If you’ve been injured on the job, in a car accident, or in some other incident where you were not at fault, you could face significant medical bills to cover the treatment you need. Normally, your insurance will pay these bills, but the cost of treating your injuries may exceed your policy, or the insurance provider may deny payment.
In cases like these, you may want to talk to your personal injury lawyer about a Letter of Protection (LOP).
What is a letter of protection?
A letter of protection is a letter you and your lawyer send to a medical provider that guarantees payment for your medical treatment after your injury claim has been resolved. This serves as a promise to your doctor that he will be paid, although it may take longer than usual to do so.
Let’s say you were injured in a car accident by a drunk driver. You would expect the impaired driver’s insurance to pay for your claim, but there could be a problem. Maybe the insurance company is refusing payment for some reason. Still, you need surgery and physical therapy, which means you need a way to pay for it.
You’ve spoken to a personal injury lawyer and that person is fighting on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve, but during that time the bills are piling up.
The LOP is usually written by your lawyer and is addressed to the treating healthcare professional. He asks that the doctor allow you to receive the care you need and promises that the costs for the medical services will be paid directly from any settlement or jury verdict in the case.
Once the healthcare professional signs the letter, you can proceed with the medical treatment you need. The LOP is legally binding, which means that even if you don’t recover damages in your case, you will still be legally obligated to pay for your treatment.
Some potential drawbacks of LOPs
It is important to understand the pros and cons of a LOP before signing it. The main benefit of doing this is getting the medical care you need when you may not be able to afford it right away.
However, LOPs also have some potential drawbacks. Sometimes insurance companies will try to use them against you, claiming that your doctor now has a vested interest in the outcome of your case, thus ruining their credibility when it comes to determining what treatment you need afterward. the accident.
A good personal injury lawyer can help protect you from this tactic by providing proof of your inability to pay, for example, or proof of the insurance company’s denial of your claim.
A doctor who signs an LOP also takes the risk of not being paid in the end, which means that not everyone will agree to sign. When doctors work with insurance companies, their payment is usually guaranteed, but bodily injury cases can last a long time, which means the doctor won’t be paid for a long time either. Personal injury cases may also be lost, or the damage may not be large enough to pay for all medical bills.
It helps if the doctor trusts your personal injury lawyer and your lawyer has a good success history like yours.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not to sign a LOP. Your lawyer can help you review the risks and benefits so that you can be fully informed of your options.