Colossus Evaluations; Comments and Tips
Colossus evaluations are completed via one of the computerized data bases that many larger insurance companies employ for their personal (or bodily) injury claims. This is simply a tool that adjusters for certain insurance companies use to help evaluate their personal injury claims, along with consideration for each individual case. At least that’s the official story. It used to be that casualty adjusters needed college degrees and experience to properly and fairly evaluate injury claims. They could consider such things as the quality and experience of the attorney representing the claimant, as well as the actual claimant’s credibility and appearance, the specific venue (area) where the injury occurred and even the judge who might hear the case.
Colossus changed all of that. There is a lot of corporate rhetoric surrounding the usage of colossus evaluations; that they are only a tool and that the adjuster has full authority to settle a case for fair value. The main initial intent of Colossus was to make claim evaluations more fair and consistent, to avoid such factors as favoritism towards certain attorneys or types of claimants, or overpayment of claims at certain times of the year to make settlement goals. In reality, the program initiated a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to the evaluation of claims. The adjuster combs through the medical records for key trigger words which describe the claimant’s injury, complaints and treatment. Those words are plugged into a program which assigns them value according to a data base compiled of past settlement and trial awards. Savvy attorneys and medical providers have quickly figured out what those trigger words were.
Once the adjuster has a report printed out based on what he or she has input, the claim is forwarded to a review person. The review person makes sure that all of the input data is accurate and authorizes the adjuster to use the settlement range recommended by Colossus to attempt to settle the case.
The official stance at at least one company is that if a “value changing” event occurred, such as the receipt of additional related treatment, then the settlement authority could change. In reality, once the settlement authority was given, it may be virtually impossible to change. Here is why: the reviewers are rated on how often there is a change to the evaluated amount (tantamount to an admission of error on their part). So in the cut-throat world of competition for miniscule raises each spring, no one wants to admit an error.
It is important to remember that you are entitled to a copy of the Colossus evaluation of your claim. Despite what the adjuster might say, more and more Courts are finding that claimants are entitled to view this report.
This article is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.
Articles related to colossus evaluations:
Loss of Consortium explained; how it adds value to your personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Claim Values.
Personal Injury Settlements.
Punitive damages explained: how they add value to your personal injury claim.
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