Can I get medical treatment through a Letter of Protection?
When an individual is involved in a serious accident, the medical costs can be astronomical. If the victim doesn’t have the means to cover those costs up-front, it can be quite difficult for them to obtain the medical treatment they need.
In many cases, the victim’s personal injury attorney can send a Letter of Protection (LOP) to a medical professional so that the individual can receive medical treatment “on credit.” A Letter of Protection is quite common in all types of personal injury claims, and promises the medical professionals and facilities that they will receive payment for their services from the lawsuit settlement or award, if the case is successful.
The need for a letter of protection.
Quite frequently when you go to the doctor, you will notice a sign that states they require payment at the time of service. What comes as a surprise to many people is that many health insurance plans will refuse to pay for medical treatment related to injuries suffered in a car accident. Instead, they say these costs should be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
The thing is, you need medical treatment right now and the other guy’s insurance company hasn’t even had time to consider liability in your case. Even if they had, no car insurance company will pay the cost of ongoing medical care. If they offer you anything, it will be a single payment (and nowhere close to your actual losses).
This puts the victim in quite the predicament. Do I take the tiny settlement offer now, before I even know the extent of my injuries or cost of medical treatment, or are there other options?
You do have other options!
The insurance company knows exactly what they’re doing. They know you’re stressed and financially burdened, and they’re hoping you take their measly settlement offer before speaking with an accident attorney and learning your rights. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you!
By hiring an accident lawyer (for no out-of-pocket cost, by the way), you can most-likely receive medical treatment under a Letter of Protection. This way, not only will you get the medical care you need, you’ll also be strengthening your claim by proving up your damages (money losses).
At the end of treatment, your attorney will calculate your total damages and expected future losses in order to put together an official settlement demand. At this point, the insurance company can choose to pay the demand amount, negotiate, or deny the claim and force your attorney to file a lawsuit.
How it works.
The injured party’s attorney sends a Letter of Protection to a medical provider, agreeing that all of the medical expenses the patient incurs will be paid when the patient recovers the money for his/her injuries, whether through a settlement or court judgment against the defendant.
Sometimes, LOPs are even used to postpone collection on a medical bill that an injured party previously incurred. Say, for instance, someone went to the hospital after an accident, and the medical provider submitted the bill to the health insurance provider. The health insurance company then refuses to pay because they feel the at-fault party’s auto insurance policy should cover the costs.
An LOP is a contractual agreement, and obligates the attorney to ensure that all medical bills are paid out of the settlement or award. If the injured party does not recover any funds, he or she is legally responsible to pay the bills associated with the medical care.