After a serious accident, you might receive correspondence you do not want from many parties: insurance claims adjusters and bill collectors, namely. One type of communication you might receive is from your doctor’s office, reminding you about an outstanding unpaid bill. As the victim of an accident, however, you might be unable to pay your medical bills upfront. This should not interfere with obtaining the medical treatment you need for your injuries or disabilities. A letter of protection is a document that could help you receive medical care while you wait for a settlement.
A letter of protection is a document your personal injury lawyer can draft that essentially says while you do not have the money right now to pay your doctor or hospital, you are in a court proceeding and will use the results of it to satisfy your medical debts. It is a letter assuring your health care provider that you will use part of any settlement or judgment award won during your personal injury case to pay off what you owe. If you have trouble finding a care provider that accepts letters of protection and medical liens, ask an attorney for assistance locating one.
Sending a letter of protection can allow you to continue receiving the medical care you need without receiving constant letters or phone calls about your outstanding debt owed. It can also provide your doctor with peace of mind about the care already provided. A letter of protection is a legal notice your lawyer can draft for you. If you are the injured party, ask your personal injury attorney to send a letter of protection to your doctor on your behalf at the beginning of litigation.
A letter of protection will include your name (the client’s name), any relevant dates and the medical procedure you received. It will give the name of the law firm and/or attorney and verify that the firm has taken your case and is currently pursuing compensation from the at-fault party. It should assure the recipient that if your lawyer succeeds in obtaining a cash settlement or a jury verdict at trial, you will repay any outstanding debts. It should be polite, succinct and to the point. It may also include the law firm’s contact information for any further questions or concerns.
An official letter of protection serves the same purpose as a medical lien. The two terms are interchangeable depending on the state. A lien is a legal claim one party has to the property of another party if the second party fails to repay a debt owed to the first party. A lien is a type of contract that gives one party the right to take the property of another in lieu of payment for an unpaid debt if the debtor does not pay within a certain amount of time. A letter of protection essentially serves the same purpose. It is a contract that assures a doctor that while you cannot pay upfront, you will pay when your case resolves and you receive payment from the defendant.
Upon sending a physician a letter of protection, you will be under a legal obligation to give the medical provider his or her cut of any settlement or judgment award won in a lawsuit in the future. When working with an attorney, he or she can arrange a payment to your medical providers for you after obtaining a settlement, so you do not have to worry about this yourself. If your lawyer fails to obtain financial compensation for your damages, you will still owe a debt to the provider of your medical care. The health care provider will then have the right to pursue the full cost of the bill from you as it normally would, such as through bill collectors. A lawyer can help you with a letter of protection from the very beginning of the process.