I was hurt in a car wreck that wasn’t my fault. I don’t have any health insurance. I have medical payments coverage on my car insurance but it was only $10.000 and it has already been paid to various doctors and hospitals. Now, my doctor says I need physical therapy but I don’t have the money. Worse yet, my lawyer says he won’t pay for it. What do I do?
Your lawyer is correct. Under ethics rules applicable to lawyers in Tennessee, a lawyer cannot advance you money for any medical treatment. A lawyer can advance money for the benefit of the client for litigation expenses, but he or she cannot provide money to a client (or potential client) for any other reason during pending litigation or in anticipation of employment.
What can the lawyer do to help you? Sometimes health care providers can be persuaded to treat a patient who has a pending personal injury case if the client promises in writing to pay them out of any settlement monies. Under this type of arrangement, the client directs the lawyer to withhold money out of any settlement and directly pay the health provider, and the lawyer promises the provider that he or she will do so. No health care provider must do this, but it is not uncommon for physical therapy companies to agree to do so if you have a case where the other driver is clearly at fault.