Why I Do Not Sign Letters of Protection “LOP”
Sept. 26, 2013
Leesburg Florida personal injury lawyer talks about why he refuses to sign Letters of Protection of behalf of his clients.
What is a Letter of Protection
A letter of protection is a written agreement between the doctor, patient, and lawyer where the doctor’s office will withhold collection activities for medical bills until the conclusion of the a personal injury case. Letters of protection or LOPs are used for folks who do not have health insurance, have high deductibles or cannot afford co-insurance.
Why I Do Not Sign LOPs
Presenting a personal injury case to a jury is all about credibility. The way the insurance company lawyers defend these cases is chip away at the client’s, lawyer’s and doctor’s credibility. My job when I represent a client is to protect them from things that may hurt their case and LOPs definitely hurt the case because they shift the focus away from what the defendant did to the relationship or bias between the doctor’s and lawyer’s office because of that piece of paper. Let me give you an illustration from a recent lawsuit that was appealed.
RECENT LOP CASE
In Pack v. GEICO, the plaintiff’s neurosurgeon treated the patient under an LOP. GEICO put the LOP into evidence and argued to the jury that the neurosurgeon was biased because he had skin in the game. He needed the plaintiff to recover money or he wouldn’t get paid. The Fourth DCA said that using an LOP is proper in this situation:
Any party may attack the credibility of a witness by exposing a potential bias. § 90.608(2), Fla. Stat. (2009). Evidence pertaining to a letter of protection between a plaintiff and her treating physician, when that treating physician testifies as an expert on the plaintiff’s behalf, is relevant to show potential bias. A jury is entitled to know the extent of the financial relationship between the party and the witness. . . . Therefore, the trial court properly admitted the evidence pertaining to the letter of protection because it was relevant to show a potential bias.
In the end, it is not in my client’s best interest for me to sign an LOP because their case becomes about the LOP instead of their injuries, so as a general rule, I will not enter LOP agreements.
If you have any questions about a Leesburg Florida personal injury claim, you can always call me directly on my cell at 352-267-9168 and I will attempt to answer your question.