Imagine a world where, instead of humans using computers to make informed decisions, computers made decisions for us. Imagine a computer program designed to calculate the value of human suffering, injury, and despair. Now imagine that the companies we are taught to rely on in times of need—insurance companies—rely on these dehumanizing devices when determining how they should pay claims to those who have been injured through no fault of their own.
No, this isn’t the plot from a science fiction novel or a reimagining of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Such a computer program actually exists. It’s called “Colossus,” and it’s used by insurance companies across the United States to assess the value of claims involving personal injury. Colossus considers such arbitrary factors as the value of damage done to vehicles involved in automobile collisions, as well as the notes taken by physicians who treat individuals who have been injured.
As an informed citizen, you should be aware of how Colossus operates and how insurance companies value your claim if you’ve been injured. Colossus calculates how severe an injury is by assigning “severity points,” which are based on numerous factors unique to every accident. Colossus also considers things like where the claim arises and whether your attorneys have a record of taking their cases to court if given a low offer by the insurance company.
But just as a computer does not experience human emotion, factors like pain, stress, inconvenience, and loss of ability to function as a whole person are not taken into account by Colossus. This is why it is important to have attorneys who understand how Colossus works and can use their knowledge of the program to their client’s advantage.
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, make sure to keep these tips in mind:
1. Be descriptive. When seeking treatment from a physician, physical therapist, or other healthcare provider, make sure that you are taking the time to explain all of the physical and emotional injuries from which you are suffering. The more information your provider has, the better they can treat you—and this information might eventually be entered into Colossus, so the clearer the picture you provide, the better.
2. If you seek treatment using “alternative medicine,” such as acupuncture, make sure you do so with a doctor’s referral. Colossus disfavors such treatments, so it’s important to make clear that you’ve only undergone treatment deemed necessary by a licensed physician or other traditional healthcare provider.
3. Always follow-up with your doctors. This is an important step in ensuring a speedy and fruitful recovery, but it’s also important as Colossus will discount the severity of your injuries (and the value of your claim) if it perceives a gap in your treatment.
4. Always wear your seatbelt. This isn’t just common sense. Colossus assigns a higher value to cases in which an injured party was restrained at the time of a collision. If you were wearing your seat belt, make sure you mention this fact to your doctor. Not only can it help your doctor understand how you were injured, but if your doctor makes note of the fact that you were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, Colossus will consider this fact when evaluating your claim.
While the insurance companies continue to degrade human dignity through the use of programs like Colossus, you still have the opportunity to fight back. But remember this: Colossus often controls what insurance adjusters can offer on your case. You might think you can reason with them, but insurance adjusters are often bound by what this emotionless, cold and detached computer program tells them they can offer you. Frequently, the only way to stop this demeaning and dehumanizing practice is to call an attorney who is willing to file suit and take your case to trial. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, call the attorneys at Sweeney Julian P.C. today at (574) 635-1673. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we would be happy to discuss your case.