When a client seeks medical treatment but has not insurance coverage to pay for it, a doctor or other medical provider may request a Letter of Protection. Like a health care lien, a letter of protection is a document that binds the law firm to pay the physician or medical provider its outstanding balance due from the proceeds of the personal injury case once the case is settled or the final judgment is recovered.
A typical letter of protection is issued by the doctor or medical provider itself. It is generally signed by the patient as well as the lawyer. Although it appears in the form of a letter, it is drafted in contractual language intended to bind the client and the lawyer to pay the doctor from the money received in any settlement or judgment paid on the personal injury claim.
Failure by the lawyers to abide by the letter of protection could result in a claim by the doctor against the lawyer, as well as a claim by the client against the lawyer.