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Contributed by Morgan Speight and current to 1 March 2017

Circumstances that are covered

ACC can provide cover in two distinct circumstances:
  1. Where a pregnancy occurs as a result of a rape - section 20 (2) (a) Accident Compensation Act 2001
  2. Where a pregnancy occurs a result of a failed female sterilisation procedure - section 20 (2) (b) Accident Compensation Act 2001
Pregnancy is recognised as a personal injury where it happens as a result of either of these circumstances - Allenby v H [2011] NZSC 71.

Circumstances that are not covered

  • Pregnancy that is the result of consensual sex
  • Pregnancy that is the result of a failed vasectomy
  • Pregnancy that is the result of a failed contraceptive method (not including sterilisation procedures).

Who is covered?

  • Where the claim is for a pregnancy that will be covered, the pregnant person will be entitled to ACC benefits.
  • Where a child sustains ante-natal injuries, but is born alive then:
    • That child is entitled to ACC benefits
    • The biological mother of the child will only be entitled to ACC benefits if she also suffers an injury to herself (this can be a physical, mental or treatment injury) - Harrild v Director of Proceedings [2003] NZCA 12
  • Where a woman becomes infertile as a result of a treatment and it is an unintended and unexpected consequence. This will include a treatment that is intended to render a person infertile for a limited time, but their infertility lasts for longer than the intended and expected time period - S R v Accident Compensation Corporation [2011] NZACC 355

Areas that are uncertain

This area of the law is currently undergoing a lot of development, and as a result, there are some areas that are uncertain. It is currently unclear:
  • How long ACC entitlements will last for a pregnancy that attracts ACC entitlements;
  • The kind of treatments which will count as a sterilisation procedure, and how far this cover will extend.
This can be a complicated area of law, and it may be advantageous to consult a lawyer if you think that your pregnancy may be eligible for ACC cover, particularly if ACC declines your claim.

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