Letter of Protection
Did you know that a recent report for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked California as the U.S. state that has the highest number of car accidents? Not only that, but California also has the highest number of fatalities caused by vehicle collisions. Consider too that, on average, 1 of every 143 people living in California has an injury from a traffic collision. If you are involved in a car accident, don’t panic. This is the time to get a letter of protection.
If you are injured from an auto collision that is not your fault, there is one thing that we can tell you about right now that can help ease some of the burdens you will face.
Let’s discuss what a letter of protection is so that you know how to handle this situation should it happen to you.
Letter of Protection Explained
A LOP, or letter of protection, is a letter that a personal injury attorney sends to a medical professional on behalf of the injured party they represent. A letter of protection guarantees future payment to a medical facility that has already performed treatment. The payment will come from a verdict award or lawsuit settlement.
Unfortunately, many times, private health insurance providers will deny responsibility if payment is not paid upfront. In cases of an automobile accident, private health insurance providers will look to the driver’s automobile insurance for payment.
This is why doctors or hospitals often do not accept private health insurance from an injured person. From past experiences, they have learned that they will probably not receive payment right away.
LOP for Automobile Injuries
You may have seen the following notice at your doctor’s office: Payment is expected at the time services are rendered.
Unbeknown to many people, private health insurance providers will refuse to pay for medical care provided when it results from an injury from an auto collision. That’s part of the reason you see this sign.
Additionally, automobile insurance carriers do not offer pay-as-you-go for medical care. Instead, personal auto insurance companies expect you to pay for all medical care, first. Then, submit all of your bills at one time after treatment has concluded, so there could be one check for reimbursement.
Unfortunately, insurers may undervalue how much they actually owe you in damages. In other cases, car accident claims are rejected entirely. This can go on for months and the auto liability insurers just expect the injured person to take care of the costs until then.
Doctors expect this too, and unfortunately, they may choose not to treat a patient who has a private health insurance provider but has an injury from an auto collision.
A Promise to Pay
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times recently found in a survey that over 25% of Americans are having trouble with paying a medical bill. Across the United States, the average cost of a hospital stay is $5,220 per day. The U.S. reportedly spends $3.5 trillion annually on healthcare.
Remember that you are not alone when it comes to not paying the healthcare provider right away, This is why doctors are wary when it comes to recouping their fees. A letter of protection is a medical lien, and it will be leveraged as your promise to pay later from an expert attorney protecting your rights.
Sending the Letter of Protection
The LOP is a contracted agreement provided by the personal injury attorney. It allows an injured party to receive the medical care they need to get better on a credit basis. The medical provider then agrees to wait for the conclusion of the personal injury case.
Once the case ends, the medical provider will demand payment. It’s a personal injury attorney’s responsibility to ensure that the case settles for maximum compensation. The settlement should be enough to cover all medical treatment.
Should the case not settle, or an injured party loses in court, then the medical bills become the injured victim’s responsibility. A medical provider can pursue the injured person just like they would for any other debtor.
Protect Your Credit and Finances
You may find that you need an LOP to delay collections from the medical bills of a personal injury case. Let’s say that your private health insurance refuses to pay a bill because of an auto injury and you get stuck with massive medical bills that you can’t afford to pay. This could go against your credit.
If your personal injury attorney provides a letter of protection, however, they can make an exchange. The medical provider won’t file the outstanding bill to your credit. Also, they won’t pursue any other collection efforts and instead wait for the case to conclude.
Insurance Company Lawyers and LOPs
It is unfortunate, but an insurance company could attempt to use your LOP against you. They may insinuate that the medical provider has biases about the outstanding bill. They may attempt to use the LOP to avoid responsibility and payment.
The fact is that victims would not be in this position in the first place if they didn’t sustain an injury because of someone else. An injured person who is seeking medical attention because of someone else is not fair and unjust.
Were You Injured in an Accident?
At The Law Offices of Daniel Kim, we represent victims of vehicle accidents. We fight to hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence. In our efforts to get you the compensation you deserve, we can help you with a letter of protection for your personal injury case. This allows you to get the necessary medical treatment immediately. Contact us today for a free consultation.