In this video, Delaware personal injury attorney Ben Schwartz answers viewer questions about a Letter of Protection (LOP) and why you may be asked to sign one if you are injured in a car accident.
Hey Folks I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we’ve got another viewer question, this is from Ron in Wilmington, Delaware. He wrote in and he said essentially, he was asked to sign a LOP for his doctor’s office after a car accident.
He says, my attorney said it’s better than health insurance. What am I being asked to sign and how can I make sure this is not a situation where the doctor and the lawyer get paid and I do not? I think this is a wonderful question! LOP stands for Letter of Protection. This is a letter if you have been injured in a car accident, you are going to a doctor’s office or physical therapy office, it’s likely at least in the state of Delaware, it’s likely that the medical provider is going to ask you for a letter of protection.
A letter of protection (LOP) is a letter that says that if the provider has unpaid bills when you get a settlement, you will pay those unpaid bills out of your settlement. It’s a letter that oftentimes you as the patient will be asked to sign. They will give it to you or they will send it to your lawyer. They will give it to you and tell you to take it to your lawyer or they will send it to your lawyer directly and get the lawyer to sign off on it too. That way the doctor’s office can be assured that they get paid out of your settlement for any treatment that they provide you.
Yes, it can be better than health insurance. For a number of reasons which I, you know, don’t want to get into all the reasons in a video format because the video would take all day. But oftentimes we find if our client gets medical treatment and their health insurance pays for it, we have to pay the health insurance back out of the settlement. Oftentimes we have to pay back the health insurance dollar for dollar. It is called a federal ERISA health insurance plan, whereas we don’t have to deal with health insurance. If we can deal directly with the doctor’s office, if we need to ask them to take a reduction, oftentimes they are willing to work with us so that we can put more money in the client’s pocket. So it absolutely can be better than health insurance. How do you make sure that it does not create a situation where the lawyer and the doctor get paid and you as the patient, as the injured person do not? Well, you have to keep an eye on the bills. I tell my clients when you have issued a letter of protection (LOP) to a doctor’s office, you’re a consumer. You want to be a smart consumer, you know that you may have to pay those bills one day when you get your settlement.
In my mind, there should be no difference between having to pay the bills now and having to pay the bills one day from a settlement. You should keep an eye on the bills either way and that way you’re being knowledgeable. You are being intelligent and you are making wise treatment decisions. And, what you can do before the doctor says let’s pursue this course of treatment or that course of treatment or this therapy or that therapy, or this procedure or that procedure, you say doctor I’ve issued a letter of protection. Before I agree to do this, tell me how much should I expect to be billed for this treatment. Because, when I pay you from the settlement, I want to know how much will I be paying you. That is called being informed. I think it’s smart to do you know when you go to McDonald’s you look up on the menu board and you figure out do you know what you want to eat you want chicken nuggets, you want a hamburger it says right there how much you are going to pay for it when you go to a medical office or a medical clinic I don’t think it should be any different. You should know what you are going to pay for the treatment that is going to be rendered.
So I guess the point of this is Ron that’s a really good question. I really appreciate you writing in with it and the point that I want to get across is to be an informed consumer of medical treatment of medical care. I appreciate you sending that question to me folks if you are watching this video and you have a general question not specific legal advice about a particular case but a general question about how things work in personal injury cases car accident cases slip and fall cases etc. Feel free to send me an email if I can answer your question in video format I will. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for watching!