James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

ACC claim tops $1 million

DIY falls and an assault among 10 most costly incidents around home in latest figures.

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The most expensive claim filed with the Accident Compensation Corporation for an injury suffered around the home has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

Another person has filed a claim worth at least $300,000 for hurting themselves while playing with a ball and another lodged one costing hundreds of thousands of dollars after they were injured in a drunken fall at their home.

Figures from the ACC released to the Herald under the official information act show the 10 most expensive claims for injuries suffered around the home range between $300,000 to $1,150,000.

Two of these injuries occurred while gardening, two involved falls down stairs, two happened after falls from ladders and one person was an assault victim.

All of the accidents resulted in an injury to the head, neck or spine.

ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said the cost of a serious injury claim could include home help, attendant care, child care, nursing and equipment for independence.

It could also include training for independent living, housing modifications and transport.

The figures revealed that children were most likely to be injured around the home playing.

They also showed that the kitchen is the most dangerous room in the home, followed by the bedroom and bathroom.

Examples of some kitchen claims include "cleaning kitchen floor and slipped over and whacked my jaw on the corner of the oven", "put hand on recently turned-off stove element" and "lower arm burned with hot cooking oil".

The safest place in the home was the dining room.

Middlemore Hospital clinical head of the emergency department Dr Vanessa Thornton said the majority of home-related injuries appeared to be from DIY disasters or falls from ladders, stairs and furniture while alcohol-related injuries also tended to increase at this time of year.

"Also we get people trying out their children's toys, someone gets on a skateboard after a few drinks and falls off or you get someone with a new drill ... so we do get a few gift-related injuries too."

Dr Thornton urged people to wear shoes and helmets when riding on bikes, scooters and skateboards and not to drink too much when trying new activities.

The ACC figures showed there were 761,337 new claims for injuries around the home in the year to June 30, 2013 - up from the 707,374 claims lodged in the year ending June 30, 2009.

Of these figures, 44,000 were identified as gardening injuries with over 4500 of those "identified to have involved a lawnmower".

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related admissions to hospital.

Nationally, more than $1.4 billion was paid out for fall-related injuries between 2009 and 2013 - representing more than 1.5 million claims.

- NZ Herald

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