Few things can ruin a vacation faster than an injury, especially if your primary reason for visiting New Zealand was to get your fill of adrenaline-pumping activities.
I mean, you can’t exactly go bungy-jumping with a broken leg now, can you?
But as if you needed another reason to love New Zealand, they have this most extraordinary scheme called the Accident Compensation Corporation or ACC.
It’s basically a Crown entity that’s charged with administering the country’s universal no-fault accidental injury scheme, which, get this, applies to ANYONE in New Zealand, whether they are a resident or a temporary visitor (i.e., a tourist).
And if that doesn’t make you feel a lot more confident about taking the Zorb out on a spin, you should also know that this sort of “no-fault” coverage means that the ACC will help you out regardless of who or what actually caused your injury. (Yep, you’ll still get assistance with injury-related costs even if you happened to, say, break your ankle while strolling down a hill after chugging half a six-pack. Crazy, I know.)
So, how do you get help from the ACC if you do get injured?
For starters, you need to go visit a healthcare professional or a doctor at a medical centre or a hospital. (Don’t just put Vicks Vaporub on your injury, for the love of God.)
The attending physician will then treat your injury, help you fill out an ACC form, and even send off the said form for you. You’ll need to pay a partial amount for this first medical visit, but you can avail of a refund for much of the cost afterward if your ACC claim is accepted. Should you be in New Zealand for work purposes, the healthcare professional can also produce a medical certificate for you in case you need to take a few days off to recover.
The ACC will contact you via phone or through a letter if your claim is successful, so remember to keep the receipt for your treatment costs. The following are examples of the sort of medical assistance that the ACC can provide:
- Treatment costs;
- Prescription medication costs;
- Compensation for lost earnings;
- Transport to and from treatment;
- Recovery aids and equipment;
- Assistance with chores around the house;
- Assistance with getting back to work.
To be clear, the ACC covers personal injuries (i.e., physical injuries, mental injuries brought about by physical injuries, criminal activity, or any traumatic work-related event, and damage done to prostheses that are meant to replace parts of the body, such as a prosthetic leg, etc.) that are caused by any of the following:
- Occupational hazards;
- Medical treatments;
- Sexual abuse.
Lastly, it should be noted that there are certain injuries that the ACC does not cover, such as:
- Pre-existing conditions or illnesses;
- Stress, hurt feelings, or heartbreak (i.e., if you get friendzoned or busted by a hot Maori or Kiwi, sorry, mate, you’re on your own);
- Aging-related symptoms;
- Non-traumatic hernias, such as the sort you could get from coughing or sneezing;
- Gradual process injuries that aren’t caused by occupational hazards, such as skin rashes born of a stubborn insistence on using Vicks Vaporub as a cure-all;
- Damage to items that aren’t meant to replace body parts, such as hearing aids, glasses, or pacemakers.
Stay safe, everyone!