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What is the purpose of a letter of protection?

Here’s a great article by Edmond El Dabe, a premier Los Angeles car accident lawyer and San Diego personal injury lawyer. Filing a personal injury lawsuit allows victims of auto accidents, certain work-related injuries and other accidents to receive compensation for their injuries. In this sense, a personal injury claim can help accident victims to cover the cost of their medical expenses. Unfortunately, you will still be on the hook for any medical bills until your injury lawsuit and settlement is finalized. This is where having your NYC personal injury attorney file a letter of protection can be a huge benefit.

What Is a Letter of Protection?
A letter of protection is a legal document filed by a personal injury attorney on behalf of their client. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury, your lawyer can issue a letter of protection to your doctor, hospital or other health care provider asking that they postpone collection on your medical bills until your injury settlement is finalized. Although medical providers are under no obligation to accept this letter of protection, if they do accept the letter, it will mean that you are free from your payment obligations until the court reaches a final decision in your case or your lawyer negotiates a settlement with the defendant.

How Does a Letter of Protection Work?
A letter of protection is technically a contract between a client’s attorney and their medical providers, and only an attorney can issue this type of letter of protection. The fact that you already have a contract with the medical provider to pay your medical bills means that the medical provider will only ever accept this new type of contract offered by the letter of protection when it is issued by a lawyer.

If the medical provider chooses to accept the letter of protection, the result is that a lien is placed against your future injury settlement. Under the terms of this lien, all medical bills covered under the letter of protection must then be paid out from whatever injury settlement your lawyer is able to negotiate. Although the letter is a contract between your attorney and your medical provider, the letter of protection does not transfer the responsibility for paying your medical bills to your lawyer not does it eliminate or change your obligation to pay your medical bills.

Even with a letter of obligation, you are still responsible for paying your medical bills no matter whether your personal injury lawsuit is successful or not. Should you end up losing the suit and not receiving a settlement, all of your medical bills will automatically become your sole responsibility again. This means that a letter of protection is essentially a way of delaying payment on your medical bills until your case is settled and not a way of avoiding the bills altogether.

Benefits of a Letter of Protection
Having your attorney file a letter of protection is really the only chance you have of not being forced to pay your medical expenses out of pocket. Although you will eventually be reimbursed for these expenses if your personal injury lawsuit is successful, the fact remains that many people are unable to afford their medical bills in the first place. There are many situations where a person may find themselves unable to pay for their necessary medical treatments following an auto accident or a premises liability injury, in which case a letter of protection may be the only way that the victim can receive the medical care they need.

If you are unable to pay your medical bills following an injury, an experienced NYC personal injury lawyer may be able to help you get relief from your bills by filing a letter of protection. Still, there is no guarantee that the medical provider will actually accept the letter. For this reason, it is essential that you choose an attorney with experience in this area. A skilled personal injury attorney should be able to better negotiate on your behalf and hopefully explain your situation in a way that makes it more likely that your medical providers will accept the letter of protection.

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