantime Mr de Waal may have lost out on on account of the suspension of entitlements effected by that decision.”

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