What Is a Letter of Protection? – Legal Terminology

If you’ve sustained an injury, doctors or practitioners may require upfront payment before performing medical services. A letter of protection can help those suffering from an injury pay for their medical bills, when they would otherwise not be able to do so. If insurance companies refuse to cover your bills or perhaps you don’t have an adequate insurance plan in place, seeking a letter of protection from an attorney is one option you can turn to. Read further as we examine what a letter of protection is, when you can get one, and how to obtain a protection letter.

Letter of Protection: Defined

A letter of protection (or LOP for short) is an official letter issued to medical professionals by a law firm. This letter guarantees payment of all medical services provided at the conclusion of the victim’s personal injury settlement. In other words, it’s a ‘promise’ to pay the medical professionals at a later time while continuing to receive medical services. This payment amount is taken out of the personal injury case settlement. If the victim loses the case, or if the settlement amount does not fully cover the medical bills, the victim is legally responsible for covering the expenses out of pocket. Note that you, personally, cannot issue a LOP to the healthcare provider. This document must come from your attorney. It is a contractual agreement formed between your attorney and the healthcare provider stating that the proceeds of the settlement will cover the present medical expenses.

Why Would I Need a Letter of Protection?

There are several instances when you would want to make a letter of protection request from your attorney:

  • Insurance company disputes: At the outset of your injury, insurance companies will typically fight over who is responsible for payments. The fighting can occur between insurance companies of the victim vs. the at-fault person. While the two dispute over who should pay, upfront payment is still required for the victim to receive treatment.
  • Delay collections: If you received treatment due to an emergency, your health provider would submit a bill to your health insurance company. As discussed above, if your health insurance company refuses to pay, a letter of protection will delay any debt collection actions until your case settles. 
  • No insurance coverage: As of 2018, there are approximately 27.5 million Americans who do not have health insurance. A large number of people who do, likely do not have adequate coverage. A letter of protection allows those with inadequate or no coverage to receive much-needed treatment.

Letter of Protection and Work Injuries

How will a letter of protection benefit you if you sustained an injury at work?  If you sustained an injury due to a work accident, you are able to seek an LOP. Insurance policy that deals with workplace injuries can fall under worker’s compensation. Other parties’ insurance may also be involved, such as a building or property owner’s insurance, if the accident took place in a particular building. With the number of potential parties involved, your health insurance may argue that payment should come from another insurance company. The letter of protection permits you to obtain medical treatment for your work injuries, while the insurance companies sort out who is responsible for payments.

Letter of Protection and Auto Injuries

Oftentimes, health insurance companies will refuse coverage of medical expenses if they knew injuries were due to a car accident. Health insurance companies will point to automobile insurance policies for covering these injuries. Even if the automobile insurance policies cover your injuries, they may expect you to front the cost of the medical expenses. Later, they may lowball a settlement amount based on your total bills. In any case, coming up with cash or credit upfront may not be possible for some, which is why a letter of protection is required. Another scenario when a letter of protection would be necessary is when medical bills exceed your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage limits. Moreover, PIP won’t cover incidents relating to motorcycle accidents or e-scooter accidents in certain states. In these cases, victims won’t be able to access treatment without a letter of protection. 

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

As mentioned above, in order to obtain a letter of protection, you must inquire with a personal injury attorney. From there, the attorney will negotiate a contract with the medical provider, agreeing for payment to come from the rewarding of the settlement funding. Consulting with a personal injury attorney will benefit you in the following ways:

  • They’ll provide you with a LOP so you can receive treatment right away.
  • They’ll fight against insurance companies, so you receive the maximum compensation.
  • They can negotiate with the medical providers to reduce your bills.

The most important role an attorney has is to offer you that letter of protection so you can receive the necessary treatment. In the document, they’ll outline your need for treatment, as well as your difficulties in coming up with the required finances. You can request a letter of protection sample from your personal injury attorney to get an idea of what this document entails.

Valiente Mott

The Valiente Mott Las Vegas personal injury attorney team is committed to helping victims of injuries sustained in car accidents, bicycle crashes, work incidents, product liability cases, and more. We offer a free, no-risk consultation where we’ll sit down together and assess your case.Contact us today or call us at (702) 623-2323! 

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