Personal Injury Scheme in New Zealand

Mark Copeland LawyersGeneral News

Accident or Injury in Aotearoa

New Zealand is one of the world’s tourist hotspots, with over 1.8 million holiday makers choosing this country as their travel destination in 2016. Unfortunately, not everyone’s time in the Land of the Long White Cloud goes smoothly.

As all seasoned travellers know – you must expect the unexpected. Some visitors to New Zealand may suffer poor treatment at the hands of their hosts (whether this be through their accommodation, restaurant of choice or other entertainment venues), suffering from ailments such as food poisoning which can have serious health consequences and can lead to expensive treatment – not to mention ruining a holiday.

In such food poisoning cases, disgruntled holidaymakers may leave New Zealand questioning whether they have any recourse available under New Zealand law after spending the best part of their holiday in a bathroom or worse in hospital. For example, are you able to ‘sue’ your hosts?

What is the law in New Zealand on personal injury claims?

If you have experienced poor treatment at the hands of your hosts that led you to later fall ill, your first thought may be to a file a suit against the perpetrator for personal compensation. Unfortunately for you, such a move is unlikely to work in New Zealand.

New Zealand is unique in that it has a comprehensive and universal “no-fault” compensation scheme. This scheme was created by the Accident Compensation Act 2001. Essentially, New Zealanders gave up their right to sue in return for a tax payer funded system which guaranteed compensation when an accident occurred. It is important to note that this scheme still applies to International Visitors while you are in the country.

There are many ways in which the scheme can benefit you when you’re visiting New Zealand. For example, if you sustain a physical injury such as a fracture or a burn during your travels here, you will receive cover.

However, this scheme does not extend however to illness such as that caused by food poisoning, as this illness is not classed as an accident under the legislation. Because of the universality of the scheme, this makes any personal compensatory claim impossible – even if the hotel or restaurant was at fault.

In some cases there may be more limited civil claims available. By lodging a formal complaint, often a resolution can be reached in which you receive some compensation.

Is there anything I can do?

If while on holiday in New Zealand you have experienced an accident or injury, and you are unsure of the options available to you, contact Mark Copeland Lawyers and we can discuss whether these options are available to you.