Employment Law

ACC top up

New Zealand’s ACC scheme is unique in that it provides accident compensation for everyone in the country, plus doesn’t allow the victim to recover any shortfall (ACC only pays up to 80% of the actual losses suffered).

Now, the law has changed and allows recovery of the missing 20% when the losses were caused through criminal acts. And because breaches of the H&S Act are also prosecuted as a criminal offence, that means the Courts are now in a position to top any ACC shortfall for the victim. In this case, the Court looked at the victims lifetime earning potential and applied an (as admitted by the Court) arbitrary calculation for the losses (which also coincidentally almost excatly equals 20% as calculated under ACC).

That case presents a significant shift. It has always been a gap in the system that victims could not recover the full amount of their losses from the perpetrator. No one wants US style exemplary damages cases, but there is no reason why one should not be able to recover the full amount of the loss and damages suffered through someone elses crime.