What Is a Letter of Protection?
If you have been in an accident or suffered some type of injury, you have enough to worry about without wondering how you will pay for medical care. Unfortunately, the damage caused by an accident can lead to financial complications as well as medical complications. Many insurance carriers expect the victim of an accident to pay for medical care and then submit medical bills for reimbursement along with the records of any other expenses related to the accident. Medical care providers also expect payment up front. This arrangement becomes especially problematic if treatment extends over several months or years. This means a patient can be expected to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for medical care before receiving any compensation for the accident. However, if you have been injured in an accident and you have a legal claim against the person who caused the accident, your lawyer can take steps to pursue your claim and ensure that your medical bills are paid.
That's where a Letter of Protection comes in. Your attorney will send your medical care provider a Letter of Protection promising to pay your medical bills out of any settlement that you receive as compensation for the accident. This promise constitutes a lien against the settlement (in fact, in some states, a Letter of Protection is known as a medical lien). The process assures your doctor that he or she will be compensated for any services provided while you get the treatment that you need right away. If you receive a settlement, your lawyer will pay your medical care provider out of those funds. However, if you do not receive a settlement for any injuries suffered, you will remain responsible for paying for all medical care. Even with that risk, a Letter of Protection is an important device for ensuring that you get immediate and ongoing medical care without immediate payment.