The use of settlement software by the insurance industry is a well-kept secret, generally. Allstate, which is believed to still use a specific computer program to arrive at a settlement offer-called Colossus- has been compelled by regulatory authorities to disclose the use of the system. Indeed, they now send you a letter if they stating their intention to use the program or software to evaluate your claim. Other insurance companies do not have to make such disclosures, and the specific use of the programs is tightly guarded.
It is generally believed that the various systems take into account personal injury settlement values from your specific jurisdiction.
I’ve discussed in other chapters the role of venue, i.e. where the personal injury litigation is going to occur, in evaluating the worth of a claim. It’s a confluence of economics, politics and other factors, but the end result is that some jurisdictions are more favorable for plaintiffs, others for defendants. What one is likely to get at trial, based on experience, is a factor that a seasoned personal injury litigator will use to determine if a particular settlement offer is reasonable. The conventional wisdom is that juries in urban areas are generally more favorably inclined to Plaintiffs, whereas suburban or rural juries are generally more conservative. Obviously, that wisdom is of little real assistance if your case is being tried before a district court judge, of, in federal court where the jurors don't necessarily come from the county where the accident occurred. A reasonable settlement offer in a typical personal injury or motor vehicle accident case might be fair in one jurisdiction, but unreasonably low in a jurisdiction known to be friendlier to plaintiffs. But where your personal injury case might go to trial is but one factor that an experienced lawyer will consider in assessing the value and strength of your case.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 6/15/20.