Know Your Options
Some people avoid seeking medical treatment because they’re scared of the costs. By the time they learn about their legal options, their body has suffered irreparable damage. Even if you do seek treatment, all the stress and instability associated with a wreck could seriously hinder your recovery. You’ll be left overwhelmed, lost, and wondering how to pay for surgery after a car or truck accident. Doctors and surgeons expect payment when they provide services—even after a catastrophe like a car or truck accident. But your health insurance provider may refuse to pay and may deny responsibility for your injuries entirely, pinning the blame on the negligent driver’s insurance company instead. This can cause major hiccups for you and your treatment. Your primary care physician may even refuse to treat you due to the complications of car accident injuries and the ensuing payment disputes.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 ProtectionA 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.