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A Brief Primer on Authorization and Assignment (A&A/LOP)

Posted on 03/11/24 by admin in Personal Injury

In the wake of an injurious accident, the first and most obvious priority should be seeking prompt medical attention. But in serious cases, the cost of care may outstrip your ability to pay. Did you know that your attorney can help resolve this situation? By working with you and your doctor, your attorney can ensure that you receive the care required to expedite your recovery and live the best possible life in the wake of your accident. In most states, this contractual arrangement is called a letter of protection or LOP. In Maryland, it’s most often referred to as an Authorization and Assignment or A&A. Either way, it can ensure that doctors and patients alike receive what they’re looking for. Today’s blog post will explain Authorization and Assignment, how it works, and its pros and cons.

authorization and assignment

Understanding Authorization and Assignment (A&A)

Let’s return to the earlier scenario we drew. An injured person is given the invoice for surgical, therapeutic, narcotic, or other services provided by their medical professionals. The injured person cannot afford their treatment, but delaying the necessary procedures will only allow the injuries to worsen. This is where the services of an attorney can be a lifesaver. If the injured party has retained an attorney after their accident and is pursuing compensation, their attorney can facilitate their medical treatment. Authorization and Assignment, or a Letter of Protection, is a written agreement wherein the doctor agrees to defer payment for services rendered until the personal injury case reaches settlement. Once a settlement is reached, the doctor will then receive their payment directly from the settlement payments. All of this happens with the consent of the injured party. Your attorney cannot do this on your behalf without your informed consent.

What is a Letter of Protection (LOP)?

In short, the only real difference between the two is the state you’re in. That may sound glib, but these are two terms used to describe, in essence, the same thing. It’s still important to differentiate the two. Even within our own region, both terms are used in different areas. Virginia and Washington DC will use the phrase “Letter of Protection” to describe a written agreement sent by a personal injury attorney to a doctor who has agreed to defer payment for services rendered. Maryland is unique in that it uses the term “authorization and assignment” for this same practice.

What is Meant by “No Out of Pocket Fees?”

Phrases like “no out of pocket costs” or “you don’t pay unless we win” are often used by law firms advertising their services. A&A/LOP are a key component of this pitch. By leveraging their connections with medical professionals, attorneys are able to secure necessary medical care for their clients without placing a burden on their own personal finances. The agreement in writing (which is the actual Letter of Protection or Authorization and Assignment) stipulates that the doctor’s fees will be paid out of any money secured in a settlement of the case. This goes hand in hand with the “contingency fee system.” Under this system, the attorney’s fees are also paid out of any settlement won. This is how attorneys can advertise their services as having no financial burden to potential clients.

authorization and assignment

The Pros and Cons of A&A


We’ve already illustrated one of the key pros in receiving an LOP or A&A. If a doctor agrees to one, that means the injured person is not immediately on the hook for medical bills. But that may be an even bigger lifesaver than you may imagine. An A&A or LOP means that unpaid medical bills do not accrue late fees or interest. This means no calls from collections agencies and no adverse effects to your credit rating. This is especially important to remember, as personal injury cases may stretch on for months or even years before reaching a settlement.

But that’s not all. Keep in mind that a doctor who’s agreed to an arrangement like this has incentive to be as thorough as possible in determining the cause and extent of your injuries.


There are, of course, drawbacks. Some injured persons may be uncomfortable with (in essence) granting their doctor a lien over any financial compensation they may receive from personal injury proceedings. The injured party may wish to keep their options more open, or just decide that a payment plan is the more financially responsible move.

Another key weakness of the Authorization and Assignment, or Letter of Protection, is also one of its strengths. A doctor with incentive to see you receive compensation may be painted as biased by opposing council, especially in the event that a case goes to trial.  An experienced attorney will be able to refute these allegations, but the risk remains.

letter of protection

How Malloy Law Can Help

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, and is unsure of their options for receiving medical treatment, contact Malloy Law today. Our experienced team of attorneys offers free consultations. In this casual environment, a legal professional will assess your case and plot a course of action to meet your needs. Don’t wait to seek the compensation you are entitled to! Don’t put off the medical care you need! Contact Malloy Law today and let’s win your case.