No one wants to find themselves butting heads with insurance companies. After a car accident, however, it might be the only option for your recovery—especially if your injuries call for expensive surgeries. If you are out of work after a car accident, how do you pay your bills? If you need surgery, who will cover it?
A solution may be within reach – it’s called a letter of protection. Keep reading to find out how it can help.
Know Your Options
The at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance won’t pay for your surgery when you need it, either. Instead, they expect you to pay for your surgery out of pocket, then submit all of the bills to them when treatment is finished. The struggle doesn’t end there either – they may try to fight your claim.This process can take months, especially if you require physical therapy. The insurance company may try to offer you a settlement for the surgery your car or truck accident forced you to undergo. Usually, this number is pitifully low and does not cover the hardship you’ve gone through. And what if you are unable to pay upfront?
How do you recover safely and successfully? How do you get what the insurance company rightfully owes you?
That’s where a letter of protection comes in handy. So what is a letter of protection and how can it help you?
Letter of Protection
A letter of protection, also known as an LOP, is a letter submitted to a medical professional by a personal injury lawyer representing an injured client. A letter of protection guarantees a medical provider will receive their payment from a pending claim settlement or future lawsuit award. This means medical providers agree to treat you and postpone their payment collection until your case is finalized – whenever that happens. While you recover, future medical bills for the duration of your treatment and claim will go to your attorney for proper record keeping (though you can request copies.) If your attorney settles your case or wins your lawsuit, they are then obligated to follow up and confirm that the medical provider’s bills get settled out of a portion of the funds awarded to you.
A letter of protection can also delay debt collection on previous medical bills. For example, if you were in a car crash and received urgent emergency medical care, the facility might’ve billed your health insurance carrier. If your insurance refuses to pay for this bill for whatever reason, your car accident attorney may get a letter of protection to keep the facility off of your back – and keep them from damaging your credit.
Do I need surgery after a car accident?
Not all injuries are obvious. After a car accident, you might feel like you have a sprain or a pulled muscle that just doesn’t seem to heal, when you really need surgery. For example, you might think a neck injury that needs cervical spinal fusion surgery is merely whiplash. Don’t make this mistake. Get properly examined.
Common surgeries needed after car accidents include:
- Knee surgery: Due to your body’s position when riding or driving, your knees are vulnerable in a car crash. Your knees could bang into your dashboard or other parts of your car, causing ligament injuries like posterior cruciate ligament injuries or medial collateral ligament injuries (also known as PCL and MCL knee injuries.) You could have pain and swelling, and other bones like your tibia and femur could be affected. Surgery can be needed to fix these problems.
- Back surgery: Back injuries are among the most common injuries in a car accident. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may need back surgery like a vertebroplasty (injections of bone cement to repair fractures) or a discectomy (removal of a herniated disc.) Back surgery recovery could take weeks or even months, leaving you out of work.
- Spinal fusion: Spinal fusion, also called spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis, is an orthopedic surgery technique that joins two or more vertebrae in your back or neck. Spinal fusion may be needed to stabilize the spine after the removal of a herniated disc, a common car accident injury.
- Plastic surgery: Reconstructive plastic surgery may be needed if burns, cuts, or lacerations from a car accident leave you scarred and disfigured.
- Dental surgeries: If your face or mouth strikes your steering wheel or anything else during a car accident, your teeth could suffer severe damage. Mouth injuries may require surgery and dental implants. Serious dental injuries can even impede your ability to speak or eat.
- Brain surgery: Traumatic brain injuries from car accidents may need surgery. If you hit your head during a car crash, your brain could swell or develop a build-up of fluid in your skull. If pressure in your brain rises, your life is in danger. Surgery can relieve this pressure and minimize brain damage.
What is a letter of protection?
A letter of protection, also known as an LOP, is a letter submitted to a medical professional by a personal injury lawyer representing an injured client. A letter of protection guarantees a provider will receive their payment for medical treatment from a pending claim settlement or future lawsuit award. This means the client receives care—including surgery for car or truck accident injuries—but pays nothing upfront.
Why do I need a letter of protection?
You can run into a ton of complications when seeking medical treatment after a car accident. You may have inadequate health insurance coverage (or none at all), or maybe the negligent driver’s insurance company is arguing with you.
A letter of protection safeguards you. It is a contractual agreement that allows you to get the care you need, when you need it.
How do I get a letter of protection?
When you partner with a car accident attorney, they can connect you with the medical care you need and send a letter of protection ASAP.
How much money will I get from a car accident lawsuit?
While we would love to tell you what to expect, the truth is the average payout for car accident injuries varies depending on the specifics of your case. You will need a car accident lawyer to properly evaluate your case. Your accident settlement amount will likely include property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and more.
How long does it take to get a settlement for a car accident?
Your insurance settlement depends on many details, including how long your settlement is and how long it takes you to complete your surgeries, and subsequent medical treatments. You do NOT want to rush through this. Follow all of your provider’s instructions, regardless of how long it takes. This is necessary for your recovery. When you conclude your treatments, your motor vehicle accident lawyer can accurately calculate your medical expenses and your settlement may proceed quickly from there.
What happens if I lose a car accident lawsuit?
In the event you cannot reach a fair settlement offer, your attorney should prepare to take your case to court. If you go to trial, lose your case, and receive no compensation, you are responsible for your medical bills. The medical provider then has the right to pursue payment like any other debt.
We want you to get your life back. Injury settlement awards can help.
If you need surgery after a car accident, you deserve guidance. A skilled lawyer can advise you on the unique details of your case, such as how to use insurance to cover your medical payments and how much to expect from an injury settlement. You might not know what you’re entitled to, but it’s our job to.
Contact us now. It’s the first step toward getting help to pay for surgery due to a car accident.
Stewart J. Guss
12777 Jones Rd Suite 297
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.