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Picking Up the Pieces: How Colossus Values an Injury’s Impact on Daily Life

Picking Up The PiecesAn auto accident is a single, terrible moment in time, but it does not end there. Dealing with an injury and its consequences can change the life and lifestyle of the injured person and their circle of dependents for months, years, or more. Life must continue, and the injured person must do the best they can. In many cases, they must continue working, taking care of their home, and supporting their family.

Injured people are often forced to restrict certain activities until they are healed. In the worst cases, that day never comes, and the injured person must live the rest of their life with the knowledge that they will never be able to take part in treasured activities.

For the injured person, these aspects of the injury are some of the most painful. Colossus calls these claims “Duties Under Duress” and “Loss of Enjoyment.” Today, we will investigate how Colossus assigns them value.

The Colossus system values Duties Under Duress and Loss of Enjoyment differently, but both are in the Top 5 value drivers available in Colossus. The system has stringent requirements for valuing these claims and will not acknowledge them if any piece of information is left out.

At AutoAccident.com, we know exactly what Colossus is looking for to give maximum value to a case. With this software-savvy representation, our clients can rest assured that they are not leaving money on the table at settlement.

What Are Duties Under Duress?

In the Colossus system, “Duties Under Duress” is a factor that values the pain experienced while performing an activity. For the Colossus system, this factor is the #4 value driver for determining the amount of a settlement.

The requirements of work, school, caring for children, maintaining a home, and personal care do not stop because of an injury.  To continue living, the injured person will have to continue performing the necessary tasks of life, despite the pain and risk of re-injury.

These necessary tasks are often referred to as “activities of daily life,” abbreviated as “ADL’s.” Each kind of Colossus-approved ADL contributes to the cumulatively valued Duties Under Duress claim.

What Are the Different Kinds of Duties Under Duress?

Colossus recognizes four categories of activities of daily life in its Duties Under Duress valuation:

  1. Work
  2. Educational
  3. Domestic
  4. Household
Work-Related Duties Under Duress

Work-related Duties Under Duress can vary according to the injury and the occupation of the injured person. For example, a hand injury would lead to unavoidable pain in someone whose job required manual labor or extensive typing. A back injury might have similar results.

Cognitive or emotional issues such as increased anxiety, trouble with concentration, or post-traumatic stress, also contribute to an injured person’s pain while working. These kinds of symptoms are very common in auto accidents. Under certain conditions, even small impacts can cause a brain injury leading to cognitive or emotional impairments.

Educational Duties Under Duress

If the injured person is a student, then they have likely experienced Educational Duties Under Duress. For example, a student may have to take extensive notes with an injury to his or her writing hand, sit for long hours in class with a back injury, or risk harming their grades.

Household Duties Under Duress

Household Duties Under Duress is the Colossus category covering any household activities performed outside the perimeter of the house itself. This category includes activities such as mowing the lawn, landscaping, painting the house, or exterior maintenance.

For example, a person with a back injury would endure great pain while bending over to fix a broken sprinkler, climbing a ladder and reaching over to change an exterior light, or steering a heavy lawnmower. Many times, an injured person is forced to take on these activities – with income reduced due to the injury, they don’t have the money to pay a contractor.

Domestic Duties Under Duress

“Domestic” Duties Under Duress is how Colossus identifies activities of daily life that are performed within the perimeter of the house. These activities include washing dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming, and childcare.

The conditions imposed by COVID-19 have increased an injured person’s potential amount of Domestic Duties Under Duress. With lockdowns closing schools and businesses nationwide, the time spent at home has skyrocketed. Now, injured parents have no choice but to take on the role of schoolteacher while juggling other tasks.

These additional Domestic Duties Under Duress not only cause great physical pain, but they also contribute greatly to the total suffering experienced by the injured person and their dependents. Without Colossus-savvy representation, clients risk losing out on potential compensation for that suffering. 

How Does Colossus Evaluate Duties Under Duress?

To evaluate Duties Under Duress, Colossus assigns its internal “severity points” for each kind of activity of daily life where the pain was experienced.  These points are combined into the “Duties Under Duress” Colossus factor, which functions as a built-in replacement for disability.

