After I am Injured by Someone Else’s Negligence in Virginia, Can I Receive Treatment Pursuant to a Letter of Protection or a Lien by the Healthcare Provider? Can This Be Used Against Me in My Personal Injury Action?
After an accident, people who are uninsured often have little choice when it comes to paying for their healthcare for the injuries they suffered in the accident. The responsible party and/or that party’s insurer rarely steps forward to pay for the treatment that injuries caused by the responsible party’s negligence necessitated for the injured party until a suit has been filed and some sort of resolution of the injured party’s claim, whether through a trial or a settlement, has been reached. This leaves the injured party in the lurch because he or she has to find some way to pay for the healthcare that he or she desperately needs in order to recover from an accident that was caused through no fault of the victim but in which the party that caused those injuries is refusing to take responsibility for causing those injuries.
One of the options that some Virginia healthcare providers provide for patients who are uninsured and have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence is to receive treatment under what is known as a letter of protection, or LOP. The LOP is a written contractual agreement between the victim and the healthcare provider that the healthcare provider will be compensated for whatever treatment he or she provides to the injured party after his or her lawsuit is resolved. Sometimes, the healthcare provider also will enter into such an agreement directly with the injured person’s attorney. This can also be known as receiving treatment subject to a lien.
First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with receiving treatment under a letter of protection or a lien arrangement with a healthcare provider. Many people who are uninsured or otherwise cannot afford to pay for treatment for injuries they suffered due to someone else’s negligence may have no other way to receive and/or pay for badly needed medical treatment while their personal injury lawsuit is pending. This provides the injured party a means to obtain the treatment that he or she often desperately needs but also gives the healthcare provider a means to obtain some sort of guarantee of eventual payment for those services. These contractual arrangements often receive a bad rap because defense attorneys and insurers claim that accident victims or those injured by someone else’s negligence end up being overcharged for this treatment.
How Does an LOP or a Lien Work? If I Receive Treatment from a Healthcare Provider Pursuant to an LOP, Are The Charges Associated with That Treatment Recoverable in a Virginia Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A letter of protection or lien basically means that the physician or healthcare provider waits until the suit has resolved to also resolve his or her medical bills. This is most often accomplished through negotiations between a personal injury victim’s attorney and the healthcare provider in question. However, the most important thing to know about treatment received pursuant to an LOP or lien is that you absolutely can recover for the expenses of that treatment under Virginia law, regardless of whether the opposing party contests the amount that the healthcare provider billed for those services. Ultimately, it is up to the jury whether the amount that a healthcare provider asserts the treatment he or she provides is worth what that healthcare provider has billed.
What Can A Defense Lawyer Do To Hurt My Case if I Receive Treatment Pursuant to an LOP or under a Lien?
A defense attorney often will use the charges associated with treatment received by a personal injury plaintiff pursuant to an LOP or a lien as a means to attack the damages that a personal injury claimant is seeking to recover in a personal injury lawsuit. The defense attorney can and often will claim that the charges that a healthcare provider renders under an LOP are inflated when compared with what the same healthcare provider is paid for the same services by commercial health insurers. but this line of attack very often may backfire on the defense attorney. Some physicians do “charge” more under an LOP or in a lien scenario than they would if a patient was covered by health insurance.
However, an experienced healthcare provider will come right back and testify there is no guarantee the provider will ever be paid for the services he or she provided to the personal injury plaintiff if, for instance, the patient takes his or her case to trial and loses. Therefore, the healthcare provider therefore has to take this risk into account if he or she chooses to provide treatment pursuant to an LOP or a lien. In addition, a smart plaintiff’s attorney also will be point out that the victim had to receive treatment under an LOP in the first place because the party responsible for causing his or her injuries and/or that party’s insurer refused to step up and provide coverage for the healthcare treatment that the injured party desperately needed in the first place. Therefore, a defense attorney may attempt to attack the medical care you received pursuant to an LOP or lien as unnecessary or the charges for that treatment as inflated, but that can just as easily backfire on the defense attorney as it can help him or her.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
At Kalfus & Nachman, our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in compensation for our clients who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. We have represented numerous victims who were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence and were uninsured and received treatment for their injuries pursuant to an LOP or a lien. We know how to handle defense lawyers who think they are scoring points by attacking the treatment our clients may have received pursuant to an LOP or a lien, the physicians that provided that treatment or the charges those physicians submitted. Therefore, if you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident or in any other scenario, then please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation regarding your particular situation.