No Health Insurance & Seeking a Letter of Protection
June 30, 2022
If you get injured in an accident but do not have health insurance, it may seem that your only option to get the medical care you need is to pay for the treatment out of pocket. However, your medical bills could reach thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of your injuries, which may carry a significant financial burden.
Fortunately, there may be a way to get the treatment you need, even if you do not have health insurance. In this situation, you may need a letter of protection (LOP) to get medical care immediately if you are uninsured or your insurance provider delays making a payment.
At Life Law, our personal injury attorneys routinely issue letters of protection when our clients need them. We advocate for the rights of accident victims throughout the state of North Carolina, including Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Asheville.
What Is a Letter of Protection?
A letter of protection is a document prepared by an attorney representing an accident victim and sent to a healthcare provider. LOPs are usually used in personal injury and workers’ comp cases. A letter of protection guarantees that the accident victim will pay for the medical treatment directly out of a future settlement or verdict award.
Essentially, a letter of protection constitutes a legally binding contract between the injured party, their attorney, and the healthcare provider. Without this document, an accident victim may be denied medical care if they cannot pay for it or do not have insurance to cover the costs of treatment.
Why Is it Important to Seek Medical Care?
Seeking medical attention if you were injured is important to protect your health. Your health is the primary reason to get medical care as soon as possible after an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent following the accident, which is why a victim can benefit from seeing a doctor; they can get their medical condition diagnosed even if they believe that they were not injured.
However, if you cannot pay for your medical treatment, seeking medical care after an accident may become burdensome. In fact, many accident victims who do not have insurance to cover their expenses choose to forego medical attention. As a result, they risk aggravating their injuries and lowering the chance of making a quick and full recovery.
In such cases, seeking a letter of protection may be the necessary step to take to get the medical treatment you need, even if you do not have health insurance to cover your medical bills right away.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Letter of Protection
Before asking your attorney to issue a letter of protection on your behalf, you need to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of LOPs. Some of the benefits of using a letter of protection include:
You are more likely to get immediate medical attention for your injuries and schedule appointments with doctors if you have a letter of protection.
A letter of protection helps you protect your credit if you have incurred medical bills.
A LOP makes it easier for you and your attorney to gather medical records for your legal case.
With a letter of protection, your attorney may be able to ask a healthcare provider to lower your medical bills.
Doctors are more willing to provide trial testimony when the injured party uses a letter of protection.
Despite the above-mentioned benefits, using a LOP has its drawbacks:
Because there is a higher risk of non-payment when using a letter of protection, some healthcare providers may charge higher fees for the treatment and other medical services.
A doctor may send the injured party for tests at hospitals that do not accept letters of protection.
The insurance company could use a letter of protection to discredit a doctor’s testimony in the victim’s personal injury case, arguing that the testimony is biased.
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault but you do not have health insurance, you might be considering seeking a letter of protection. If this sounds like your situation, you might want to speak with an attorney to discuss your options.
Getting the Legal Guidance You Need
Seeking a letter of protection when you do not have insurance to pay for your treatment can be a tricky matter. That is why you may need to get the legal guidance of a knowledgeable attorney to review your situation and help you understand your options. At Life Law, we assist accident victims with the personal injury claims process in Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville, North Carolina, and throughout the state. Contact our office today to book a consultation.