Letter of Protection: When Do I Need One?

Letter of Protection: When Do I Need One?

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jun 9, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

In the aftermath of an accident of any kind, the first thing you should do is get examined by medical professionals. If you are minorly to severely injured, you should seek prompt medical treatment. This is because even the slightest of injuries can worsen over time if they are not treated by healthcare providers. In many of these cases, surgery may eventually be required. More extremely, when left untreated, certain injuries can later result in death.

Often, however, action is not taken right away, as many Americans are either underinsured or uninsured in terms of health insurance. Moreover, if you or a loved one is involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, you might not know how to pay for medical treatment you can’t afford.

Thankfully, an experienced attorney can assist here by writing a letter of protection. Letters of protection are means of guaranteeing future payment to healthcare providers pending the outcome of an upcoming settlement or court case.

Not sure whether you need a letter of protection or not? Read on for more information or contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4999 for additional insights and a free case evaluation.

Letters of Protection Explained

A letter of protection is a legal document sent to medical professionals, such as doctors or hospital organizations, by personal injury lawyers who represent their clients. The letter of protection guarantees future payment for medical treatment rendered via damages or compensation from a future lawsuit verdict or settlement.

Imagine a circumstance in which you are injured in an auto accident. To treat your injuries, you require X-rays, other tests, casting, and more. However, you aren’t covered by health insurance because you were switching providers at the time of the accident.

Your personal injury attorney can send a letter of protection to the hospital or doctor providing your care. The letter states that, should you receive a settlement or lawsuit damages award, that money will be used to pay for any medical expenses immediately.

What Does a Letter of Protection Do?

A letter of protection lets injured accident victims receive the medical treatment they need quickly while legal proceedings occur. Even the simplest or most apparently open and shut cases may take several weeks or months to complete. In addition, lawsuits that go to court usually take longer than settlement agreements.

Injury victims cannot wait that long to receive medical treatment in many cases. Their lives may be placed in jeopardy, or their injuries might worsen if they don’t receive prompt treatment from healthcare professionals.

Letters of protection help convince hospitals and healthcare organizations to provide treatment even if a patient can’t pay upfront. Instead, patients must agree to use any legal damages or settlements to pay for those treatments after the fact and at the earliest possible opportunity.

To learn more about letters of protection and when they are useful, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-800-966-4999. But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to take successful legal action may soon close forever. Instead, act now and protect your financial future!

When Should You Use a Letter of Protection?

There are multiple circumstances in which it may be wise to use a letter of protection. Let’s break those down.

You Don’t Have Health Insurance

Naturally, a letter of protection is a good fallback plan to ensure you receive prompt medical attention if you don’t have health insurance. However, letters of protection can also be worthwhile if your health insurance claim is denied for one reason or another.

For instance, some hospitals or doctors might not accept medical insurance as a guarantee for payment for their medical services. That’s because many private health insurance companies try to deny responsibility for claim coverage. Instead, they may point the finger at driver auto insurance companies. Then, when the accident victim tries to get their auto insurance company to cover medical expenses, that company may also try to deny the claim for another reason.

Put another way, letters of protection are useful when your insurance doesn’t work out for any reason. If you don’t have health insurance or another insurance company is putting up a fight, a letter of protection can still make sure you get medical treatment fast while sorting out these kinks.

Work Injuries

Letters of protection are also helpful if you are injured at work. After a workplace injury, injured individuals’ health insurance companies sometimes try to place the burden of medical coverage on workers’ compensation insurance companies. This can result in a legal gridlock in which both insurance companies try to buck the responsibility for the coverage to each other.

Given that many workplace injuries demand immediate medical treatment, injured parties’ attorneys may recommend writing letters of protection quickly to ensure prompt medical treatment is received. That way, injured individuals can get their injuries looked at and treated while their attorneys work out the details between insurance companies or start drafting paperwork for legal cases.

Auto Accident Injuries

Similarly, auto accident attorneys may use letters of protection under certain circumstances. Many auto insurance companies don’t pay for medical care as required. Instead, they require you to pay for medical expenses upfront, then send them a claim with the total. After that point, they’ll reimburse you for the medical bills you sustained.

