Insurance companies are often at the center of injury lawsuits. Medical malpractice cases are no exception. While hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other staff members may be the individuals who actually committed the errors, any subsequent payment to those harmed will likely be made by an insurance company. That is why these companies often dominate the defense of most injury cases, including those related to medical malpractice nursing home neglect, auto accidents, and more.
As most intuitively know, insurance companies are not in the business of being generous when they need to make a payment. In fact, many have experienced first-hand the low ball techniques used by these companies to make as little a payment as possible, regardless of the long-term harm and damage suffered. One of the very reasons that you need to have an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney on your side in the event of a medical error is so that professionals are acting on your behalf when dealing with the tactics of large insurance companies. Going it alone is usually a recipe for getting nowhere near what you are owed.
Insurance Computer Software Problem
The Chicago Tribune recently published an interesting story that is a vivid example of how insurance interests discount the actual needs of community members. The story talks about one case regarding Allstate. The large insurer uses a program call “Collosus” to determine how much an injury victim is owed. This works by plugging in random variable about the incident and then having a settlement amount pop out.
There might be some merit to this so long as the software was designed with fairness in mind. But, as you might guess, it often isn’t.
One former claims project manager who once worked on designing this very software is now an advocate for consumers. He noted how the software can be manipulated to reach low ball offers which are immensely unfair to those unsuspecting claimants who accept it.
When the software is initially purchased by the company, adjusters must first “tune” it by making hypothetical claims and editing the baseline using data about certain factors, injuries, etc. Collosus, for example, has 600 “codes” that each can be edited, removed, or otherwise tweaked to better meet the company’s exact needs. But this “tuning” process allows companies to make a few small changes and significantly lower the offer that comes out following an injury.
In 2010 federal investigators finished an examination of Allstate and its use of the software to make claim offers. A $10 million settlement was reached with several states after many consumers complained about the low ball offers and unfair treatment of the company. However, the claims adjuster who was once Allstate’s chief manager of Collosus noted that the settlement was far too low.
Instead, he believed that for a large company like Allstate, it was nothing more than a slap on the wrist. With billions of dollars literally at stake, you can be sure that these insurance companies have huge incentives to offer lower than fair payment amounts in an attempt to boost their bottom line. For that reason, it is critical for all those harmed by the negligence of another to have experienced legal professionals of their side to fight back and demand fairness every step of the way.
See Other Blog Posts: