When you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other personal injury, and you don’t have medical insurance or the coverage you do have isn’t sufficient to cover your medical expenses, a Letter of Protection might be a solution for you.
A personal injury case cannot likely be proven if you do not receive medical care. However, if you don’t have money to pay medical bills, then you cannot obtain the medical care you need. Essentially, a Letter of Protection (LOP) is a contract that is agreed upon by you, your attorney, and your doctors. It will allow you to get the medical attention you need from your medical provider, while your attorney agrees to pay the provider from the settlement you receive before you have access to any of the financial reward.
What Are the Stipulations in a Letter of Protection?
While the specific language in letters of protection can vary, they generally state:
That the medical provider will treat your conditions while your case is pending.
That the medical provider will not demand immediate payment of your medical expenses and will not turn your account over to collections, thereby leaving your credit undamaged, as long as the letter of protection is in effect.
That your attorney will pay your medical provider directly from your personal injury settlement as soon as the funds clear the trust account.
Not all doctors or medical providers will choose to enter into such an agreement, but many will.
How Does a Letter of Protection Affect the Settlement Distribution?
To better understand how a LOP affects the settlement process, you first need to know how the settlement process normally works. When a settlement in a personal injury case is reached, the insurance company of the defendant will mail a check to the plaintiff’s attorney, which the attorney then deposits into a trust account. The trust account is an account that is heavily regulated by the Florida Bar, in order to protect clients. The attorney then must wait for the settlement check to clear. Once it’s cleared, the lawyer has to obtain an approval from the client about how the funds are to be disbursed. Then, a check is written to the attorney for costs and fees, and a check is written to the client for the remainder.
When a letter of protection is being used, before the check is written to the client, there will be a check written to the medical provider to cover the client’s medical bills, since they were not paid up front. Keep in mind, a LOP doesn’t mean that the client isn’t responsible for the medical bills. Even when there is no financial recovery in a case, the bills have to be paid – by the client.
Letters of protection can be a useful tool when a client cannot pay his or her medical bills resulting from a personal injury. If you have been injured due to negligence, but have no way to pay your medical bills, discussing a letter of protection with your personal injury lawyer is a great idea – one that may work well for you, allowing you to get the medical attention you need and the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Boca’s personal injury attorney, Joe Osborne, can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case and your medical expenses. Contact him today at (561) 293-2600, to get started on your case. Don’t delay, you have a limited amount of time in which to file your claim.