The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for motorists. It’s no secret that the majority of insurance companies will attempt to underpay or settle claims for less than what the victim is entitled. This will often cause complications for the victim who desperately needs to pay their mounting medical bills and may be unable to work for the interim. Many insurance companies will refuse to pay anything. Consequently, doctors are often reluctant to treat accident victims for fear of not receiving payment for their services.
An Option for Victims of Car Accidents Who Suffered an Injury
If the accident victim does not have health insurance to pay for their treatment until they receive a settlement, they do have a legal option. They can retain the services of a car accident lawyer VA relies on who can then write a Letter of Protection (LOP) on their behalf. This is a legal agreement that guarantees payment to our doctors upon receiving the settlement money. While LOPs are commonly used for car accidents, especially in circumstances where we were not at fault drivers, they can also be applied in such other cases as work injuries and falls.
When are LOPS Necessary?
LOPs are not always necessary, especially if we have health insurance and our carrier is willing to cover our treatment. However, if the reverse were true, we would need to have a lawyer draft this important letter on our behalf in order to get treatment. Besides, LOPs could come in handy irrespective of our having health coverage because our carrier could refuse to pay for our medical care claiming that the insurance company of the at-fault driver should pay instead. This would practically leave us between a rock and a hard place, thus necessitating drafting of an LOP.
While LOPs are not applicable to every other case, we should consider having one if:
- We are not at-fault drivers for the accident that occurred
- The hospital or doctor from whom we’re seeking treatment declines providing us the services
- We lack sufficient money or credit for covering our medical bills upfront
Effectiveness of LOPs
Numerous reasons as to why letters of protection are so effective include the following:
- Ability to Access Treatment
LOPs basically afford us an opportunity to access the much needed medical care for our injuries, which could well make the difference between survival and death. Insurance companies are not exactly eager to pay for our medical expenses; the LOP ensures that we get our well-deserved treatment and subsequently, they compel the carrier to pay for all the compounded coverage in our final settlement.
- No Need to Use Credit Card or Empty Bank Account
In the absence of an LOP, we would probably be compelled to pay upfront for our treatment while awaiting a settlement check that could take months. An LOP saves the day by allowing us to access treatment without having to pay the interest charges that we would otherwise incur if we took a personal loan to settle our medical bills.
Are there Downsides of Using LOPs?
A majority of insurance companies and their lawyers will try to convince us that LOPs are inappropriate. They will often insinuate that our doctors and attorneys are conspiring to draw unjustified money from them, which is not the case. Actually, this is one of the common tactics they employ in trying to discredit our use of this perfectly effective and normal legal tool.
Instead of delaying our medical treatment after an accident because our doctors refuse to attend to us and risk developing further complications, we could utilize the flexibility afforded by LOPs. Furthermore, failure to get medical care right away after the accident will be construed by insurance companies to mean that we didn’t need treatment in the first place, and that is why we could afford to delay. This is another one of their shady tactics employed in discrediting us while trying to minimize our settlement.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.