What is a Letter of Protection?

If you’ve been injured in a car accidenttrucking accident, or in some other catastrophic accident, one of the first things that may have crossed your mind is “how will I pay for my ongoing medical expenses while I try to find a lawyer to help me with my case?”  This may be because you are one of the all-too-many people in North Carolina who don’t have health insurance, or it may be that you’re unable to meet your deductibles since you’re out of work due to your injuries. 

Whatever the exact reason, your lawyer, or someone in your doctor’s office, may have mentioned a document called a letter of protection.  Many doctors will provide services if they receive a letter of protection from a personal injury lawyer.  So, what exactly is a letter of protection?

A letter of protection is a document issued by a lawyer to a healthcare provider on behalf of a client who has been injured in an accident. The letter assures the healthcare provider that the client’s medical bills will be paid from the proceeds of a potential settlement or judgment resulting from the accident. This means that the healthcare provider can provide necessary medical treatment to the client without requiring payment at the time of service.


A letter of protection is often used in situations where the client is unable to pay for their medical treatment out-of-pocket due to their injuries. In such cases, the healthcare provider may be hesitant to provide treatment without assurance that they will be paid. The letter of protection provides this assurance, allowing the healthcare provider to treat the client without requiring immediate payment.


In the simplest terms: the lawyer is telling the doctor “Hey, I know you really need to be paid for your good and valuable healthcare.  I am a well-respected personal injury lawyer in this area, and I think your patient has a good case and a great chance at recovering money.  If you’re willing to wait, I will make sure you get paid directly from my office’s trust account.” 

The letter of protection is typically issued after the lawyer has reviewed the client’s case and determined that there is a good chance of obtaining a settlement or judgment. The letter typically states the estimated value of the case, the amount of the client’s medical bills, and language necessary to assure the healthcare provider that they will most likely get their bills paid.

What is a Letter of Protection?

In most cases, the client will not be required to pay anything out-of-pocket for providing medical treatment to the client. Instead, the provider will be paid from the proceeds of the settlement or judgment when the case is resolved. This can provide peace of mind for both the client and the healthcare provider, as it allows the client to receive necessary medical treatment without worrying about how to pay for it, and it allows the healthcare provider to treat the client without the risk of not being paid.

It’s important to note that a letter of protection is not a guarantee that the healthcare provider or the lawyer will be paid. The payment of medical bills and legal fees is contingent on the successful resolution of the case. If the case is not successful, the healthcare provider and the lawyer may not be able to recover their costs.  The injured person will likely still be on the hook to pay back those healthcare bills, even if they are not likely to accomplish the goal.



What is a Letter of Protection?

The reputation of the personal injury lawyer issuing the letter of protection is important.  The most reputable the attorney, the more likely the doctor is to believe that their bill really will be paid.  A personal injury lawyer with a reputation of not honoring the agreement (or losing their cases), or an attorney who doesn’t primarily handle person injury cases, is unlikely to be taken seriously by a doctor, thereby rendering the Letter of Protection ineffective. 

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, and are struggling to figure out how to get the treatment that you need to get better, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free case consultation, and if we’re able to help you get the treatment you deserve we will do everything in our power to do so.

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