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One Year on and another Setback

March 26th, 2009 by Madeleine

A year ago today a woman drove into the back of my car while I was stopped at traffic lights.

The resulting injuries I was left with have seen me have two discs replaced with artificial ones in my neck, my participation in competitive sport is over and I live with chronic pain and severe limitations to normal life.

I had hoped that surgery and the physio rehab program would see me recover sufficiently to resume work full-time but I did not recover at the expected rate so I lost my job. The explanation had been until now that the failure to recover was probably due to the length of time and amount of pressure key nerves were put under as I waited for a diagnosis and surgery, nerves do not have much of a blood supply so they take a long time to bounce back; however, my surgeon has just informed me that my latest x-ray shows that one of the new discs is not sitting quite where it should be.

At this point he wants to review me with another x-ray in 6 weeks. What precisely he is hoping will change in 6 weeks, I am not sure, but it sounds like more surgery could be on the cards.

The amount of compensation ACC will make available for me to make up for the fact I cannot, under New Zealand law, sue the woman who did this to me looks set to be less than $4,000 NZD – I am sure the leftys who want to keep accident compensation in the hands of the state think this will make me “wealthy” and I should be more than happy.

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17 responses so far ↓

  • Why such a lousy amount? It is ridiculous!

  • Sorry to hear about your setback.

    I wonder if MacDoctor could explain the ACC rationale behind this?

  • Actually MacDoctor did tell me that the only reason I was getting this pittance was Labour policy, the way National had left things I would have gotten nothing. He would definately know more than I do.

    I still may end up with nothing, I am not sure of how it all works but it all hangs of the percentage of permanent injury they deem I have. From what my doctors have told me and looking at the scale it should be $2-4k.

  • It is a ridiculously small amount. If you could sue however and the woman was poor and had no insurance, you might end up with even less though. I still think you should be able to sue, but it’s easy to focus on the flaws in the current system and look at the alternative through rose-coloured glasses.

  • MacDoctor has some discussion on lump sum payments in the comments section here: http://www.macdoctor.co.nz/?p=1713

    It would be interesting if he posted on your situation and explained it some more as it seems ridiculous that the system we are all supposed to have faith in for looking after us could be so pathetic.

    Especially if something went wrong with the surgery and you might need more. Can you still not sue for that?

  • I think I would have been quite safe suing her. She was driving a very flash, late model car and she was insured.

    As for being able to sue someone for the surgery not having gone to plan, I am not sure. ACC law is a paper I have dodged – maybe I should enrol in it. Medical misadventure is an area one can claim in but again one is claiming from ACC and if ending up with metal in my neck and living on a diet of pain drugs and losing my job only nets me with a couple of K I suspect ending up with the metal slightly skewed would net me a few peanuts.

    I also suspect that proving why the disc is sitting skewed will be very difficult. My specialist says it is unusual and he cannot offer an explanation for it at this stage.

  • “My specialist says it is unusual and he cannot offer an explanation for it at this stage.”

    But surely he would say this? (assuming he is the surgeon who did your surgery it would be his neck on the chopping block)

  • ACC legislation removes your right to sue for an accidental injury. Your trade-off for this is that everybody has their treatment paid for and is compensated (partially) for loss of income, regardless as to the cause of accident.

    Obviously, surgeons like this because they can’t be sued for compensation. However, they will still be dragged through interminable ACC, HDC and Medical council investigations. Frankly, I would rather be sued.

    Remember that this is a government insurance. Because it is funded out of taxpayer funds, it is very “baseline” – there are no frills, and the compensation is designed for low-income people not the well-off. If you want efficient, well compensated insurance, you still have to buy your own.

  • Thanks for that Jim. The crazy thing is that I didn’t realise prior to this accident that you could get private accident insurance in New Zealand. I thought ACC made it redundant because of the removal of the right to sue. I guess I should have been better informed (and covered) – funny what you learn when you need to.

    I am not sure what to do with regards medical council investigations. I do not know at this stage whether it is fair to blame him for it or whether it is just one of those things that freakishly happens sometimes. I have no idea how to find that out especially if Scalia’s point is well founded.

    I would probably have to spend more money than I would get back getting second opinions and follow up MRI’s.

  • What are you complaining about? $4k is a lot of money for some people. If you don’t want it plenty of other people could feed their families for months on that money.

    What’s your problem? worried you might have to live like the majority do? That your kids won’t have new skiis for their next ski trip?

    You make me sick you rich bitch.

  • Hate to say it but I did tell you that surgery was the last thing you should do. IMO you rushed in thinking that a quack with a sharp knife could save you from a lifetime of pain when realistically the cure was bound to be worse than the disease.

    And with regard to ACC, welcome to the real world, my world, a lifetime of pain and disability on 80% of your earnings and a bottle of pills.

  • ACC is sold to us as all we need in terms of accident cover. The politicians believed in it so much that they decided that none of us needed to retain the right to sue.

    Given this, it should be all it claims to be; it should be adequate, it should cover everything it should provide decent compensation if its existence denies us the right to sue.

    If it is going to operate as a baseline, no frills, crap service for those who cannot afford to sue or their own private insurance then the right to sue should remain and a tax rebate should offered to those who avail themselves of superior options. (I still maintain the govt has no place running it.)

    In addition to it being outside the scope of the proper role of govt, if a private insurer had the same amount of money available to it to provide its service as ACC does I am damn sure I would be in a much better off position.

  • As usual, some people don’t have the guts to use their real name when they just want to spout nonsensical abuse.

  • Exactly. How much skiing am I going to be doing in the future now I have a permanent disability anyway?

    As for the claim I rushed into surgery, even my anti-surgery osteopaths said I would end up with surgery within 2 years regardless but the longer I left it the worse the recovery and the higher the risk of complications such as bony growths as the vetebrae tried to push themselves apart to compensate for the flattened disc.

    What stuffed me was the car accident.

    The reason I am struggling financially [far from “rich”] is because the govt compensation scheme sucks and prevents me from exercising my legal right to adequate compensation.

  • “worried you might have to live like the majority do? “

    Yeah, because clearly the majority of us have painful permanent neck injuries… what a twit.

  • Hey, nice troll, Madeleine. They’re so cute when they’re incomprehensible. Sorry, I know I shouldn’t feed them, but they are so hard to resist…

    Recent blog post: The Right to Sue

  • We get so many at times its hard to tell them apart – they all have the same name you see.