Facing Big Medical Bills for your Personal Injury? Here Are Some Ways to Get Help

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cost of medical bills due to traffic accidents in just a single year totaled $30.1 billion.  

For individual injuries, the cost of care can be just as staggering, starting on the ‘low’ end at $7,500 for a fractured leg and climbing up to $360,000 for severe cases of trauma. That’s more than four times the median income in the United States. Few can easily afford such bills, and those with little savings and low incomes the least of all.  

Facing high five- or six-figure medical bills can be daunting, especially if you were injured through no fault of your own and are waiting for your case with a third-party liability insurance company to be settled.  

But that could take months or longer. While you’re waiting for the settlement you hope for – and deserve – there are options out there to help you offset your medical bills.  

Option 1: GoFundMe 

GoFundMe touts itself as the leader in online fundraising, including for medical bills. Indeed, the popular crowdfunding site is the go-to place for people facing medical costs for themselves, friends, or family members, with 250,000 medical-related campaigns yielding $650 million in donations, according to a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association.  

Despite its efforts to lend a helping hand, GoFundMe’s former CEO Rob Solomon has noted it’s a sad reflection on inequities in America’s healthcare system: “The system is terrible. It needs to be rethought and retooled. Politicians are failing us. Healthcare companies are failing us. Those are realities. I don’t want to mince words here. We are facing a huge potential tragedy. We provide relief for a lot of people. But there are people who are not getting relief from us or from the institutions that are supposed to be there.” 

GoFundMe Pros 

Unlike loans, and some of the other options, money you get from GoFundMe doesn’t have to be paid back or isn’t necessarily subtracted from any future settlements. GoFundMe allows you to draw upon a broad support network of not only your immediate friends and family, but anyone else they share the link with on social media or through other means, leading to a multiplier effect.  

GoFundMe Cons 

For one thing, GoFundMe is not a guarantee of funding. The sad reality is that an estimated 90 percent of healthcare-related GoFundMe campaigns fall short of their goal, collecting less than half of what they asked for, according to one study in the journal of Social Science and Medicine. 

In addition, bear in mind that GoFundMe does charge transaction fees, which come out to 2.9% plus 30 cents of each dollar donated. That can add up and prevent you from closing the gap between what you can pay and what you owe. Given that most medical campaigns don’t reach their target, that 2.9% has that much more of an impact.  

Option 2: Other Crowdfunding Sites 

Given some of the negatives surrounding GoFundMe, you may want to check out another crowdfunding site. Another option might be sites like AngelLink, Fundly, and Help Hope Live, which aim to specifically help people raise money for medical bills.  

Crowdfunding Sites Pros 

The other sites have the same basic advantages as GoFundMe. AngelLink notes that it is women-led and has an active-anti-fraud program. The site claims to be easy to connect fundraising campaigns with social media accounts. Fundly’s main selling points are that it is easy to use for first-time crowdfunders and has more customization options. Help Hope Live emphasizes teamwork and storytelling in its crowdfunding campaigns.  

Crowdfunding Sites Cons 

Unfortunately, these other sites also have some of the main downsides of GoFundMe, like transaction fees. AngelLink and Fundly also both effectively charge the same 2.9%-plus-30-cents rate. (Fundly says that there are no platform fees but that its credit card processor, Stripe, charges them.) Help Hope Live takes even more, at a total of 5.65%, once administrative fees are factored in as well.  

Option 3: Private Charities 

There are several charities that will provide assistance for prescription drugs, co-pays, or and other medical expenses. The catch: a lot of these, like The HealthWell Foundation, are focused on treatment of diseases, not personal injury cases. One charity that will help out with any form debt is RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based charity that purchases medical debt for pennies on the dollar.  

Private Charities Pros 

Over the last decade, RIP Medical Debt has wiped out an estimated $11 billion in medical debt, a stunning achievement. Since it is a charity, this form of financial assistance shouldn’t come at any cost to the beneficiaries, and it has the added benefit of not having to manage a crowdfunding campaign.  

Private Charities Cons 

Despite the promise it has shown, RIP Medical Debt has not been able to eliminate many of the issues associated with medical debt. A recent study by a group of economists found that the debt relief the charity offers did not alleviate the mental health challenges or improve the credit scores of the average beneficiary, based on a pool of over 200,000, according to a New York Times report. Perhaps most stunning, the study found that those who had their medical debt paid off were just as likely as others to still forgo treatment. As helpful as debt relief was, it didn’t ameliorate the underlying financial circumstances that led to it in the first place. The upshot: as helpful as medical debt relief is from a charity like RIP Medical Debt, it is not the cure-all it might at first seem.   

Option 4: Medical Loans 

Loans specifically designed for medical expenses are available from banks, online lending companies, and other sources, including even some healthcare providers. Such loans come with lower interest rates than you might get with a credit card. Also, when done online, approval can go through in a matter of days. There a lot of pros and cons to this option, so it’s important to do your homework and decide if it’s the best fit for you, your financial circumstances, and the size and kind of medical costs you have.  

Medical Loans Pros 

Low, fixed interest rates mean payments will be predictable and interest charges will not be exorbitant. Since loan can be approved in a matter of days, this is a good option for people who need money fast, and don’t have time to wait for a crowdfunding campaign to play out, or for a charity to respond to their query. An added benefit is that medical loans are flexible in terms of the kind of treatment they can be used for.  

Medical Loans Cons 

The most obvious drawback is that this is money you will have to pay back, unlike crowdfunding or charity assistance. If an insurance settlement never comes through, it is coming out of your pocket. Medical loans are also a bad option for people with bad credit, which could lead to an APR of as much as 36% — and that’s before any other fees kick in. Finally, medical loans typically cap off at $50,000, so if your medical debt is in excess of this amount, this option will be a partial solution at best.  

Option 5: Gain Cash Advance 

If crowdfunding, charities, or credit options have not panned out, you are still not out of options. In fact, one of your last remaining options could be one of your best: Gain’s cash advance.  

Here’s how it works: Gain provides cash advances ranging from $500 to $50,000, typically available within 24 hours of approval. And, unlike the loan option, plaintiffs repay the advance only if they win their case, ensuring no financial burden if the case is lost.  

Gain’s cash advance option comes with a lot of other advantages too, including medical treatment scheduling, transportation, and pharmacy cards. 

Conclusion: When it comes to big medical bills, you have options.  

Dealing with an injury, losing time from work, and staying on top of your treatment is challenging enough, without having to worry about medical debt hanging over your head. Ultimately, if you were injured through no fault of your own, an insurance settlement with a third-party liability carrier should come through. But those cases take time, and a positive outcome is not guaranteed. The above options can help you stay on top of your medical bills in the meantime. There are pros and cons to each one, so review them carefully to make sure you find the one that is the best fit for you and your financial needs.  


Medical Funding

Medical Liens

Pre-Settlement Funding

Legal Funding


Letter of Protection