accident compensation

accident compensation

(New Zealand) payment in respect of most accidents in New Zealand. While in the UK accident compensation is generally decided upon the basis of the TORT or DELICT systems and generally requires proof of fault, New Zealand introduced a different scheme in 1974. The concept is one of NO-FAULT compensation, and the principles upon which it is founded are community responsibility, comprehensive entitlement, complete rehabilitation, real compensation and administrative efficiency, so the injured person is compensated without the difficulties inherent in proving fault and will be sure of receiving payment. The payment may be much less than the ‘windfall’ damages often paid under the UK system. The right to raise a civil action for a matter covered by the scheme is withdrawn save for exemplary damages. The trigger for a claim is ‘personal injury accident’. This includes physical and mental consequences, medical misadventure, industrial injuries and incapacity, and actual bodily harm, including pregnancy and mental or nervous shock. It does exclude what might be called some of the vicissitudes of life, so does not include damage from heart attacks and brain episodes unless these result from the effort of abnormal or excessive stress or strain arising out of, and in the course of, employment. Disease, infection and the ageing process are excluded. The scheme is funded by earnings from a motor vehicle account and from a government-funded supplementary account. The scheme is administered by the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC), owned by the government.
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