Don’t Lose Your Personal Injury Claim to a Computer

Written by Thom Goolsby


Unless you are careful, you can lose your personal injury claim to a computer.

Many auto insurance companies now use the “Colossus” computer program to evaluate the claims of accident victims.  Colossus is the software used by many insurance companies to aid in predicting the settlement value of injury claims. According to the program’s designer, Computer Science Corporation, it is used by more than 50 percent of the nation’s claim adjusters and by more than 300 insurance companies. Out of the top 20 property and casualty insurers in the United States, 13 are using Colossus. The insurance companies who use it keep Colossus secret. Your adjustor will not tell you if the company uses the software.

The insurance industry maintains it is a useful tool.  Personal injury attorneys know the software favors the insurance companies. First, the values you receive are by definition a function of the data input and you never know what data the adjuster has used. Also, the program does not consider subjective elements of the case that are impossible to quantify such as the interference with normal life activities resulting from an injury. At trial these indications of pain and suffering are proven through the testimony of the injured parties and witnesses. Can a computer program quantify your emotional distress or the loss of enjoyment of your life? A Colossus valuation is an inaccurate calculation because it attempts to reduce a victim’s injury to a dollar value based only on certain facts that never reflect the totality of the victim’s condition or the accident events.

In a trial, a jury determines the value of a claim. Jurors are required to listen to actual testimony and consider many of the factors Colossus ignores. Colossus has no way to evaluate any of the subjective elements that may increase the jury’s award. Each victim is merely a compilation of numbers in the Colossus program.

So, how do you fight “The Machine”? An experienced personal injury attorney knows how Colossus works and how to obtain the best settlements when working against insurance companies who use the program. The key is to ensure the adjustor understands that you, the victim, are an individual, not a number, and your accident is unique, not one of thousands of identical events. The adjustors need to believe your attorney will take the case to trial if necessary. Earnestly preparing for trial is the best way to ensure top settlements.

Insurance companies have enormous legal advantages over the average person: great wealth, thousands of trained adjusters, experienced lawyers and paid experts ranging from doctors to accident reconstructionists to economists, who will be used to minimize or deny a victim’s compensation.  Insurance companies are profit-driven corporations. The goal is to make money.  All of those warm-hearted television commercials are nonsense.  Insurance companies do everything they can to minimize claim payments.

You must realize this fact: insurance companies do not want you to hire a lawyer. The reason is simple: except for minor cases, victims are consistently awarded more compensation when a lawyer represents them. Auto insurance giant Allstate’s own documents show accident victims who retained attorneys received two to three times more money than victims who were not represented by lawyers.

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