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Want to protect our No Fault law? Learn to tell your story to lawmakers in advocacy workshops

February 4, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

Coalition Protecting Auto No Fault, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery and Health Partners, Inc. are helping inform legislators on the importance of No Fault

Let Our Voices Be Heard CPAN No Fault

As a lawyer, I help auto accident survivors get injury settlements so they can go on to live their lives as best as they can. An important way I do this is by telling their stories to judges and juries, and even to cynical claims adjusters, so people truly understand how lives have been changed.  It creates a picture of how another driver’s negligence – or the negligence of a large trucking company – caused  life-changing, serious injuries.

But that’s only half of the story.

Many of my clients have devastating injuries like traumatic brain injury.  Same goes with catastrophic spinal cord injuries, where accident victims  are robbed of their ability to move freely. Often, they must rely on 24-hour around the clock attendant care, a No Fault benefit that is currently provided by Michigan No Fault insurance. But, if the insurance companies have their way, this and many other invaluable legal protections will be taken away from the state’s most seriously injured automobile accident victims.

To save Michigan No Fault, we need to recognize that we all have powerful stories to tell – not just the attorneys. The stories of injuries, struggles, injustice and triumphs based upon the life-saving protections that our current insurance laws allow people in this state. And  it is imperative that accident survivors, their caregivers and family members, as well as the lawyers who protect them, learn to effectively tell these stories to law makers.

Our No Fault Law is in serious jeopardy, as “reform” measures like HB 4612 aim to foolishly cap No Fault medical benefits and shift the costs to taxpayers and to Medicaid. Many of the most important protections of Michigan’s No Fault insurance laws, such as attendant care, would be savaged.

That brings me to some great new advocacy workshops called “Let our Voices be Heard” that are coming up around the state to help people learn how to convey their stories and concerns about No Fault insurance reform to legislators, as well as on social media.

The workshops are sponsored by The Coalition Protecting Auto No Fault, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery rehabilitation center and Health Partners, Inc. The attorneys at Michigan Auto Law support all of these organizations. All three are great organizations that  advocate for the rights of car accident survivors in Michigan.

Here the details of “Let Our Voices Be Heard”:

Price: The workshop fee is $20 and includes lunch. There is no charge for attendants assisting workshop participants. Scholarships are available by calling CPAN office at (517) 882-1096.

To register: Visit the CPAN website at www.cpan.us and click on “CPAN Event” on the left side of the home page. You may also register by calling CPAN at (517) 882-1096. Space is limited, so it’s encouraged to register early.

Dates, time and locations:

  • February 19: – Community Center, 3179 Livernois, Troy; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • March 5: MPHI Education Center, 2436 Woodlake Circle, Okemos; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • March 5: WEBINAR – This workshop will be offered as a webinar and participants will need a computer with speakers and internet access. Participants must register to obtain their participant code; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • March 24: Hope Network Education Center, 775 36th Street SE, Grand Rapids; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • March 31: Traverse City Library, 610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • April 21: Eisenhower Center, 3200 E Eisenhower Pkwy, Ann Arbor; 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • April or May: Rainbow Rehab, Livonia, date and time to be determined

What participants will learn at the workshops

“Let Our Voices Be Heard” is a partial day workshop for survivors, family and caregivers to learn tools for maximizing the impact of their stories to policy makers and the media. This advocacy training will help participants overcome barriers to effective grass roots advocacy by de-mystifying the legislative process, knowing when and why to act and learning how to tell your story with concise, persuasive messages to maximize your influence.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Effectively tell their stories.
  • Use media outlets and social medial tools.
  • Maximize their influence with legislators.

Presenters include:

  • Erica Coulston, co-founder of Walk The Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery;
  • Kevin McKinney, CPAN Legislative Consultant;
  • Tom Constand, Vice President of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan;
  • Graham Davis, Director of Digital Media for Truscott Rossman; and
  • Jean Doss of Doss Consulting.

We hope these workshops have great attendance, and that car accident survivors are encouraged to keep telling their courageous stories.

Related information:

14 truths about No Fault “reform” in Michigan

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