How the Insurance Companies Determine Value in Accident Cases

In motor vehicle crash claims, most of the insurance companies our lawyers deal with use computer software to determine the value of claims. They don’t care about you, your agony, your pain and suffering, or the tragedy of you never being yourself again. They care about hanging on to their money. There is no sense getting mad about it. You just have to find someone willing to buckle up their chin straps and fight for you.

Most insurers use a computer system called Colossus or a similar program. The insurance adjuster inputs the data from your case and it spits out a range of settlement outcomes.

Colossus then specifically looks to the causes of your pain as described in your medical records. One of the most important questions is whether the injuries are permanent. The computer gives higher values for objective injuries like broken bones and herniated discs than for soft tissue injuries. Colossus also gives greater value when the patient went to the hospital for initial treatment immediately after the collision.

While Colossus and similar programs do have some value, the problem is they cannot grasp the complexity of a human’s pain and suffering. There is no computer that can ascertain pain and suffering or how an injury really impacted a person’s life. How much is it worth to not be able to pick up your newborn baby without extreme pain? There is no way a computer can answer this question. Colossus does not really try to bake that into its settlement payout. It just assumes pain is not really a big inconvenience.

This is why your counsel must fully explain to the insurance company why your injuries are different or be prepared to file a lawsuit to obtain fair value for your case. When your lawyer files a lawsuit, the insurance companies will sometimes take a second look at the real trial value of the case, particularly when they know that the attorneys handling the case are willing to go to trial.

While Colossus cannot appreciate pain, suffering and the true impact of the injury on the victim, judges and juries tend to listen to and consider many of the factors that Colossus ignores because it does not understand them. It is only a formula. Juries make distinctions on how much your case is worth based upon whether or not they think the plaintiff is an honest, good person who has suffered as a result of their injuries.

Clearly, the true value of the same injury can vary. If your injury is a scar on your face, the value will depend on the Plaintiff. Sex, age, pride in appearance, are going to matter in determining how much money you are going to get for your case.

The same goes for ankle and leg injuries where the victim can no longer run. If you are a couch potato, the value is less than the client who can tell a jury they ran a marathon last year. These details matter to every juror. But the computer tunes them out completely.

Juries are actually the polar opposite of computers. Juries respond to human pain and agony. A algebraic equation responds to raw data.

Let’s take the mom who used to be a shopaholic with her three kids but now cannot get off a bench at the mall — or even get to the mall — because of the harm that has been caused to her. A computer cannot understand or calculate this kind of impact on a person. Thankfully, the real decider is not a computer but human beings. They understand all too well what real human suffering is (and what it is not).

Picking a Lawyer: Why It Matters So Much Even for Settlement

This bears repeating. Claims adjusters and even their computers consider whether your attorney has a history of winning at trial. They also look to see if plaintiff’s counsel settles all of their personal injury cases (or has no history at all). This is an important reason why the quality of your attorney matters even if you intend to settle your case without filing a lawsuit.

Our law firm handles serious personal injury cases. If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been tragically killed by someone else’s negligence, call to speak to one of our attorneys at (404) 635-1112 (Atlanta) or (706) 229-6292 (Columbus) or get for a free no obligation consultation.

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