Madeleine on ACC

Madeleine Flanagan from M&M has a very good post on ACC as it relates to Tort law and how the system is failing people from a peronal and legal perspective. It deserves a wider audience it is very well written. Now before you dismiss Madeleine as some sort of mad christian nutter you really should attend Auckland Bloggers Drinks before making that assessment. I took Cactus with me last time and Cactus told me Madeleine wasn’t at all as she expected and actually enjoyed her company. Now for those who know Cactus that is VERY difficult to achieve. Now onto Madeleine’s very good post.

There is not point in repeating what most bloggers of my political persuasion have already opined, I?ll just throw down a few thoughts from my own perspective as an ACC client.

My first point is that ACC is not welfare. It is an Accident Compensation Scheme. Accident compensation is about restoring a victim of an accident that was not their fault to as close as possible the state they were in pre-accident. Tort law is the area of law that, in the absence of state interference, covers injury caused by people?s negligence ? what we call ?accidents? here in New Zealand. Tort law says that you must take your victim as you find them; restoration, assessment of harm, is not to be based on the average person but on that person, the victim.

The whole idea behind ACC was to stop lawyers enriching themselves and impoverishing their clients by pursuing cases of fault for accidents and the avoidance of fault. Madeleine is quite right when she says that the focus should be on the person who suffered the “accident”.

My next point that I?d like you to keep in mind as you read this is that I think that ACC should be private and fault based. This is my ideal. My ideal is not reality as in New Zealand, accident compensation is state run. While it remains state funded, while the option to sue my injurer remains unavailable to me by statute, it must function as a just and fair accident compensation scheme, run in line with tort jurisprudence.

Right there is the answer to all the problems that besets ACC. It needs to turn from a no fault system to a fault system even if that fault lies with ones own stupidity. As it is now ACC is merely another welfare department doing a sub-optimal job for the taxpayers and for the people the system was set up to help in the first place.

Madeleine then goes on to outline exactly how appalling the ACC scheme has become. I know how she feels because i am going through exactly the same type of malarky except in my case it IS with a private insurer who is going to become very famous if they continue down the path they have chosen.

She finishes;

If you think I am starting to sound like a bludger who wants to get picky whilst resting on the taxpayer I remind you that ACC is not welfare, it is compensation, it is supposed to restore me to my pre-accident life because, due to no fault of my own, I was a victim of someone else?s negligence.? This policy will fall well short of that goal. If I am made to go waitressing our family will have to take a $30,000+ drop in pay and I?ll be stuck with a mind-numbing, dead-end job. Why? because I lawfully stopped at a traffic light and the state has set up the law so that the person who injured me was allowed to just walk away, I cannot sue and we are all penalised so hard via taxation that only the wealthy can afford to pay twice and get private accident insurance? How is that just?

I am not saying that I don?t think I should have to go back to work, when/if I am recovered and able to unless I have a job every bit as excellent as the job I had before the accident (that is probably unrealistic as I had it very good) but it is reasonable to want something close surely? To want something at least in the ball-park pay wise and with a future attached it it? Is that asking too much given that several years of pain-hell will have passed before I ever/if I ever get to that point?

If ACC cannot provide good support and restore people to something at least resembling the victim of an accident?s pre-injury life then it needs to be axed and handed over to the private sector. It cannot, see above, so axe it now.

To those of you insisting it remain state owned and protesting raises in levies ask yourself, how would you cope if you? were injured and were in my situation? Your career cut-off, your income slashed, the treatment options that were working now just out of reach and your future bleak? Is it worth the socialist-joy of knowing that ?we own it??

A better question, if you had to pay for accident compensation and you had the money to do so would you choose a company who gave the cover as outlined above or would shop around?

Go and read her story and then tell me that ACC is best. i of course await with baited breathe the immediate posting of the defence of ACC by the usual trolls who won’t go and read Madeleine’s story.