Dealing with Your Insurer after an Accident

Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys

In 2010, Allstate, one of the nation’s largest insurers, paid $10 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it by 41 states. The lawsuit claimed there were inconsistencies in how Allstate used a claims software called “Colossus” to calculate claim payments in injury accidents. While Allstate agreed to standardize the use of Colossus, the claims software is still used today – and not just by Allstate. Colossus is used by many large and smaller insurance companies in order to determine claims payouts in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian knockdowns, and other kinds of accidents where personal injuries are involved.

What is Colossus?

Colossus is a proprietary software used by some of the nation’s largest insurers (MetLife, Farmers, and the Hartford) for estimating claims in personal injury cases. In many ways, Colossus acts like a database for providing a baseline range of costs associated with different kinds of injuries that are similar in kind. To begin, a claims agent selects certain variables and enters them into Colossus – variables like “broken femur, “concussion,” lost wages, and the kind of accident you were in. Using pre-determined algorithms, Colossus then estimates the amount you should be paid based on costs associated with injuries that are similar to yours in your situation.

However, since there are certain questions associated with each variable entry, what is entered determines how each variable interfaces with value drivers considered by Colossus. Value drivers include such things as the kind of injury involved, hospitalization, its duration, treatment, etc. After analyzing costs associated with these value drivers, Colossus provides an estimate for a claims payout.

Questioning the Estimates of Colossus in Injury Claim Payouts

In this way, the results provided by Colossus depend in part on the variables entered by a claims agent in the first place. If your broken shoulder results in chronic pain or the weakness in your hand, the estimate provided by Colossus may not take into account these other factors that are a part of your injury. Critics of Colossus have pointed to this aspect of Colossus, though its supporters claim the software has been improved. Additionally, the manner in which Colossus determines an average payout has come under fire since insurers can tweak results by selecting from the low end of what is considered an average payout.

Why It’s Important to Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies don’t always tell you that they’ve used a computer software to estimate your claim. And, since the result provided by Colossus is dependent upon what a claims agent enters, the estimate is subject to error. Further, Colossus does not take into account pain and suffering, especially in cases where an injury results in chronic pain or a loss in strength or the use of an arm or a leg. For these reasons, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to challenge the estimates provided by Colossus and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck wreck, motorcycle crash, your slip and fall, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to discuss your case.

Hit and Run Car Accident Injuries – Who Pays?

Mount Laurel UM/UIM Car Accident Attorneys

Due in part to the economic downturn, more and more Americans are driving without insurance coverage. In fact, experts and other observers have noticed an increase in uninsured / underinsured drivers since 2009. With foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy affecting millions of Americans, many are choosing to let their car insurance lapse in order to pay for other things. As a result, it’s likely that the number of uninsured / underinsured drivers will continue to rise. Consequently, it’s not unreasonable to expect a rise in the number of hit and run accidents as uninsured motorists attempt to avoid criminal charges or lawsuits after hitting another car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

Recovering Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you can recover financial compensation under the terms of your own policy’s uninsured / underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Since UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory in New Jersey, you’ll want to make sure you purchased it and for how much you’re covered. If you purchased $100,000 UM/UIM coverage, you can claim up to that amount in damages under the terms of your UM/UIM policy less any amount you received from the responsible parties insurance.

Here, however, is where a hit and run injury victim can encounter difficulties with their own insurer. Since insurance companies are in business to make money, they can be difficult to deal with regarding UM/UIM claims.

You may be on good terms with your agent and have an excellent rapport with him or her. However, once you submit a UM/UIM claim after a hit and run accident, your relationship essentially becomes adversarial: since the other driver fled the scene, your insurer is unlikely to recover the losses it has to pay you. As a result, they may delay your payment, choose to take their time in the investigation, or dispute the severity of your injuries.

Protecting Your Interests after a Hit and Run Car Accident

If your insurer disputes your claim, you’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. Although UM/UIM claims generally do not go to trial in New Jersey, they are handled through arbitration. Here, an impartial third party will listen to both sides of the case and decision. Arbitration requires that both parties agree to adhere to the arbitrator’s decision which means you and your insurer must accept what is final decided.

Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you prepare for and participate in the arbitration process. An experienced car accident lawyer understands what sorts of tactics insurers resort to minimize claims, including the use of claims software like Colossus and medical economists and life care planners. As such, you and your personal injury attorney may need to hire your own experts in order to challenge those working for your insurer.

Contact Mount Laurel UM/UIM Claims Attorneys

A hit and run accident can be a nightmare beyond the physical injuries you suffer if your insurer balks at paying your claim in a timely fashion. To protect your interests and learn how we can help you, contact Mount Laurel car accident attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.