You’re hurt, and it wasn’t your fault. So who pays for your medical bills? Whether you were injured in a car accident or slipped and fell on another person’s property, Kentucky state law affords you the right to recover compensation for your damages from the at-fault party.
But what is a letter of protection, and how does it factor into your personal injury claim? If you need medical care following an accident or injury, a letter of protection can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
- Letters of protection help guarantee your access to timely medical care following an accident or injury.
- Not every doctor accepts letters of protection.
- You must work with an attorney if you intend to use a letter of protection.
What Is a Letter of Protection and What Is its Purpose?
A letter of protection is a contract between you, your attorney, and your health care providers. This legally-binding document guarantees that your doctor (or doctors) will be paid for their services rendered from your personal injury settlement or verdict.
In other words, a letter of protection (LOP) is a promise that your doctors will be paid in the future for the care you’re receiving in the present.
But why bother with a LOP? Why not simply go through the normal channels of filing a claim with your health insurer and paying your own co-pays? If another person’s negligence caused your injuries, they are responsible for your related financial losses—including your medical expenses. You shouldn’t have to pay for another person’s wrongdoing.
The letter of promise you enter into with your lawyer and your doctor helps you secure and receive the medical care you need now without having to worry about the cost.
When You Need a Letter of Protection
So now you know what a letter of protection is. But when do you need one?
You may need a LOP if you’ve been injured in an accident or incident that wasn’t your fault, and that instead was caused by the negligent, reckless, wrongful, or malicious actions of another person or entity. You can choose to file a personal injury claim if you were injured in or because of any of the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Dangerous or defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Dangerous property conditions
- Workplace accidents
The above is an incomplete list of the different types of personal injury cases that may require a LOP. If you don’t see the type of accident you were hurt in listed above, do not hesitate to contact Golden Law Office to learn more. We offer free consultations to injury victims in Lexington, KY and the surrounding areas.
What Types of Treatments Does a Letter of Protection Cover?
Barring extenuating circumstances, a letter of protection should ideally cover all medical care and expenses for your accident-related injury. The type of care you will need will depend heavily on your diagnosis, as well as the extent and severity of your condition.
Examples of medical expenses an LOP can cover include:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room bills
- Hospital fees
- In-patient and out-patient treatments
- Primary care visits
- Specialist appointments
- Imaging (including X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds)
- Blood work and other diagnostic tests
- Physical therapy
You may need more than one LOP if you are receiving care from more than one medical provider. For example, a car accident victim may be seen by an emergency room doctor, their primary care physician, an orthopedic surgeon, and a neurosurgeon. In this situation, a separate LOP would be required for each treating physician.
What Happens if I Don’t Win My Case?
A letter of protection promises your medical provider that they will be paid at the conclusion of your personal injury claim. While the goal is to pay your incurred medical expenses from your settlement or court award, there is a third possible outcome—you may lose the case and have to pay for your own medical expenses.
This is a possibility that is understandably worrying. Even with health insurance, medical care is not cheap in Kentucky.
While there is no way to guarantee that you will win a personal injury claim, you still need medical care and treatment. An LOP is one of the most effective ways to guarantee timely care and treatment while pursuing compensation via an injury claim.
And to ensure that you’ve built the strongest possible claim based on all available evidence, we strongly recommend working with a Lexington car accident lawyer that puts their clients first.
Can I Use a Letter of Protection Without a Lawyer?
No, you cannot use a letter of protection to guarantee payment to your doctor without a licensed attorney. Medical providers will not accept LOPs without the involvement of a lawyer. At its most fundamental level, an LOP is a legally-binding contract between you, your doctor, and an attorney. An LOP cannot be implemented if one of these parties is missing.
But if you’re worried about the cost of your medical care and treatment, chances are you’re also worried about the cost of hiring an attorney.
The good news is that many personal injury law firms (including Golden Law Office) are able to accept clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case for you.
Do All Doctors Accept Letters of Protection?
No, not every doctor will accept a letter of protection. The reasons that medical providers choose to decline LOPs vary but may include:
- Uncertainty of personal injury claim’s timeline
- Prior bad experiences with LOPs
- Possibility of bills going unpaid if the case is lost
If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, be sure to ask your doctor if they accept LOPs before your first appointment. If you attend the first appointment only to learn they don’t take LOPs, you may be on the hook for the full cost of that appointment.
Golden Law Office—Prioritizing the Needs of Injury Victims
Every attorney at Golden Law Office is committed to a singular goal—providing unparalleled legal representation to those who have been injured through no fault of their own. We are a law firm built on the experience, knowledge, expertise, and dedication of attorneys who stand up to the big insurance companies.
And now we’re ready to put that experience to work for you. We’re here to answer difficult questions like, “What are my legal options after a serious accident?” and “What is a letter of protection?”
Contact us online or by phone, and we’ll schedule you for a completely free informational meeting.
Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.