This might work out on paper, but in practice, it’s difficult for many Americans. Medical treatment costs rise each year and can easily bankrupt auto accident victims, especially if they require multiple serious surgeries, ongoing treatments, pain medication, and more. This is such a big problem that some doctors don’t treat people using regular health insurance if their injuries come from auto accidents.

Therefore, letters of protection can be useful to ensure that accident victims receive medical care quickly. A letter of protection can promise payment in the form of settlement or lawsuit damages or insurance payouts once medical bills are totaled and sent to insurance companies.

To speak with one of our expert personal injury attorneys at no charge, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-800-966-4999. Alternatively, if you would like to read up more on the subject first, please continue reading.

Other Injuries

Letters of protection can also be useful for any other injuries that take longer to solve or that incur ongoing costs. For instance, serious spinal injuries may require patients to undergo physical therapy or visit specialists multiple times throughout the year.

These ongoing costs are sources of major financial strain for millions of injured Americans. A letter of protection can help patients get the ongoing medical care they require without forcing them to empty their savings accounts or place themselves in financial jeopardy.

After legal proceedings finish and accident victims receive settlements or payouts, they can use that money to pay ongoing healthcare providers and settle any medical debts they may have.

Letter of Protection vs. Health Insurance

While letters of protection can be helpful under specific circumstances, they should not be used carelessly. If you have health insurance, for instance, you should use that insurance policy rather than a letter of protection.

Health insurance is meant to cover your medical expenses in the event of an accident. It’s also much easier to clear you for medical treatment if you have a health insurance plan compared to having your attorney draft a letter of protection quickly.

Additionally, approved health insurance claims guarantee that hospitals or healthcare providers are paid for their services. If your attorney writes a letter of protection, you are still on the hook to pay back those healthcare providers even if you lose your upcoming lawsuit or don’t receive any damages from a settlement.

Furthermore, health insurance coverage usually results in cheaper medical bills in the long run. That’s because many health insurance providers receive contractual discounts from healthcare providers. Doctors may even provide discounts on health insurance since they know they’ll get paid quickly. In contrast, with a letter of protection, you’ll have to pay the full cost of your medical services without any discounts.

The bottom line: Letters of protection are useful when needed, but they should not be used if insurance can cover your medical bills.

Risks to Letters of Protection

Your attorney will let you know whether it’s a wise idea to use a letter of protection or not. But there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind when deciding.

The first is the example mentioned above. Letters of protection may result in you paying more for your medical treatment than you would pay if you used health insurance. Furthermore, a letter of protection can negatively affect an upcoming trial or lawsuit under some circumstances.

For example, imagine a circumstance in which you are injured from a slip-and fall-accident. Your attorney writes a letter of protection to ensure you get medical treatment fast, and a treating doctor accepts the letter in exchange for services.

However, during the court trial, the at-fault party’s attorney points out that your doctor, who serves as an expert witness for your case, has an interest in you receiving a favorable outcome. This may cause a judge or jury to view the doctor’s testimony with suspicion.

In other words, letters of protection can sometimes confuse or add complexity to court cases. This is rare, but it is something your legal counsel may bring up when determining whether a letter of intent is a good idea.

Ultimately, it’s wise to listen to your personal injury attorney on this point. If a letter of intent is absolutely necessary, use it. Otherwise, you should do what your attorney recommends in order to maximize your lawsuit’s chances of success.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

Letters of protection are valuable tools your legal representatives may create if you don’t have health insurance, or if your insurance companies are being too slow to provide payment to medical providers. Everyone deserves medical treatment in the United States, and your attorneys can help you get the treatment through letters of protection when needed.

However, knowledgeable attorneys can do much more than that. When you hire Schwartzapfel Lawyers, you’ll receive a knowledgeable legal team that can help you gather evidence, receive damages from at-fault parties, and minimize the financial strain medical care places on your family. Contact us today at 1-800-966-4999 for a free case evaluation!

Sources:

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

What Is a Letter of Protection? Learn More About The Pros and Cons of Using a Letter of Protection or LOP | HG.org

How Does Car Insurance Work? | Investopedia

Trends in Health Care Spending | Healthcare Costs in the US | AMA

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