A woman's 10-year battle for compensation from ACC over an unwanted pregnancy has been dismissed by the High Court.

The woman, who has name permanent suppression, fell pregnant in 2006 after a failed sterilisation operation eight years earlier.

It was discovered that the filshie clips were attached to the woman's bladder wall instead of her fallopian tube.

She took ACC to the district court after her application for costs - claiming her pregnancy was a personal injury - was turned down by the organisation.


The woman won and was granted cover for her physical effects of her pregnancy, but not the mental effects.

ACC determined that she was entitled to backdated, weekly compensation for the period May 15, 2006 and July 27, 2006 as she was unable to work during that time.

However, the woman appealed on the grounds that she thought she'd be owed more, and submitted that the damages continued past child birth and included the fact that she now had a "live and dependent child".

The woman says she was unable to return to her former employment because of her parenting responsibilities.

Her lawyer, Peter Sara, argued that the consequence of the covered pregnancy was the birth of a live child.

He said that was a "reasonably foreseeable consequence of a negligently performed sterilisation procedure which, if not covered, could be the subject of a civil suit claiming damages".

However, he acknowledged that, in terms of the law, for his client to have a continuing entitlement to compensation, ACC had to be able to find that the bringing up of a child after birth was part of the personal injury suffered by the mother.

But the High Court rejected her argument and found the district court judge was wrong in finding that she was unable to return to her pre-injury work in terms of the Act in regards to her entitlement to weekly compensation.


The court found that a person can only qualify for compensation under physical or mental inability.

It also found that in terms of the Act, "pregnancy will cease to be an injury when there are no longer any physical or mental disabilities associated with the pregnancy rendering the mother unable to engage in her pre-injury employment".