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How is a personal injury claim evaluated in New York?

Being injured in a motor vehicle accident is a traumatic experience. You’re likely in pain and stressed out over how you are going to pay your growing medical costs. For many people seeking compensation, they’re additionally upset to discover that a computer is being used to evaluate their claim and decide how much compensation they deserve.

Colossus overview

Prominent car insurance companies throughout the country use the software program Colossus to evaluate a claimant’s injuries and arrive at an amount payable. Created by Allstate, it appeared in the 1990s and quickly changed the way personal injury claims were assessed.

Before its appearance, insurance adjusters met with injured claimants and made a decision based on how credible that the person would be as a witness in court. After evaluating the person and quantifying their losses, the adjuster would make an offer. When programs like Colossus appeared, offers were depersonalized and, in many cases, much lower than the claim’s actual value.

Colossus reaches proposed settlement amounts after insurance company employees enter your medical records into the program. It assigns a value to your injuries based on quantifiable factors, with broken bones receiving a higher value. Claimants who were taken to the emergency room immediately after the accident also have a higher value assigned to their cases than someone who visited their doctor a day later.

The program’s detractors point out that Colossus simply assigns values without taking important factors like the following into consideration:

  • The circumstances surrounding the accident
  • Intangible losses such as pain, suffering, and mental anguish

Instead, the program often uses data that has nothing to do with the claim’s actual value. Before assessing your physical injuries, Colossus analyzes information such as:

  • Where you live: This detail allows the program to review previous judge and jury cases in your area and determine the likelihood of you receiving a large award.
  • The attorney representing you: The program tries to see whether your attorney is more likely to settle or litigate cases.

Inability to properly assess these factors makes it impossible for a computer program like Colossus to reach a fair value for your claim. Concerns have also been expressed that insurance companies using the program can drive down injury values artificially and control the information received by the program.

When you are dealing with physical pain and financial stress in the wake of a car accident, the last thing you need to contend with is a program that depersonalizes your experience and tries to make you settle for less than what your case is worth. An experienced New York personal injury attorney will help you receive the settlement you need and take your case to trial if necessary, so that your well-being is not decided by a piece of software. Jayson Lutzky has 35 years of legal experience and offers free in-person initial consultations. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more or call 718-329-9500.

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