Apr 27, 2021
When you suffer an unfortunate experience like a car, motorcycle, or truck accident, the resulting injuries can leave you with mounting medical bills and even lost wages. If your accident was due to another’s negligence, it is recommended that you proceed with filing a civil lawsuit to recover damages for any ensuing injuries. But civil lawsuits for car and motorcycle accidents are not settled overnight. In fact, it can take weeks, months, or even years to reach a final decision via a settlement or verdict in such cases. Throughout the legal process, how is an injured victim expected to pay for rightly owed medical expenses that can, in many cases, be exorbitant?
Even if you have solid medical insurance, you may be faced with considerable bills after an accident. Without the protection of medical insurance, you may find yourself in a dire financial situation. To protect injured victims from bill collectors, a Letter of Protection (also known as a personal injury lien) can be a necessary lifeline.
After an accident, the first step an injured victim should take is securing representation from a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer. When an injured victim endures significant medical bills from their accident, a Letter of Protection or personal injury lien can be used as a means of temporarily pausing payments to doctors and hospitals. Attorneys and medical providers often use the terms ‘lien’ and ‘Letter of Protection’ interchangeably (the only actual difference being that a lien is filed with the county, while a Letter of Protection is not). For our purposes, we’ll use the term Letter of Protection going forward.
A Letter of Protection may be issued to a doctor or medical provider who has cared for a personal injury victim. The Letter or Protection is a legal document that should be submitted via a licensed personal injury attorney (drafting and issuing a letter by yourself is not recommended given the legal complexities and potential consequences in the event of an oversight). Your attorney will request that the doctor or hospital hold any outstanding bills for collection until after the personal injury lawsuit is resolved. A Letter of Protection does not transfer the responsibility of the medical bills from the injured victim to the attorney. Rather, a Letter of Protection is an official contract between the patient and the medical care provider.
As the injured victim, you will need to authorize your car accident or motorcycle accident attorney to issue the Letter of Protection on your behalf. After your consent, the letter will simply state that you agree to pay the medical provider’s bills from the proceeds of a settlement of verdict resulting from your personal injury claim. In the event that you are not successful in your civil case against the at-fault party, you will still be responsible for covering any medical bills out-of-pocket. This is one of many reasons why it is so important that car accident, truck accident, scooter accident, and motorcycle accident victims (among various other types) secure competent, seasoned, and dedicated representation with a personal injury attorney who will fight to ensure their case reaches a successful conclusion in the form of a maximum financial damages award.
There are a number of factors that can make a personal injury victim of any type of accident a good candidate for a Letter of Protection. One of the most important considerations is whether or not you have health insurance. Moreover, the extent of your coverage – whether an HMO, PPO, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. – is an important consideration to review when determining if a Letter of Protection is necessary.
If you do not have health insurance, a Letter of Protection is almost certainly something you, as an injured accident victim, should obtain. However, even if you do have a decent health insurance policy, it’s important to note that many providers include maximum limits (whether lifetime or annual). In such instances, a Letter of Protection can be necessary, as the cost of healthcare in the United States is often extreme, particularly after a serious accident.
Catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, amputation, burns, and paralysis can lead to mounting medical bills. An extended stay in the hospital with multiple surgeries following a car accident can leave an injured victim with a bill totaling millions of dollars. Moreover, the cost of services can vary dramatically among various hospitals and healthcare providers, leaving some uninsured injury victims with inconceivable debts.
If you or someone you love suffered a serious accident leading to catastrophic injuries, a Letter of Protection should more than likely be considered. However, given the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S., it’s important that even injury victims with expansive insurance policies are aware of the letter’s potential benefits.
Yes, a Letter of Protection constitutes a binding legal contract between you, the injured victim, your personal injury attorney, and your medical care provider(s). A Letter of Protection is essentially a promise to pay any and all medical expenses after your injury claim reaches a conclusion via a verdict or settlement. As the injured victim, you agree to pay the amount of any outstanding medical bills via a final damages award. If you do not win your personal injury civil case, the Letter of Protection states that you still promise to make those payments and repay any outstanding debt accrued as a result.
Any potential downside to a Letter of Protection would likely be viewed from the perspective that you could, in theory, be responsible for considerable medical bills in the event that your case is not successful. However, if your personal injury attorney is experienced and knowledgeable, he or she would likely not accept a weak case in the first place, let alone advise a client to enter into a Letter of Protection believing that you would more than likely be left with financial hardships. For a guide to why a personal injury attorney might not accept a car accident or other type of case, visit our recent blog.
Simply stated, if you secure a skilled and dedicated personal injury attorney like Sam Dordulian and the team at DLG, you will never have to worry about being pushed into a Letter of Protection that is not in your best interest.
Insurance companies are notorious for branding Letters of Protection as inadvisable and something personal injury victims will eventually regret. But if you consider the underlying motives of insurance companies – saving money and settling claims fast – it’s easy to see that such a claim is, in most instances, dubious.
Doctors and hospitals are clearly taking a risk when entering into a Letter of Protection agreement with a car accident, slip and fall, or dog bite victim. But at Dordulian Law Group, we’ve been working with doctors and hospitals throughout California for decades. When injured victims choose Dordulian Law Group, they can be confident that a Letter of Protection will be negotiated seamlessly on their behalf.
We’ve worked tirelessly for years to establish relationships with quality healthcare providers, allowing them (and you) to be assured that when we take on a case, we’re confident we can win. Furthermore, we do everything we can to ensure a maximum damages award is recovered for every client.
DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. In under 13 years we’ve successfully recovered over $100,000,000 for injured clients like you, and managed to maintain a 98% success rate.
When you choose DLG, you get added advantages to help ensure your case is successful – advantages you can’t find at just any firm.
While many “mega firms” are often quick to settle car accident claims without taking the time to fight for a maximum damages award, DLG prepares every case for trial. This ensures that, in the event a maximum settlement can’t be reached, rather than simply settling for a lowball figure we will fight at trial on your behalf. Sam Dordulian has successfully handled over 100 jury trials throughout his career. With the advantage of having each case prepared for trial, insurance companies and at-fault defense attorneys know we never settle for less than a maximum damages award.
Additionally, DLG employs an in-house Chief Investigator to uncover critical evidence in each case. This can be an invaluable advantage for our clients, as a proper investigation and precise legal strategy can be the difference between a thousand-dollar settlement and a multi-million dollar settlement. DLG’s Chief Investigator is a former LAPD detective, Moses Castillo, who spent much of his nearly 30 years with the force in the department’s elite Central Traffic Division. When an injured client comes to DLG with a car accident claim, we deploy Detective Moses to uncover every bit of evidence that will help strengthen and ultimately prove the case.
And if you’re wondering whether or not you need to hire a car accident lawyer – weighing if a quick settlement with the insurance company might be in your best interest – know that DLG’s Personal Injury Division features two skilled attorneys who previously worked as defense lawyers for major auto insurance companies. With their insider knowledge and experience, DLG clients get the added advantage of ensuring that any tricks, methods, or tactics utilized by these powerful insurance companies will be effectively countered.
When you suffer any type of injury, the first call should always be to D-L-G.
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