If you or one of your relatives has been injured in a Fort Worth traffic wreck or other serious accident, you are probably facing enormous medical bills. Declining emergency medical treatment or necessary rehab such as physical therapy or chiropractic treatment is not an option, so how can you get the care you need without racking up tens or even hundreds of dollars in personal debt?
The answer is you need to consult with a board certified Fort Worth personal injury lawyer who will be able to issue you a letter of protection.
A letter of protection is a document provided by your Fort Worth injury attorney to your doctor, guaranteeing that all your medical bills will be paid at a later date. Basically, your attorney agrees to hold funds from your accident settlement to pay the doctor should there be sufficient funds from the settlement. The funds typically come from your part of the settlement after your lawyer collects his fee, and is treated like a lien against your settlement.
For example, if you get a $50,000 settlement and your medical bills are $30,000, and your doctor has a letter of protection with your attorney, your attorney pays your doctor the $30,000 from your settlement before he issues you the remaining $20,000 from the settlement. If there’s no letter of protection, you get the entire amount of the settlement, and then you are responsible for paying your medical bills from it.
A letter of protection typically only comes into play if you need to receive medical care but don’t have health insurance, or if your health insurance refuses to pay for your medical care. It is a great way to receive medical care you wouldn’t otherwise be able to receive. In the event that your insurance isn’t paying, a doctor may agree to treat you anyway and defer his bills based on the letter of protection. If this happens, you still owe the money to the doctor – the doctor is just agreeing to hold his bills while your case is being processed.
If you don’t win your case, the injured party is still liable to pay your medical bills. The letter of protection isn’t an agreement to waive your bills; it only defers them until the case is finished. If you don’t win your case, you must pay your bills out of pocket.
Some people believe that because a letter of protection is a document between your attorney and your doctor, your attorney becomes liable to pay your bills. That is incorrect. A letter of protection is never an agreement to pay your bills. It’s only an agreement to disburse funds from your settlement, should a settlement be reached. If a settlement is not reached, you are liable for your medical bills – not your personal injury lawyer.
At the Anderson Law Firm, we routinely issue letters of protection when it is needed. We are glad to do so because it helps our clients get the medical attention they need. For more information, please fill out our contact form online or call toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally in Fort Worth at 817-294-1900.
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