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We are right in vast bulk of cases: ACC

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017

The Accident Compensation Corporation is rejecting claims by up to 300,000 Kiwis for no-fault, accidental injury compensation each year, a new report claims, but ACC disputes the figure and says it mostly gets it right.

The report, backed by the Law Foundation and Otago University, says too many people are missing out on injury compensation because the ACC is using a "narrow, legalistic" test to determine whether it will fund a person's treatment or not.

The ACC's policies are also "incredibly complex and difficult to navigate", lead author Warren Forster says.

Unsuccessful claimants who then challenged ACC's decisions found themselves pitted against a huge, billion-dollar specialist Crown agency, he said.

That undermined the intent of the scheme to help injured people get back up on their feet sooner.

But ACC chief executive Scott Pickering says the figure of people missing out is more like 70,000, of the two million claims it receives each year.

A lot of complexity had been built into the scheme over 43 years he believes ACC get it right in the vast majority of cases.

"You can have an approved claim but there will be a decision within that claim that's denied, like taxis, weekly compensation, surgery," he told RNZ.

He said the scheme was generous and it was important people got their entitlements.

"It's really important we manage the treatment based on their needs and what they're entitled to.

"There has to be boundaries so people are aware of what they'll receive", Mr Pickering said.

Mr Forster has called for the establishment of an independent Personal Injury Commissioner to oversee the ACC. He and report authors say they have drafted legislative amendments to the Accident Compensation Act to start a conversation about the change.

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