Silent Crash Podcast – The Quiet Unraveling of Michigan’s Auto No-Fault
Have you heard of 1C Story Network’s new podcast “Silent Crash: The Quiet Unraveling of Michigan’s Auto No-Fault and the Destruction of Lives?” If you haven’t yet, visit your favorite podcast platform, and check it out. We think every single Michigander should give this podcast a listen to better understand our state’s auto insurance system and the concerning new frontier we find ourselves in following the 2019 no-fault reforms.
You can access the podcast via the buttons below:
Below, you will find a brief overview of what each episode in the series so far is about. We also include relevant links to additional information for those needing to dive further into sub-topics. We hope listeners of the podcast feel free to use this as a resource for educational purposes and find it helpful.
Episode 16: What Do You Want?
Rebeca asks listeners to submit what they really want Michigan lawmakers to do about the auto no-fault reform law in clear, concise sentences on the Silent Crash website. She explains the importance of having a unified front with tangible goals for the success of this cause.
Then, Rebeca interviews Joe Richert, owner of Special Tree Rehabilitation System that has been negatively impacted by the 2019 auto no-fault reforms. Mr. Richert shares the reality of taking care of catastrophically injured patients with Michigan no-fault coverage before and after the reforms went into effect. He describes the incredible challenges that his company is now facing in getting their patients’ bills paid, his concerns for his companies’ future, and his fears for the future of Special Tree’s patients.
Episode 15: A Little Love
During this short episode, Rebeca takes the time to reflect on the emotions and exhaustion that have been shared within the Michigan auto accident survivor community and their families. She reminds listeners that nobody is alone in the fight for fixing Michigan’s auto no-fault reforms.
Episode 14: Made (and broken) in Detroit
This episode revisits a couple of key players that pushed Michigan’s auto no-fault reforms into law: billionaire Dan Gilbert and Mayor of Detroit Mike Duggan. Rebeca also explores the reality of how auto insurance premiums are being impacted since the reforms have gone into effect. The promise that the cost of these premiums would decrease due to the reforms, especially for those in Detroit, doesn’t appear to be coming to fruition. However, numerous Detroit community members that have survived catastrophic injuries are suffering under the reforms now that they are unable to access the care they need.
Episode 13: Hope From Lansing?
During this episode of “Silent Crash” Rebeca interviews Rep. Phil Green, who recently introduced House Bill 5698 to the Michigan House of Representatives in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of Public Acts 21 and 22. They discussed the proposed changes in the bill and the anticipated impacts that these changes would have on Michigan auto accident survivors. Rep. Green provided insight into how medical bills are charged and paid, and how that system plays out in no-fault insurance under the reformed Michigan no-fault system. He also discussed some of the legislative limitations present in pushing for a fix to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance system.
Episode 12: Mourning in Lansing
In Episode 11, Rebeca shared the urgent story of one Michigan car crash survivor who would have to be taken to the hospital in mid-January if her insurance company refused to cover her in-home care – this is now a terrible reality.
On January 12, Rebeca joined hundreds of survivors at the Michigan Capitol who were there asking for support from Michigan legislators and pushing for a fix to the law. She shares some of their stories during this episode and gives an update on legislative inaction on this horrible crisis. Rebeca finishes by asking listeners to stay tuned for upcoming episodes, as she is preparing to share some important findings.
Episode 11: A Story that Can't Wait
This episode covers the case of one Michigan accident survivor that faces a terrible reality in mid-January due to the impacts of the 2019 no-fault reform. Rebeca stresses the importance of urgent legislative action once again on “Silent Crash.”
Episode 10: Legacy in the Making
Our very own George Sinas joined podcast host Rebeca during this episode for an in-depth look at Michigan’s auto no-fault system, including the history of Michigan’s no-fault legislation, the legal changes and challenges now faced due to the 2019 reforms, and the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of various areas of the reforms.
It was working, with certain exceptions, very well. What wasn’t working was that there was not enough restraints and controls imposed on the industry to make sure that no-fault remained affordable…I want to be clear – I don’t question the motives or the intentions of anybody. What I fault is that this train has been ‘rolling down the track’ for decades, and there were tools there that government servants never utilized. And what happened? The premiums kept going up, the political pressures got higher, and the heat got hotter.”
– George Sinas, “Silent Crash” Podcast
Episode 9: The Rubber Hits the Road
Seitz interviews accident survivor Shannon Perkins, who had to have her left leg partially amputated due to her auto accident injuries and needs continued care, as well as another surgery. Perkins shares her experience in navigating Michigan’s auto no-fault system before the 2019 reforms went into effect, and the extreme difficulty she is now facing under the reformed law.
Episode 8: The Doctor is Still In...Is a Fix In, Too?
The first part of this episode continues the conversation with Doctor Owen Perlman from Episode 7, where he describes the problematic process of how Public Acts 21 and 22 were passed without the input of stakeholders. Their conversation revisits the involvement of powerful leaders that were discussed in Episode 3 and sheds a light on their possible motivations for pushing these bills into law.
Seitz then discusses legislation that is currently being written in the Michigan House in an attempt to ‘fix’ the 2019 reforms.
Episode 7: The Doctor is In
In this episode, podcast host Rebeca interviews Dr. Owen Perlman, who has served catastrophic car accident survivors for years and has taken active roles in providing care for patients with severe conditions following a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. Dr. Perlman explained the complexities in care for catastrophically injured patients and the real impact of his patients losing their access to care and therefore, regressing in their condition.
