A question that I often get from people who have recently been involved in a car accident is: Since I don’t have health insurance how am I going to be able to get medical treatment?
The first thing that I advise someone to do is to go get checked out at the emergency room. Hospitals will not turn accident victims away because they don’t have insurance. You will be able to be seen by a doctor, get whatever tests are recommended, and likely will be given a prescription for pain medication.
An alternative to going to the hospital is seeking treatment at an urgent care center. This type of facility will usually not see you without payment at the time of service. However, a typical visit will only cost between $75 and $150. If you have the money, it is not a bad option. You will spend less time waiting and will probably get the same type of care for a lower price than a hospital will charge.
The most common complaints that people have following car accidents are pain in the neck and back. The most effective treatment for such injuries is usually some sort of therapy, whether that be physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. Many chiropractors, as well as some physical therapy facilities, will agree to treat accident victims with no money up front, with the understanding that their bills will be paid out of the settlement of the injury claim. Not many of these doctors will be willing to do this unless you have an attorney representing you. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the doctor will want some assurance from your attorney that you have a solid case that will likely result in a settlement that will be large enough to take care of their expected bills. The other main reason is so the doctor won’t have to worry about his patient settling their case directly with the insurance company, and then deciding to not pay their bill. Your attorney will sign an agreement to protect the bill, and payment will be sent from the attorney’s office at the same time that the balance of the proceeds are paid to the patient.
If you need more specialized care, say with a neurologist, orthopedist, or pain specialist, your attorney can help you get this treatment either under a lien agreement with the provider or through a medical funding company. In some cases, medical funding can also be used to pay for surgery.
At the time of settlement, your attorney will be able to negotiate reductions on your bills with the hospital and other medical providers so as to get you more money from the proceeds of your case.
Not having insurance will not prevent you from being able to get the treatment you need for your injuries. However, after going to the emergency room to get checked out, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney in order to gain access to the necessary treatment to get better and to maximize the value of your case.