WHO OR WHAT DETERMINES THE VALUE OF A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM

If you think that it is your lawyer, or your lawyers elaborate demand package that determines the value of your personal injury claim, think again.

Personal injury claims are and have been valued by a computer program called Colossus starting in 1980. This program was developed in Australia by the government to reduce the value of workers compensation claims. 

Since 1980, Colossus is now used in the United States by more than 50 percent of the nations claims adjusters, and by 38 agencies representing 300 insurance companies.

Here is the interesting part, claims adjusters no longer value injury claims.  They input data into the Colossus program which then returns a claim value. The claims adjuster is limited by the number that Colossus spits out and has the ability to increase the valuation by no more than 10%.

So what data do claims adjusters input into Colossus?  Good question, it is only the medical records. The medical records are the only source of data input used by the program. The well written and strongly worded demand package submitted by the lawyer is not input into Colossus.

With this in mind, it is very important for anyone that is pursuing an injury claim to seek medical diagnosis and treatment for any injury they sustained.  The medical records must be clear and concise and detailed. If the medical records are chicken scratch or check the box type records, these cannot be input into Colossus. The medical records must specify the exact nature of the injury, and hopefully the  diagnostic codes that are associated with each type of injury. Further if there is some degree of total body impairment, the medical records must specify what that percentage is.  Failure to seek medical diagnosis and treatment as well as gaps in treatment will severely limit the value of an injury claim. Poorly written or inadequate medical records will also severely limit the value of an injury claim.

Once your medical records have been submitted to Colossus, and a value is spit out by the program, it becomes very difficult to change that valuation, even with additional medical treatment. Claims adjusters are hesitant to request the manager's permission to have Colossus re-evaluate your claim when new records are submitted. With that in mind it is worth waiting until your treatment is complete before submitting your medical records and formal demand package. It may appear that your attorney is not doing anything on your case, but the reality is that your lawyer is probably waiting for your treatment to be complete before submitting a demand package.

What is the alternative to the Colossus offer?  You always have the option to file a lawsuit and ask a jury to value your claim instead of Colossus.  However on small cases in the value range of $10,000 to $25,000 it is normally not economically feasible to take these cases to trial, considering the cost of expert witnesses, depositions and other costs related to trial.

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