This post covers a letter of protection (LOP).
When you are hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, two things that might run through your mind are; How will you get treated, and how you will be compensated?
Good enough, a letter of protection is there to handle your situation properly so stop worrying and keep reading.
Here I will share everything you need to know about the letter of protection including;
- what is a letter of protection
- Is a letter of protection legally binding?
- How a Letter of Protection works
- why do you need a Letter of Protection
- Can a letter of protection be used against me?
- Letter of protection vs Insurance
- sample letter of protection
let’s get started
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What is a letter of protection?
A letter of protection (LOP) is a formal letter issued by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of a client injured in a vehicle accident, work injury, or fall to a medical provider for the purpose of protecting his client’s treatment and compensation rights and guaranteeing the medical providers that the medical treatment offered to his client will be paid from any money that will be obtained from the personal injury lawsuit.
Is a letter of protection legally binding?
Yes, a letter of protection is a legally binding agreement between you, your legal representation, and the health care provider.
The treating medical professionals must be paid according to the conditions of the LOP, and this letter is a promise of payment for any professional medical services given on your behalf, it guarantees that the healthcare provider will be reimbursed after the personal injury lawsuit is resolved.
Why do you need a Letter of Protection?
You need a letter of protection if there is no insurance coverage available to help pay for your medical bills and/or lost wages following an accident.
Even if you don’t know when your settlement will come through, a letter of protection can help you seek the medical care you need right away.
It can prohibit collection agencies from bothering you and protect your credit score from damage that could take years to repair.
A letter of protection also allows you to wait for a truly fair settlement rather than pressing for a rapid payout due to financial hardship.
When someone with a high-quality health insurance plan is injured in a car accident or falls as a result of someone else’s negligence, they can use their health insurance and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to seek the treatment they need.
They won’t have to worry about having to pay medical fees out of pocket. Someone without good health insurance, on the other hand, maybe hesitant to seek the care they require for fear of being personally liable for the payments if something goes wrong.
Also when your health insurance believes the at-fault person or entity should be paying for your medical expenditures, they may refuse to pay for it.
However, the at-fault party may argue that they should not be responsible for your care as well.
While these two insurance companies dispute over this, you are left with the option of either waiting for medical care because you can’t afford it or paying for the services out of pocket.
This is where letters of protection help a lot.
How does a Letter of Protection work?
The letter of protection serves as a legally enforceable agreement between you, your legal counsel, and the healthcare provider, ensuring that the hospital will be compensated for any money you receive as a result of the lawsuit.
You will be responsible for paying medical bills out of pocket if you do not receive compensation for your claim.
A letter of protection effectively suspends any responsibility you may have to pay the hospital while your legal matter is being resolved. It relieves some of the pressure while you concentrate on your legal case and seek medical assistance.
Can a letter of protection be used against me?
Yes, it is very likely that the letter of protection is used against you by the insurance company in your personal injury lawsuit.
Genneaty insurance companies may use the letter of protection to challenge the credibility of the doctor’s testimony.
They may assert that a doctor’s testimony is biased since he or she wants to get compensated.
The doctor’s evidence may contain details such as the severity of your ailment and the need for future treatment, which could affect the total amount of money awarded at the end of a jury trial.
Unfortunately, doctors working under a letter of protection do not have the same level of credibility that you would like when it comes to making final decisions in your case.
You could lose the case and still be responsible for all medical expenditures if the insurance company successfully persuades a jury that your doctor is not credible.
Letter of protection vs Insurance
In most circumstances, a person’s medical bills would be covered by their health insurance (That is why we have health insurance). If you have proper health insurance, your medical bills should be covered following the accident.
However, not everyone has access to health insurance, which can help pay the costs of costly medical treatment.
If you don’t have insurance yet and need a pricey medical procedure, such as surgery, a Letter of protection may be useful.
Furthermore, if there are issues with your insurance company, or if there is a disagreement with your insurance company regarding who is accountable for payment and who is liable for the accident, it may be preferable to utilize a letter of protection until the case is resolved.
However, it’s crucial to remember that a letter of protection won’t solve all of a personal injury case’s financial issues.
There are several disadvantages to using a LOP as well. You still owe your healthcare provider for the treatment you received if you lose your personal injury case.
The amount you’ll have to repay under the provisions of the LOP will very certainly be the full cost of medical care, not a discounted rate as your insurance policy may offer.
It’s possible that some of your expenses will be increased owing to the risk of non-payment.
There’s also the possibility that one of your healthcare providers will refuse to accept a LOP.
Some medical facilities have policies prohibiting the use of letters of protection, which you should be aware of before seeking medical treatment.
This is especially crucial if your primary care physician refers you to a specialist or diagnostic testing facility that may have differing LOP regulations.
When deciding if a LOP is right for you, you should explore any other issues you have with your attorney.
Some insurance companies, for example, have been known to utilize a LOP to undermine a doctor’s testimony or medical notes.
Because it is in their financial best interest for you to receive reimbursement, the insurance company will frequently try to allege that a doctor is biased in this scenario.
The insurance company may argue that the doctor is merely attempting to assist you in obtaining reimbursement so that they can be compensated.
If you have a competent legal representative on your side, they will be able to tell you whether this is a problem in your situation and how to proceed.
Sample letter of protection
The following is an example of a personal injury letter of protection from an attorney to a doctor:
RE: John Smith, Our client
Incident Date: 1/1/2030
Amount of Bill: $45667
Treatment date: 1/2/2030
Subject: LETTER OF PROTECTION
Dear Dr. [Dr’s last name]
This is to notify you that our client John Smith was injured as a result of Hellen Brown’s negligence, and his insurance company has refused to pay for his acts.
Our firm has been engaged to handle John’s personal injuries claim and sue for damages as a result of the aforementioned incident.
Due to the financial hardship caused by Hellen Brown’s negligence, we would appreciate it if you would accept this letter as our agreement to protect your interest in any settlement or judgment obtained from Hellen Brown and/or his insurance company in our client’s case for your medical services rendered to John.
We further guarantee that if no recovery is obtained in this case, John Smith will be held completely responsible for the outstanding payments on your bill.
While the suit is pending, please send all future bills or letters of collection referencing our client’s debt to the undersigned.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.