A letter of protection (LOP) is a document that your attorney may have to give to your medical provider. This is an important document to help ensure that you receive the medical care you need from a provider without having to pay for the care up front. A letter of protection is going to be used as part of the personal injury lawsuit process when you are filing a claim against an at-fault party and expect to receive compensation at a later date. Here, we want to discuss exactly when and why a letter of protection will be used in a New Mexico personal injury case.
What Does a Letter of Protection Do?
For example, if an individual sustains a personal injury in Albuquerque caused by the negligent or intentional actions of someone else, they need immediate medical care. They cannot wait for an injury settlement or personal injury trial to conclude before going to a doctor. However, if an injury victim has to turn to their personal health insurance carrier, then the insurance carrier may be hesitant to pay the bills.
Why Would an Insurance Carrier be Hesitant to Pay Medical Bills?
Insurance carriers do not like to pay out money if they can avoid it. If their policyholder sustains an injury caused by the actions of someone else, then the insurance carrier is going to want the at-fault party to pay for the expenses. For example, a person sustains an injury caused by the actions of another driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is typically responsible for covering compensation. If an individual sustains a workplace injury, then workers’ compensation will typically cover the expenses.
Unfortunately, this can leave an injury victim in a tricky situation when it comes to paying their current and ongoing medical bills while they wait for a personal injury settlement or jury verdict to come through. They cannot put this medical care on hold.
A letter of protection (LOP) can be written by a person’s attorney and sent to the medical professionals treating the injuries. This letter will allow the individual to receive medical care that they would not otherwise be able to afford with their own money. The LOP provides a guarantee to the medical providers that they will receive payment for their services out of a final injury settlement or jury verdict.
Benefits of the Letter of Protection
A letter protection is a formal letter, usually written by an injury victim’s attorney. A personal injury lawyer will have extensive experience handling claims like this, and they know what needs to be contained inside the LOP in order for the injury victim to continue receiving medical care.
The LOP typically informs the medical provider that the personal insurance carrier of the victim will not take responsibility for the incident but that an attorney has been employed to help the injury victim recover the compensation they need. The letter will politely ask the doctor or other medical provider to accept the LOP as the guarantee they need to continue providing services with the understanding that they will receive payment at some point down the line.
The LOP will also make it clear that the injury victim will be responsible for the full balance of their medical bills if they do not win their personal injury claim. The LOP creates a legally binding contract between the injury victim, the health care providers, and the attorney, should all parties agree.