Published On: 4.14.2014 Charlotte, NC
The Not-So-Good-Hands of Colossus
On behalf of Charles G. Monnett III & Associates
Colossus is an insurance software program developed by Computer Services Corporation (NYSE: CSC) that is used by the majority of the top auto insurance companies in the United States to determine the “value” of car accident injury claims.
Insurance companies in North Carolina who are thought to use Colossus include Allstate, Farmers, Metropolitan, The Hartford, MetLife, Travelers, USAA and Zurich. Almost all of the other insurance companies use some variation of this kind of software to evaluate injuries.
Insurance companies who use Colossus and the software are not talking on the record. The only insights consumers have into how the system works has been “leaked”, through former employees and adjusters.
How Colossus “Values” a Settlement
It’s pretty simple. An adjuster feeds your accident information into Colossus and the program spits out a settlement range.
The program relies on your medical records and scores “severity points” of your injuries, looks at the lawyer’s (if any) reputation involved in the case, analyzes the accident location and then determines your settlement range.
Each insurance company puts its own value on Colossus’ answer. If the insurance adjuster on the case is inexperienced, there are some companies who exactly follow the calculation. Other companies only use the value as a guideline to assist an adjuster who will make the final call on the insurance company’s offer, and almost always in the insurance company’s favor.
Auto accidents with easily verified injuries such as herniated discs and broken bones are given higher values. “Soft tissue” injuries such as sprains get lower values. The “value drivers” that increase the claim’s value in Colossus are:
- muscle spasms
- radiating pain
- restriction of movement
- vision impairment
Make sure to report any and all of your symptoms to your doctor so that you can be treated properly and that you have them documented in your medical record. Your medical record is the ONLY evidence that Colossus considers when evaluating your case. Self-documented evidence such as hospital questionnaires is not considered.
Ambulance and Hospitalization
Colossus gives a higher score for accidents where patients are taken from the scene of the accident in an ambulance and if they were admitted to hospital for an overnight stay. Your claim will receive a much lower score from Colossus if you did not seek medical attention after your accident.
There is a hierarchy built into the system based on the treatment you seek. Colossus narrowly recognizes chiropractors’ diagnoses — only for sprains, strains, neck and back problems — all other diagnoses are ignored. Treatment from a specialist gets a higher score than treatment from a General Practitioner.
Length of Your Treatment
Colossus will ignore treatments that goes on too long. If you have more than 20-25 visits to your chiropractor, the system will totally discount further treatment.
Colossus puts physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture in the same general category but must be documented accurately to be considered for ‘full credit’. The system recognizes up to 90 days of physical therapy as three months of treatment, but 91 days is considered three-to-six months of treatment and is given a higher score.
Delays and Treatment Gaps
The system severely penalizes any delays or gaps in your treatment. If you have gaps in your treatment, make sure that your doctor fully explains them in your medical records. “Waiting to see if I’ll get better” is an acceptable excuse, but make sure your medical professional documents it in your medical record.
Prescriptions and Medications
The system takes note of your record of what medications and prescriptions you take, how often and for how long.
If you have a permanent injury due to the accident, ask your doctor to do an “impairment rating”. There could be a charge for this evaluation, but Colossus highly values this information once it’s documented in your medical record.
What Are My Options?
It’s helpful to know about Colossus and how it works, but you are not obligated to take your insurance company’s evaluation. The system only knows what it sees in your medical records and accident report. It cannot and does not take into account the specifics of your case. It can’t see or feel the pain and suffering that your accident has caused and the losses you have suffered.
We Can Help
The experienced attorneys at Charles G. Monnett III & Associates provide free initial consultation, support and assistance in finding resources to help you and your family deal with injuries caused by your car accident. We can also help you pursue a legal action. If you or your family would like more information about your legal options and determine whether you have a claim, call our office today at 704.376.1911.