Three claimants successful in appeals against ACC

Three Otago residents will receive entitlements after winning appeals against the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Judge Roderick Joyce QC heard seven cases in the Dunedin District Court at the end of January, the judgements of which were recently made public.

Steven MacDonald, of Oamaru, Tania Mercer-Black, of Dunedin, and Samuel Shepherd, of Dunedin, won their cases.

The other four appeals were dismissed.

ACC was ordered to pay Mrs Mercer-Black weekly entitlements denied to her between 2007 and 2010.

She injured her back in 2003 and started receiving ACC payments, which were suspended when the corporation determined she had ''vocational independence'' and was able to work.

After two reviews, her case came before the court and Judge Joyce found she was entitled to the shortfall in payments dating back to 2007, as well as legal costs.

Mrs Mercer-Black now had part-time work and said it was more a victory of principle.

''The success for me was somebody recognising that I was owed something. When I couldn't work it was a struggle not to have those payments, so of course it helps to have the financial win, but it's more about the mental and emotional side as well.''

She had yet to receive backdated payments from ACC, and expected it could take six months for compensation to be finalised.

Mr MacDonald was also awarded backdated weekly entitlements from ACC, to September 2009, as well as legal costs.

He worked at the Alliance freezing works in Oamaru when diagnosed with leptospirosis in 2008, but his entitlements were suspended the following year when Alliance determined his continued incapacity at work was not causally linked to the disease.

A review found in favour of Mr MacDonald in 2010, but Alliance again had his entitlements suspended on receipt of further medical evidence.

Mr MacDonald sought another review but was unsuccessful, so he appealed to the court.

Judge Joyce found Mr MacDonald's inability to work was linked to his leptospirosis and that the September 2009 suspension of entitlements was unjustified.

Mr MacDonald said he did not know how much he would receive from ACC, but it was a relief to have a ruling in his favour.

''I just want to be looked after in the future, and I hope that if other people go through the same thing this ruling might help them.''

He still worked at the freezing works, despite having to take daily medication for problems associated with leptospirosis.

Mr Shepherd had surgery and radiotherapy for brain tumours in 1980 and 1981, then suffered a stroke in 2008 which was found to be a result of his earlier medical treatment.

ACC declined his claim for treatment injury and was vindicated by a review, which Mr Shepherd appealed.

Judge Joyce quashed the review decision and ordered ACC to ''revisit'' Mr Shepherd's entitlements ''in light of the finding of this court being that he is entitled to cover for the CVA (stroke) as a treatment injury''.

Mr Shepherd was also awarded costs.

Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.


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