This is a tough problem, but fortunately, there is usually a solution.

If you need immediate medical attention, go to an emergency room. The emergency room cannot legally refuse treatment if you are in immediate need. If you suffered a serious injury and have not been treated for it, go to the emergency room now. You can sort out the details later.

If you need to see a doctor, orthopedist, neurologist, therapist, or other medical professional after a car accident on a non-urgent basis but you don’t have any way to pay for it, there are a couple options. First, some doctors and medical practices are willing to provide treatment and let you pay them later out of your car accident settlement. These doctors can provide the medical treatment you need, and then get compensated for their work at the conclusion of your case out of the car accident settlement or verdict. Car accident lawyers and doctors often call this “treating on a lien” because the doctor, medical practice, chiropractor, or therapist normally takes a “lien” (i.e., the legal right to collect money) from the patient’s “cause of action” (i.e., the car accident case). A reputable car accident lawyer can suggest a few doctors who are willing to work in this way.

The second option involves “medical funding” companies.  Medical funding companies pay for the medical treatment that car accident victims need by paying the doctors or other medical treatment providers on behalf of the patient, much like a health insurance company would. The medical funding company then gets paid back at the when the case is over out of the car accident settlement or verdict. Typically, medical funding companies will not provide funding without signed agreement with the patient and the car accident lawyer.

To use either of these options – treating on a lien, or medical funding – you typically must have a good car accident lawyer. That’s because the doctor or funding company insists on it. The doctor, medical treatment provider, or medical funding company may not get compensated for the medical treatment or funding that they provide if there isn’t a sizable settlement or verdict at the end of the car accident case. If the patient hasn’t hired a good car accident lawyer, the doctor or medical funding company may be worried that there will be no settlement or verdict, or that the settlement will be too small to cover the medical costs. If that happened, they wouldn’t be paid for the medical treatment or medical funding that they provided. If that happened too often, they could go out of business.

There are lots of reasons to hire a good, reputable car accident lawyer, and this is another one. If you don’t have health insurance, doctors and medical funding companies will want to see that you have a lawyer they can trust.