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Group urges Michiganders to donate any portion of auto refund check

New auto no-fault survivor fund to help auto accident victims with traumatic brain injuries
Posted at 9:41 PM, Apr 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 14:29:55-04

(WXYZ) — In the United States, one person every 17 seconds sustains a traumatic brain injury, and in most cases the treatment is complex and expensive.

That’s why the Brain Injury Association of Michigan is calling on folks to donate their auto insurance refund amount to the auto no-fault survival fund.

It’s the organization's latest campaign to help traumatic brain injury patients with the continued care they need.

Officials say changes to the state's auto no-fault law cut reimbursements to care providers for survivors by nearly half.

Related: Companies cut off auto no-fault patients from care due to new law

As a neuropsychologist, Charles Seigerman has worked with hundreds of patients with traumatic brain injuries. The symptoms range from as mild – like forgetting how to tie a shoelace – to something as serious as being in a coma.

Seigerman says brain injuries are complex and require expensive treatment. That’s why when he got his $400 auto insurance refund, he donated all to the auto no-fault survival fund.

"A fund that’s actually being used for patients since they are now not spending money on patients,” Seigerman said.

Related: Hundreds of catastrophic crash survivors protest cuts in care in Lansing

After reaching a surplus, the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association transferred about $3 billion to insurers starting last month.

But Tom Constand from the Brain Injury Association of Michigan says that money should have been utilized for patient care.

“1500 people patients care has been displaced, over 3000 jobs in the healthcare industry have been lost and 29 businesses of shut their doors entirely,” Constand said.

For Tom, helping brain injury patients is personal.

A few years ago, his son, Thomas, suffered a severe brain injury in a boating accident. At the time, doctors informed the family to brace for the worse.

"He was in a coma for three days, they didn’t think he would make it,” Constand said.

But thanks to the treatment and care that Thomas received in Michigan, Tom says his 26-year-old son has recovered and is wrapping up grad school at Oakland University.

“We are so fortunate to have that in Michigan, it was all enabled primarily through the groundwork of no-fault. And we should offer the best care possible, whether it's a brain injury, whether it's cancer, whether is heart disease, no matter what the infliction, people should have access to care,” he said.

Tom’s message is simple – donate whatever amount is possible to the auto no-fault survival fund. He said even a dollar could go a long way in helping a brain injury survivor get their medication on time or that vital therapy session.