YOUR LAWYER MUST KNOW COLOSSUS! KEEP READING TO UNDERSTAND WHY!
How Colossus Values Claims?
Colossus considers a number of preliminary matters before looking at your individual case and injuries. Colossus considers whether your attorneys have a record of taking their cases to court if they get an inferior offer or whether they always just take the best offer given by the insurance company. It considers the jurisdiction in which the claim arises. Importantly, Colossus contains approximately 700 injury codes representing the various types of personal injuries that can occur. These injury codes have a "severity value" and Colossus assigns money for each severity point the plaintiff "earns", so to speak. Colossus performs a calculation to attribute severity points to plaintiff's claims. After consideration to the personal injury attorneys involved and the settlements and verdicts in the venue, the system counts up the points and converts them to a dollar value. There is no question that a big value driver for Colossus - and for juries, incidentally - is a permanent injury.
By using Colossus, insurance companies will try to decrease the value of your claim, and will not take into consideration the X-factors: stress, pain, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (relationship), inability to participate in the things that you enjoy most, or any number of other things that a juries and even judges will consider.
Essentially, the problem with Colossus is that it cannot take the place of human beings understanding of human suffering. A computer just cannot get that. Occasionally, this paradoxically helps clients because Colossus and similar computerized systems that compute approximate values for personal injury cases incorrectly assume that a specific injury had a greater impact on the patient than it really did. Sometimes we will get a particularly unsympathetic injured client who was not impacted a great deal by their significant injury. This client does better with such an unfeeling system.
But more likely, the opposite occurs. There is no computer program that can ascertain pain and suffering, how an injury really impacted a person's life. Accordingly, your accident attorney must adequately articulate why your case is different or be prepared to file suit and begin battle with the insurance company. Judges and juries listen to and consider many of the factors that Colossus ignores because it does not understand them. California juries make distinctions based upon whether or not they think the plaintiff is an honest good person who has suffered as a result of their injuries. Colossus barely distinguishes between a heroin addict and nun. Juries definitely get the difference.
In fact, California juries are really the antithesis of Colossus. A jury in, for example, in downtown Los Angeles might not award damages for a L4/L5 lumbar (back) herniated disc. The medical terminology and the treating doctor's explanation of the injury might not resonate with them. But that jury comprised of human beings will award money damages because the injury victim's back hurts so much that she cannot hold her 18 month-old daughter without pain. No rules-based computer program is every going to understand that.
The other thing that Colossus does is overlook and place ridiculous limits on the values of cases where subjective reporting of symptoms are critical to diagnosis. Migraine headaches that are debilitating are overlooked by Colossus.
Another good example of this is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)/a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). There have been millions of dollars of verdicts in these case and there are no serious CRPS deniers anymore. Still, CPRS never gets a remotely reasonable value from Colossus. When we have cases like this with an insurance company that relies heavily on Colossus, we often just file a lawsuit instead of sending in a demand package. Because we know how it is going to go.
HOW INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN MAKE COLOSSUS WORSE THAN IT IS ALREADY?
Many insurance companies take this flawed computer system and rig it further against plaintiffs by pulling out higher-cost claims from data that spits out the results. So if you are pulling numbers to put into the system, you pull out the outlier jury verdicts - which have a huge impact on averages - and large settlements that would increase the valuations. It is classic "garbage in, garbage out" in terms of who the claims are valued. Insurance companies also encourage insurance adjusters with very little medical training to second guess the patient's treating doctor. Some adjusters are encouraged to alter important details of medical reports and select injury codes that will yield smaller settlement offers. The best way to do this is encouraging the adjuster to screw around with the final prognosis codes. The dynamic here is clear: a bad computer evaluation system is being engineered to give even lower results.
HOW COLOSSUS CAN BE USED PRACTICALLY?
Each of these insurance companies use the Colossus differently in valuing personal injury cases. Insurance adjustors from these companies that use Colossus have contended to our lawyers that Colossus is just one factor in the evaluation process. We believe that the weight given to the value determined by Colossus varies from company to company. Allstate appears to be extremely wedded to the Colossus output as opposed to Travelers who appears to give the Colossus results less weight in determining the settlement value of the case. The weight given to Colossus also varies from adjustor to adjustor.
More seasoned and respected adjustors within the insurance company believe they have latitude to factor in those things that In contrast, new adjustors (who are usually given smaller cases) have less discretion to deviate the settlement value determined by Colossus. Colossus also differs in the baseline set by the insurance company. Essentially, they select a number of settled cases in a particular region to determine the appropriate settlement range.
For example, Allstate might pick 100 herniated disc cases in a particular area and enter the settlement and/or trial values of those cases into Colossus. Based on these figures, Colossus calculates a settlement range for herniated disc cases that are ostensibly similarly situated. Accordingly, the baseline for each insurer will vary based on their prior valuation histories. If Allstate got inordinately low values in a particular area or if Allstate "inadvertently" failed to disclose the higher verdicts, that would be reflected in the Colossus values.
CALL US IF YOU NEED HELP FIGHTING YOUR COLOSSUS OFFER IN CALIFORNIA
If you are an injury victim or another lawyer fighting an insurance company spitting out a ridiculous Colossus offer, we may be able to help you. Call TRYK LAW in Fresno at (559) 840-3240
to get more information about your case - free without any cost or obligation. You can also fill out our online questionnaire to get further information and we will quickly response to your inquiry.