I am one of the many reasons Michigan’s auto no-fault system should stay in place. I was riding a motorcycle 10 years ago when a young man in a pickup truck pulled out in front of me. The next thing I know, I am at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
In my horrific accident, I sustained many injuries, including a closed head injury. The Traumatic Brain Injury initially resulted in severe memory loss, speech impairment and double vision. While I still often stutter badly, making communication very difficult, my memory loss and vision have improved because of the treatment I received through auto no-fault.
The accident brought many other life-altering and painful injuries, including a broken jaw, broken spine, and right arm paralysis and painful nerve damage, which ultimately resulted in amputation. Between 2003 and 2005, I was in and out of the hospital and underwent multiple procedures, including a CT Myelogram, eye surgery and a cervical laminectomy with Dorsal Root Entry Zone (DREZ) procedure, which allowed doctors to re-injure the nerve endings near the spinal cord to promote better healing and relieve some of my pain.
Prior to my accident, I served my country for 23 years as a helicopter pilot and instructor in Michigan’s Army National Guard. My injuries prohibited my return to work, resulting in the loss of my job and health insurance. No-fault has covered the necessary services, including a nurse aide who accompanied me during my first year of recovery. Every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. we went to outpatient therapy. Without these services, I would not have regained the strength to take care of myself.
Today, I am somewhat self-sufficient and working part-time at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. I use a wheelchair for longer errands and can be seen with my service dog by my side. Doing away with this great no-fault system we have established here in Michigan would have resulted in prolonging my injuries and finding few, if any, solutions to my pain. On top of this, my family and I would have likely lost everything due to the enormous costs.