A letter of protection (LOP) is a document that allows an injured patient to receive treatment at a hospital or from a doctor without having to pay for it at that specific time. This typically allows the payment of medical bills to be deferred until a patient has fully recovered and is able to receive compensation from whomever was responsible for their injuries.
This arrangement can be helpful, as insurance companies typically pay for bills in one lump sum once you are recovered as opposed to each treatment individually, and using your personal health insurance to cover injuries caused by a car accident can be difficult.
Only Attorneys Can Issue
Your attorney issues the LOP document to the medical provider ensuring that they will be paid once that compensation is recovered from trial or settlement. In this sense, the letter is a contract providing that:
- Your medical provider will not demand payment of your bills and will not submit them to a collections agency which would damage your credit;
- Your attorney is authorized to pay the medical provider out of the settlement or trial funds; and
- Your lawyer will pay the medical provider directly from this account.
You are Ultimately Responsible for your Medical Bills
However, it is important to note that doctors are not obligated to treat you based on this document, and if you lose your lawsuit, you are still liable for your medical bills. Medical providers will also only accept LOPs from attorneys, not from individuals who are not represented by an attorney.
What about Previous Medical Bills?
LOPs can be used to address previous medical bills in the same manner that they are issued for current medical expenses, except that your attorney often has to submit these to the medical provider in exchange for the provider not turning your account over to a collection agency. This essentially buys you time until your case is resolved and any proceeds are received with which to pay the medical bills.
What If Defendant is Insolvent?
Under Pennsylvania law, all vehicle owners must prove that they are financially responsible in order to register their vehicles. By doing so, they claim to be able to pay for damages caused by themselves or someone else driving their car, and this must be done via purchasing insurance or certifying to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that they can cover at least $15,000 in injuries for one person and at least $30,000 per accident, as well as $5,000 for damage to property.
Solnick & Associates, LLC
Solnick & Associates, LLC is prepared to do what it takes to protect your rights and interests and ensure that you do not have to cover your own medical expenses if you are the victim of a car accident. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today – we want to hear your story.