30 Sep 2012

Claimants to sue over 'derisory' ACC offer

8:29 pm on 30 September 2012

About 100 sexual abuse victims whose privacy was breached when their ACC files were sent to another claimant are planning to sue the corporation.

Bronwyn Pullar was mistakenly emailed details of thousands of other claimants in December last year.

John Miller, who specialises in ACC law, says his office been inundated with calls from unhappy claimants wanting to sue the corporation.

Mr Miller says the people he represents were incensed by the corporation's offer of $250 if they sign a waiver preventing them speaking out about the matter and are pushing for a bigger payout.

He says most have a long history of fraught dealings with ACC and the low offer was the final straw.

"It would have been far better not to offer an amount at all in many cases rather than a derisory sum.

"But if you are going to offer some compensation for what has happened then you better make it something significant that really shows tangible concern."

Mr Miller says the claimants could expect to get about $8000 in compensation if they won their case.

ACC offer has made the matter worse - lawyer

Another accident compensation lawyer says ACC has driven the claimants to sue it by offering them an insultingly low amount of compensation.

Hazel Armstrong, who is the principal of Hazel Armstrong Law, says the ACC should have consulted the victims' lawyers about what compensation to offer because they have made the situation worse.

She says the lawyers who were representing these people were side-stepped, which forced clients to think about individual litigation.

"They could have taken a much more prudent approach, suggested mediation to discuss how they've been harmed, how many times it occurred before, how did this breach of harm affect them".

Ms Armstrong says some of the claimants had had their privacy breached up to three times and a $250 offer for everyone affected was not acceptable.

The ACC has declined to comment.