A letter of protection (LOP) is not something that most personal injury victims will be familiar with. An LOP is a letter sent to a medical professional by a personal injury attorney who is representing somebody injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual. A letter of protection is meant to guarantee payment for medical treatment from any future lawsuit settlement or jury verdict award. Here, we want to discuss why a letter of protection may be necessary and how you can go about getting an LOP for your personal injury case.
What does a letter of protection mean?
When a person is injured due to the negligence of somebody else, the injury victim’s health insurance carrier may be hesitant to pay any medical expenses in the case because they will point the finger at other parties involved. This can include other drivers in the event the incident was a car accident case, employers if this is a work injury case, or property owners for premises liability cases.
While an injury victim’s insurance carrier may very well have a point that another party should be responsible, this often leaves the injury victim in a precarious financial situation. They may not be able to afford the medical treatment necessary to make a recovery while awaiting compensation from a settlement or jury verdict.
A letter of protection will typically be written by the victim’s attorney to the treating medical professional to allow the victim to receive the medical care they would not otherwise be able to afford with their own cash or credit. The letter of protection promises to pay for the services directly out of any settlement or jury verdict rendered in the case.
How do you write a letter of protection?
A letter of protection is generally going to be written in a formal manner, but we need to stress that injury victims should not be responsible for writing this letter themselves. If you have been injured due to the actions of another individual, your attorney should be the one to handle sending an LOP to the hospital or other medical provider responsible for your care. Anytime you are dealing with parties in the aftermath of sustaining an injury, you should have a skilled personal injury lawyer handling all correspondence on your behalf.
A letter of protection written by your attorney to the health care provider will typically advise the medical provider that your insurance carrier has failed to take financial responsibility for the incident and that the attorney has been employed to represent you for the case. The letter will mention that, due to the financial hardship caused by the negligence of another party, you and your attorney would appreciate the medical provider accepting the letter as the agreement that you will pay for services rendered from any settlement or judgment recovered.
Additionally, the letter will note that, if no settlement is recovered in the case, you will remain fully responsible for the entire balance of the medical bills. Finally, the letter of protection will direct that any future bills or letters of collection regarding your medical expenses be sent to the attorney’s office.
Is a letter of protection legally binding?
Yes, a letter of protection is a legally binding contract between you, your legal representative, and the health care provider in the given case. This letter is a promise of payment for all professional medical services rendered on your behalf, and the treating medical professionals must be paid according to the terms of the LOP.