The process begins when the adjuster encounters a properly presented claim for a Duties Under Duress category, noted by a doctor in the medical records. The adjuster selects the category in Colossus, triggering a drop-down menu listing the factors associated with the selected category. Like other sections of Colossus, the input screen is reminiscent of a video game, even having sound effects.

The adjuster then selects each applicable factor for each noted injury. Colossus has about 100 individual sub-factors pertaining to the Duties Under Duress categories. Each factor is assigned a severity point score, and these scores are totaled into the Duties Under Duress portion of the claim value.

What Information Does Colossus Require for Duties Under Duress?

Like everything else in Colossus, Duties Under Duress information needs to be presented in a very specific way. Otherwise, Colossus will not assign a value or even acknowledge a Duties Under Duress claim. Colossus requires a clear presentation of the following three categories of information:

  1. The person must experience pain while performing any activity of daily life. Colossus doesn’t count activity in the Duties Under Duress category if the injured person stopped doing the activity due to pain;
  2. The injured person’s treating physician must note the activity and pain in the medical records; and
  3. The attorney must properly claim the injury and Duties Under Duress in the demand letter.

If any of these elements are missing, then the injured person will miss out on the value of the Duties Under Duress claim. Therefore, it is imperative to have Colossus-literate representation.

How Do We Ensure Colossus Gives Value for Duties Under Duress?

At AutoAccident.com, we ensure that every case has the right information noted by the doctors and properly presented to the insurance companies. Our first tactic is to educate clients about paying close attention to their injuries and telling their doctors.

Many injured people have no idea that they should tell their doctors about the activities in life that have become more painful. Many doctors are likewise unaware that they should be keeping track of this information. Therefore, it is important to educate clients about reporting Duties Under Duress as soon as possible.

The second part of our strategy is to make sure doctors are noting the Duties Under Duress in the medical records in a way that Colossus will value. The doctor must note each individual injury separately and must give a duration of each injury. If the injuries and their effects are not individually noted, Colossus will not give the value.

The third part of our strategy is to present each piece of information in the way that Colossus expects to see it. By starting early in the case and tracking each injury, the activities it affects, and the duration, we have the information necessary to make Colossus pay up.

What is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

If an injured person is unable to continue an activity due to an injury, Colossus treats it as Loss of Enjoyment of Life. Typically, the doctor will order something like, “No lifting weight above the head until your shoulder is healed,” or “No running until your knee is healed.”

This factor is the #5 value driver in the Colossus system – if it is done right, it can contribute greatly to claim value. If it is done wrong, quite a lot of money is left on the table.

How Does Colossus Evaluate Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

Colossus evaluates Loss of Enjoyment of Life almost exactly like Duties Under Duress. The system recognizes six categories:

  1. Work
  2. Educational
  3. Domestic
  4. Household
  5. Hobbies and Social activities
  6. Sports

The drop-down menu subfactors are all different in Loss of Enjoyment of life. Instead of considering how much pain someone endured while performing an activity, the subfactors are noting the loss of enjoyment related to not doing that activity.

What Information Does Colossus Require for Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

A corollary set of three requirements for valuation applies to Loss of Enjoyment of Life. First, the injured person must stop performing an activity due to an injury. Second, a qualified medical provider must individually note each injury and activity in the medical records, including the duration the injured person was unable to perform each activity. Third, the attorney must present this injury information and formally demand value from Colossus.

Colossus will only consider Loss of Enjoyment of Life if there is a 2-3% or higher impairment rating. Please see our article “Getting Colossus to Pay Up” for further information on permanent impairment.

Even a small decrease in range of motion could be enough to support an impairment rating of 2-3% or more. Therefore, it is essential to have Colossus-savvy representation to determine if and when to send the injured person to a physician for an impairment rating.

At AutoAccident.com, we have built our successful record on strong foundations, including how to deal with Colossus. We investigate every avenue of recovery and leave no stone unturned, so our clients can rest with the confidence that they have the best settlement possible.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

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