Law Firm Calculators and Colossus
Insurance companies have been using settlement calculators for about 25 years now. The most widely used program is known as Colossus. Settlement calculators have also been popping up on websites of many personal injury law firms now too. Whether you are using a law firm’s online calculator, or an insurance adjuster is working with own employer’s calculator, the system is only as good as the information that is inputted into it. For example, when a personal injury claim is made, Colossus considers the jurisdiction and venue for the claim. It also considers whether an attorney is representing the claimant. Then, it considers whether that attorney has a history of filing lawsuits or merely take the insurer’s “best offer” under the circumstances. It also has about 650 codes that are assigned to injuries by using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10). Each code has what’s known as a severity value or points, and compensation is assigned for every point. Permanency of an injury is often given little or no consideration. The points are added up, and that determines the insurer’s settlement range of the claim. Of course, Colossus is tilted and designed to save the insurer as much money as possible.
What Isn’t Considered
If it was all that simple, personal injury lawyers would have been put out of business by now. What the program fails to consider are the non-economic damages of a victim. Those include items like emotional stress, a diminished quality of life, the inability to perform tasks that are routine to nearly all of us, future pain, suffering and inconvenience. It also fails to consider a claimant’s demeanor and credibility along with tiny nuances like which direction an auto accident victim was looking in when an impact occurred and whether or not his or her head was turned or tilted.
Law Firm Settlement Calculators
The purpose of law firm settlement calculators is to put dollar signs in a potential client’s eyes and get him or her through the door and into a retainer agreement. When a client is in an initial case consultation a few days after an accident and asks what the value of their case is, any experienced and reputable personal injury lawyer will tell that individual that it’s too early to tell. Many factors will contribute to or detract from the value of the case. Here are some major ones:
- Property Damage in a Car Accident: Insurers and jurors generally don’t believe claimants who were in low impact accidents but had high medical bills and lost substantial time from work. Without solid supporting medical evidence, they will be prone to believing that the claimant is faking or malingering. High bills from a high speed impact that caused visible and objective injuries are far more believable.
- The Amount of Liability Insurance: A person might have a case worth $100,000, but liability insurance for the person who caused the accident might only be $25,000. Without sufficient underinsured motorist insurance, the claimant is likely to be limited to that $25,000.
- Comparative Negligence: You might have been 30 percent at fault for the accident. In Kentucky, that turns a $100,000 verdict into a $70,000 verdict.
When is the Time to Estimate Case Value?
Don’t trust an online settlement calculator that fails to take fundamental information and legal principles into account. Don’t trust Colossus either. The program is only as good as the information that’s inputted into it. When the time comes, we can estimate a professionally realistic settlement value on your case. That would be sometime after all final medical bills, reports and earnings loss verification have been received. Every item of damages that is allowed by Kentucky law in your case will be raised. If the case doesn’t settle, we have no problem going before a judge and a jury and asking that jury for a verdict and award. Colossus then becomes irrelevant.
Don’t Give Any Type of a Statement
As soon as the person who caused your accident reports it to their insurance company, that insurer will start building its case against you. Don’t help it do that by giving its representative any type of a statement. It will only be used against you to try and devalue your case by attacking your credibility in the future. Politely refuse to give any kind of a statement. If the opposing insurer says it will close your claim file without a statement, let it close the file. We know how to make that person open it again. Even statements made about your accident that are made on social media can be used against you. Always remember that the opposing insurer will be searching for you.
In Kentucky, there are time limits to file your personal injury lawsuit. However, we don’t recommend waiting. Recollections of events can get foggy. Witnesses and important evidence can disappear or be erased. Your best course of action would be to contact us right away after being injured in an accident. Call or live chat to arrange for a free confidential personal injury consultation and case evaluation. Our lawyers want to hear your version of the events surrounding your accident, and we’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Then we’ll advise you of of your legal options. Our goal is to maximize any compensation for your damages that you might receive. Contact us for that free consultation as soon as possible after being injured by somebody else in any accident in or around Louisville.