Primarily, a letter of protection “protects” injury victims from high car crash-related medical bills. The average injury-related hospital bill exceeds $60,000.
Most health insurance companies refuse to pay these expenses, for liability reasons. And, most New Yorkers do not have that kind of money in their savings accounts. They are in no position to pay these massive bills out of their own pockets.
So, a New York personal injury attorney sends a letter of protection to medical providers. Since these letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved, these providers usually charge nothing upfront for their services. A letter of protection has additional benefits as well.
For example, since these letters give attorneys negotiating leverage, attorneys are often able to reduce the amount owed. That could mean victims get to keep more of their settlement money.
Additionally, letters of protection ease the financial pressure these victims feel. So, they are less likely to take the first offer just to “get it over with.”
Car Crash Injuries
Every year, vehicle collisions kill or seriously injure millions of Americans. Some of the serious injuries these victims sustain include:
- Head Injuries: Frequently, the motion of a crash, as opposed to a trauma impact, causes a head injury. The violent motion causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. The resulting injuries are always permanent. Doctors can ease the symptoms of a head injury, but never “cure” the wound itself.
- Excessive Blood Loss: This motion also causes internal organs to grind and bump against each other. This friction usually causes extensive bleeding. These organs have no protective skin layer. In fact, by the time emergency responders arrive on the scene, many victims have already lost about a fifth of their blood.
- Broken Bones: The extreme force of a high-speed wreck usually shatters bones instead of merely breaking them. Doctors must use metal components to reconstruct these crushed bones. As a result, these victims usually need extensive, and costly, physical therapy to regain lost functions.
In addition to compensation for medical bills and other economic losses, car wreck victims are also entitled to compensation for their noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
New York personal injury attorneys also send letters of protection in other injury cases, such as falls. Although the force in a fall is usually not as extreme.
Many of these victims face similar medical bills, mostly because they have pre-existing conditions, like weak bones or a prior fall injury.
Victims must eventually pay their injury-related medical bills. So, it’s critical to establish liability. That usually means the ordinary negligence principle or the negligence per se rule.
Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care.
This duty requires them to be fully alert and completely focused on driving, obey the rules of the road, and avoid accidents when possible.
If drivers do not live up to this standard, perhaps because they are mildly intoxicated or overly tired, they could be liable for damages if they cause crashes.
Likewise, most property owners also have a duty of care. They must ensure that their property is reasonably safe. They must also inspect the premises and make sure this high standard is maintained. A few landowners have lesser legal responsibilities in some cases.
Negligence per se is usually the violation of a safety law, such as speeding in a car or violating a building code.
If these violations substantially cause injury, the driver or property owner could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
In both vehicle collision and premises liability claims, comparative fault is usually the most common insurance company defense.
This rule of law shifts blame for an accident off the tortfeasor (negligent actor) and onto the victim.
Vehicle collision comparative fault usually involves a driver error. For example, an insurance company might admit that its insured motorist was sleepy and blame the wreck on the victim’s excessive speed.
Fall and other premises liability comparative fault usually involves a failure to watch where one was going. Insurance companies cannot use a victim’s vulnerabilities, like poor eyesight, as an excuse to rescue or deny compensation.
In comparative fault cases, jurors must divide responsibility on a percentage basis. New York is a pure comparative fault state.
So, even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the injury, the tortfeasor is still liable for a proportionate share of damages.
Letters of protection are vital in most injury claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.