200-plus miss out on accident compensation payments

More than 200 people missed out on compensation payment from the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji (ACCF), which has paid out more than $17 million since the commission’s establishment three years ago.

Commission Chief Executive Officer Parvez Akbar said they had to turn down 218 out of 2524 applications for three reasons including the timing of the accident which may have occurred prior to the commission set up, that the injured person may have been awarded a 0% Whole Person Impairment (WPI) by the doctor or that the nature of the applicant’s accident is not covered under the compensation, for instance, driving under the influence of alcohol over the prescribed limit, or under the influence of drugs.

He also explained that there is no timeframe for processing applications, as it largely depends on how soon the commission receives the applicant’s WPI from a specialist doctor.

WPI is a percentage of lifetime loss sustained from an accident that is determined once the injured person has reached maximum medical improvement.

“The minimum timeframe to provide accurate permanent disability is approximately 18 months or may take longer in some cases after which a compensation amount is determined to be paid maximum up to $150,000,” Akbar said.

Since its inception, the ACCF has carried out 85 awareness sessions across Fiji at workplaces, schools and for the general public, educating them on the commission’s work and how people can benefit from it. Last week, the ACCF carried out a similar session for members of the Fiji Trades Unions Congress (FTUC). Members enquired over the assessment of head injury, payment schedule, coverage for teachers and sought clarification on prescribed diseases.

“We hope to educate the public on the Accident Compensation Scheme and also provide safety tips on motor vehicle, employment and school accidents. More people are aware about the scheme and its benefits,” Akbar said. “This means more people can apply to ACCF for compensation. During this tough time due to COVID, we are able to reach out to more people and assist them with their compensation. Especially workers who are unemployed. The awareness sessions also assist businesses in understanding their obligations under the Accident Compensation Act 2017.”

ACCF began compensation payments from 1 January 2018 solely for motor vehicle accidents, then expanded to cover employment and school accidents from 1 January 2019.

For motor vehicle accidents, compensation may be payable to all passengers, drivers (inside registered motor vehicles), pedestrians and by-standers who suffer serious injuries (permanent incapacity) or death from a motor vehicle accident. This includes cyclists and motorcyclists who are victims of a motor vehicle accident. For employment accidents, all workers suffer serious injuries (permanent incapacity) or death as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment. This includes any incident that causes a prescribed disease. School accident compensation is payable to all pupils who suffer serious injuries (permanent incapacity) as a result of an accident occurring on any school premises or during a school event or activity.

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