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Accident Compensation Cases

Te Huia v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 07/12/15)

Judgment Text

Judge A N MacLean
This is an appeal against a review decision of 24 January 2014 upholding the respondent' decision of 6 September 2013 declining an application for lump sum compensation. 
By way of background, the matter goes back to an accident on 8 April 2006 when the appellant fell off his motorcycle suffering multiple abrasions to his trunk and limbs. 
Seven years later the appellant saw his GP, Dr Ahmed who provided a medical certificate dated 30 April 2013 referring to a left shoulder injury with persisting pain and disability. 
Following that, an application for lump sum assessment and an independence allowance was lodged and received by the respondent on 23 May 2013. 
The matter was referred by the respondent to Dr Chris Milne who saw the appellant on 23 August 2013 and provided an ACC impairment report to the respondent on 4 September 2013. 
He noted the history of the original motor cycle accident. Other key aspects of his report include: 
There had been a chest x-ray with no rib fractures and there was no evidence of any significant head injury. 
Multiple abrasions over the left shoulder, chest wall and right hip were assessed and dressed. 
There had been ongoing issues with his skin with persistent scarring and use of cream. 
Examination noted an 8 centimetre oblique scar over the lateral aspect of the left elbow, multiple striae upper arms and trunk consistent with obesity and no contour defect shoulder or upper arm. 
Dr Milne also noted (which was confirmed by the appellant at the hearing) that he had to wake the appellant who had fallen asleep in the waiting room. In light of that he noted his suspicions about possible sleep apnoea and a need for further evaluation via his GP. 
Aside from a brief note from the GP, there is no further medical evidence available from, or about, the appellant's condition, although the appellant personally advised the Court that he had a longstanding history of hearing problems and a general feeling that he had been treated unfairly. Also that his mother and brother had died recently which has clearly affected him. Making allowances for his hearing issues and also, at time, difficulty in understanding exactly what he was saying, it seems the gist of his concerns is that he felt that another specialist should have been engaged and it seems that he may have been concerned that Dr Milne did not treat fairly with him but did not proffer any particular reason why he felt Dr Milne was not qualified to provide a report other than an indication that he might have had earlier involvement with him of some sort. Nor it seems did he raise the issue at the time. 
In a letter to the Registry last year, the appellant commented that his aforementioned general practitioner: 
“Was going to refer me to see an occupational and industrial health and safety Mr Michael Cahn … but nothing further seems to have eventuated about that. ”
It should be noted also that the information in the report of 4 November 2014 from Dr Ahmed simply notes that he had attended him “to get medical assessment done in favour of his ACC appeal to the Court”. However apart from noting his medications and a list of health issues including asthma, smoking history, industrial sensory neural hearing loss, obesity, pain in lumbar spine and contusion elbow or forearm, made no other comment or observation. 
Dr Milne noted also type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive airways disease plus the possibility of obstructive sleep apnoea. However Dr Milne concluded that there was no accident related skin condition contributing towards the appellant's reduced physical capacity and accordingly rated his accident related skin disorder as a 0% whole person impairment. 
There is nothing to suggest that there is any other flaw in the assessment and no evidence to counter that. 
Accordingly the appeal is dismissed. There is no issue as to costs. 

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