Four people with faulty hips continue legal action against ACC
Four New Zealanders suffering complications from faulty hip implants have won the chance to appeal against the decision to deny them compensation.
After a lengthy legal battle, solicitors representing the four patients will go to the High Court to argue that the implantation of a defective prosthesis is a physical injury entitling the claimant to cover for a treatment injury.
A group of five who had claims rejected lost their bid to overturn ACC's decision in 2016 at the Wellington District Court in front of Judge MacLean.
Brittany Peck, of John Miller Law, said the judge's finding was that a defective device recalled worldwide was not a treatment injury, as there was no physical injury.
"But we believe that just having a defective implant in your body is a physical injury and, by being defective, that has ACC cover as a treatment injury," she said.
"It is not proper treatment to have a defective device implanted or remain in your body."
The four clients were pleased to be returning to court, she said.
"Some of them are still suffering and have ongoing pain and high levels of metal in their blood."
Patients worldwide suffered major problems from hip replacements made by British-based manufacturer De Puy, a subsidiary of medical giant Johnson & Johnson.
A group of Kiwis joined a class action in Britain to sue De Puy, but the courts rejected their bid because they can gain ACC compensation in New Zealand.
The articular surface replacement (ASR) implants were recalled in 2010, and since then the ACC accepted 75 of the 85 treatment injury claims for patients who had the recalled ASR implants by last October 30, but rejected 10 patients' claims.
In early 2016, ACC said it had paid out $1,036,912 to 67 ASR hip claimants. That averaged more than $15,000 per person.