The Link between Physical and Mental Injury: A Redundant Paradigm for Determining Compensation under the Accident Compensation Act
29 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020 Last revised: 13 May 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
There is currently an inequitable gap in compensation under the Accident Compensation Act, whereby claimants who suffer from a mental injury after an accident but not a physical injury cannot get compensation. The purpose of this paper is to consider this gap in compensation by analysing a recent High Court Judgment, W v Accident Compensation. In this case, Collins J recognises that sometimes we will not always be able to establish a direct causal link between a physical and mental injury. However, that does not mean that we should not provide cover. Whilst Collins J’s judgment is aligned with current evidence around the causes of mental injury, this paper outlines the issues associated with such a policy change coming from the courts. Instead, this paper proposes that a legislative change is required to extend mental injury compensation to those that have suffered a mental injury from being in an accident, regardless of whether they also suffered a physical injury.
Keywords: ACC, mental injury, compensation, policy, law reform
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation