We first got wind of this strange software program, “Colossus,” when the National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys (NACA) heard a report of a class-action lawsuit in Louisiana against Allstate Insurance. This software determines the value of soft tissue damage in personal injury cases, but originally added a component asking the racial profile of the claimant. By comparing black victims to white victims, Colossus determined that insurance carriers should pay less money to black victims based on jury verdicts in Louisiana. Later, that item was dropped from Colossus. This plus other outrages created by Colossus are still a national controversy.
Most auto insurance carriers in California use Colossus, or a variant thereof. It takes the power away from human adjusters to “adjust” PI values. Instead, Colossus creates its own matrix for determining the values. Carriers such as Allstate and Farmers are the most extreme users. Most of their experienced adjusters have left their jobs, dispirited and angry. They no longer serve as evaluators. Instead, adjusters merely imput data so Colossus can instruct them on what offers can be made.
Colossus is arbitrary and unreasonable. It is common for carriers to offer settlements that only pay for the medical bills, or the medical bills plus 50 percent. The patient’s options are to cave in and settle or take the case to a jury. The carriers are delighted with either choice. Most attorneys cannot “afford” to try smallish PI soft tissue claims. Those few who do litigate generally get better values, but work twice as hard. A good deal has been written about Colossus on the Internet. The Colossus software depends on more than 7,000 units of information relating to claims. The essentials Colossus utilizes are:
Colossus will respond to some factors that “add value” to its evaluation. Those factors include:
Clearly, the more detail you have about your patient, the more the Colossus program has to respond. The old
model using a generic notation of merely “neck and back pain” is a guarantee of not getting your fees paid.
Shawn Steel, Esq.
Seal Beach, California
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