Listen to this episode to hear from a Michigan doctor working directly with auto accident patients about the many ways that the 2019 reforms have systemically torn apart a car accident survivor’s access to care and quality of life.
Episode 6: Happy Thanksgiving from Silent Crash
“Silent Crash” took a break during the week of Thanksgiving, however host Rebeca made sure to say a quick thank you for the support received by community members. If you would like to donate to the podcast, check out the podcast’s GoFundMe at the link below:
Episode 5: Will the Senator Please Rise?
“Silent Crash” podcast host asks some uncomfortable questions regarding a prominent Michigan politician’s use of power and involvement in the enactment of PA 21 and 22. While PA 21 and PA 22 were still on the discussion floor, members from both sides of the aisle raised concerns about how, if passed, this legislation could detrimentally impact the lives of the 18,000 injured Michiganders who rely on Michigan’s robust auto no-fault coverage. This prominent politician assured concerned parties that PA 21 and 22 would not retroactively be applied, meaning the new no-fault law would not impact those already navigating the auto no-fault system. Lawmakers acted under this belief.
Lansing auto accident attorney, George Sinas, was once again interviewed for this segment and had the following to say.
The episode ends with an urge and reminder that “it is never too late to do the right thing.”
Look at the historic amicus curiae brief that was filed in Andary by Representative Julie Brixie and Representative Schroeder. In that brief, two legislators said to the Court of Appeals in Andary 'We didn't intend for this thing to have a retroactive application.' And in support of that, the brief attached as Exibit A a statement signed by seventy-three current and former legislators who voted on this thing stating 'We never intended retroactive application. We never intended to change the rules on people who bought policies that didn't have these limitations. We never intended that.' I submit that this is incredible evidence that the retroactive application of this law - for people who bought and were injured before its enactment - is absolutely inappropriate.``
– George Sinas, “Silent Crash” Podcast
Episode 4: Lies, Damned Lies, and… Politics
Seitz continues to “follow the money” and uncover behind-the-scenes goings-on. Turns out, despite statewide public outcry about Michigan having the “highest auto insurance premiums in the country” Detroit and a few outlier cities were in fact paying disproportionate insurance rates due to unfair non-driving rate-setting factors. Now, following the reforms, not only do Detroiters no longer have lifetime comprehensive medical coverage, but the state at large is suffering the same fate.
The episode also shares the story of a sister providing care for her tragically injured brother and the many unknowns now in their future, wrapping up with a discussion with the owner of a patient care facility and the roadblocks she faces in keeping her business doors open.
Below are links you may find relevant to the topics discussed in Episode 4:
Episode 3: A Tale of Two Men
Urged to “follow the money,” podcast host Rebeca begins investing the prominent leaders and developments behind the scenes, many of which failed to reach the headlines.
Seitz also speaks with a Michigan motorcycle crash survivor and military veteran who discusses his life-changing crash, long-term post-acute care, and the changes he faces now due to Michigan’s no-fault reforms.
Episode 2: Tricia, Jake, and a $5B Smokescreen
In the second episode, podcast host Rebeca interviewed Managing Partner, George Sinas. Here’s what he thinks is the most effective way to get relief for people affected by PA 21 and 22.
I’m pleased that through efforts like you and your show, light is shining on the problem. And light is necessary. You’re not going to ever fix this thing without a lot of light being reflected. But you know what? Ultimately, the light is going to turn to heat. If light doesn’t beget the heat, we are going to be talking about this again next year.”
– George Sinas, “Silent Crash” Podcast
Seitz goes on to talk about her trip to Michigan where she met with people directly impacted by the atrocious Public Acts 21 and 22. The stories are gut-wrenching but real-life snippets of what innumerable Michigan families are experiencing. Please listen to them.
This episode also details Governor Whitmer’s recent announcement that $5 billion from the MCCA fund should be returned to Michigan consumers. This refund will go directly to the Michigan auto insurance companies who will then be able to determine how and when that money gets to the payors, IE Michigan drivers who already paid into that fund.
The following is a list of relevant links to related information:
Episode 1: The Story Begins
Podcast host Rebeca Seitz describes a call she received and a plea for help regarding what was happening in Michigan. The caller went on to describe the horrific situation currently unfolding in our state regarding our gutted no-fault system and one of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations – car crash survivors. She detailed situations of no-fault providers having to close their doors, families being forced to drop loved ones off at emergency departments or nursing homes, even tragic stories of people dying because they could no longer access the care they had received since their car crash up until the new no-fault law went into full effect in July 2021.
For those listening along, here are a few related links to further information, reading, and videos on relevant sub-topics.
- Michigan Auto No-Fault PIP Benefits
- Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA)
- Non-Driving Factors Used in Auto Insurance Rate Setting
- History of Michigan’s 2019 No-Fault Reform
- The Mess of Public Acts 21 and 22
- 45% Cut in Medical Care for No-Fault Providers and 56 Hour Attendant Care Cap
- Coalition to Protect Auto No-Fault Where Three of Our Partners Serve as General Counsel
- New Medical Options Available Now Under the 2019 Auto No-Fault Reform
Thank you, IC Story Network, for this incredible work and the spotlight you are putting on the mess of Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance system. We hope everyone finds this resource helpful and will be updating this page accordingly as new episodes air to connect listeners with additional legal resources and information they may need.