Darren McCarty and hundreds rally to keep care for Red Wings legend Vladimir Konstantinov

Posted at 4:02 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 04:02:56-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit Red Wings legend Darren McCarty is known for getting results on the ice. Now he’s hoping to see results for accident survivors by speaking out at the “Rally for Vlady.”

In 1997 Detroit Red Wings Player Vladimir Konstantinov went from celebrating a Stanley Cup win, to fighting for his life when a limo crashed. He survived but sustained a traumatic brain injury.

He now needs care around the clock to help him get around and manage life. He received care through auto insurance, but then Michigan passed retroactive auto no-fault reforms. The bill cut care benefits by 45% across the board. The cuts went into effect in 2021 in the middle of a labor crisis as inflation increased costs.

Companies have said it is no longer profitable to provide care. Patients have found themselves discharged from services, relying on family or facing institutionalization,

“To me, this is an act of tyranny. It really is against the people,” said Darren McCarty.

Hundreds gathered at the Spirt of Detroit Plaza to protest, including teammate Darren McCarty.

The company that provides care to Konstantinov says the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings have helped fund his care for now. McCarty says while Konstantinov has friends in high places with resources to help him, that isn’t the answer. There are about 18,000 catastrophically injured Michiganders losing established necessary care due to auto no-fault reforms.

“We are not. We are not throwing these people out if I have anything to help,” said McCarty.

Michigan’s Auto No-fault reform was bipartisan. It passed the Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed it into law in 2019, saying it would save drivers money on insurance. It went into effect last summer cutting the benefits paid for the care of people with catastrophic injuries by 45%.

That is right. As inflation increased prices and the job market tightened, the funding for care was slashed 45%. This despite the fact there as of June 2021 was more than $27 billion in the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fund. Some surplus money in the fund was sent to drivers in recent months in the amount of $400 per insured vehicle.

The cuts in benefits impacted people going forward and people who had already paid for catastrophic coverage in the past.

“This is what you sold me. This is what I paid you. This is what I understood it to be and all of a sudden you are chasing the rules. No,” said McCarty.

There are two possible solutions. The Michigan Court of Appeals is considering a case that would change the retroactivity of the law. The legislature could also pass new reforms.

The Insurance Industry has said that companies are working with patients on a case-by-case basis to continue coverage, but patients have shared stories of being discharged from care and having to rely on family or institutions.

“Forget about Vlady. What about everybody else who isn’t Vlady. In the scheme of things if they take this care away it means death,” said McCarty.