A letter of protection (LOP) is a legally binding agreement. It’s a letter you and your personal injury lawyer draw up after your accident and send to doctors and medical facilities. It specifies that you agree to pay all of your medical bills when you get your settlement or court award.
In return, the medical provider(s) agree to provide you with the treatment you need and delay payment. A LOP can be a good option if you need expensive medical care but you’re uninsured/underinsured and can’t afford to pay out of pocket. The trick is finding a provider who will work on lien; most doctors avoid them because of the risk of not being paid.
A Letter of Protection vs. a Medical Lien
There’s a lot of industry jargon that gets thrown around in personal injury cases. You probably know more now about compensatory and punitive damages than you ever thought you would. When it comes to getting medical care after your accident, you need to know the difference between a letter of protection and a medical lien.
Some people use the terms interchangeably. While the two are closely related, they are not exactly the same.
Letter of Protection
A LOP tells a medical provider that:
- You cannot currently pay your medical bills.
- You are currently involved in a personal injury case.
- You agree to pay your full treatment costs when you recover damages.
Your lawyer will sign and date the LOP before sending it to your doctor or another medical provider. The healthcare provider then agrees to treat you and wait to get paid. Both the medical provider and your lawyer will keep track of your medical costs.
It’s important to note that an LOP does come with a risk. If you lose your case or your settlement is not enough to cover medical costs, you still have to pay.
You and your lawyer come up with a LOP voluntarily. A medical lien or hospital lien is a legal claim that a medical provider or hospital places against your settlement. A lien is essentially a legal demand for repayment.
When you went to the emergency room after your accident, the doctors and nurses treated you without concern for whether you had insurance or not. That’s because the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals to provide emergency treatment to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. But the hospital is certainly going to pursue payment.
If you don’t have insurance and can’t pay the bills, they can file a medical lien with the county. When your case reaches settlement, the medical lien will need to be paid. And if you lose your case, the hospital or medical provider can still try and get payment – they may send a bill collector after you.
For a free legal consultation, call (877) 735-0016
Pre-Settlement Medical Funding Offers a Risk-Free Solution
The good news is that you have another option to get the medical care you need without paying upfront. Personal injury medical lien funding from High Rise Financial offers a risk-free solution.
- We pay the doctor or hospital for your medical costs directly.
- You pay back the funds when you win your case.
- If you lose your case, you don’t have to pay us back.
We understand that you have medical needs now and can’t wait for your settlement. We have a network of healthcare professionals, surgery centers, and hospitals that will treat personal injury plaintiffs on a lien.
Once we know what type of doctor you need to see or what surgery you need, we can facilitate your medical care with a member of our lien-based network. And if you prefer to continue seeing a provider who doesn’t take liens, we can arrange to pay them directly for any medical treatment. In either scenario, we pay the provider directly, so you don’t have any copays, deductibles, or bill collectors harassing you for payment.
Apply for Medical Lien Funding with High Rise Financial
If you need surgery or other medical care as a result of your accident and can’t afford to pay the medical bills, medical lien funding may be a good solution. Either you or your lawyer can apply by filling out the form. In most cases, we can have a decision for you quickly, and can even help schedule your first appointment.
As always, if you have questions or need help, call our office at (866) 407-6404. You can also start an online chat if it’s during regular business hours.