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Reality Check: Alabama law protects cities over citizens

(Source: O'Lisa Gamble) O'Lisa Gamble spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. Pictures from her hospital bed show twenty staples in her stomach after emergency surgery.
(Source: O'Lisa Gamble) O'Lisa Gamble spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. Pictures from her hospital bed show twenty staples in her stomach after emergency surgery.

A Mobile woman is sharing her ongoing nightmare after nearly losing her life in a car crash. A law on the books in Alabama limits what she can receive to help pay her medical bills because the crash involves a Mobile Police officer.

O'Lisa Gamble was sitting in the passenger seat, in the turning lane on Dauphin Island Parkway September 24th when she was hit head-on by Officer Daniel Marlin. An accident report NBC 15 News obtained lists Marlin at fault.

Gamble spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. Pictures from her hospital bed show twenty staples in her stomach after emergency surgery.

"All of my intestines was pushed up to here," Gamble said as she pointed to her chest. "I was on life support. My lungs failed three times."

Gamble had just started a new job as a hair stylist, and her health insurance hadn't kicked in yet. So there's no insurance to cover those two weeks spent in the ICU.

"I got the final bill, and it ain't pretty," said Gamble.

"What kind of stress is that?" asked NBC 15's Andrea Ramey.

"I have to pray a lot. Have to. It does something to you," replied Gamble.

"These are some of the worst injuries I've seen in 25 years of practice," said her attorney, Bill Eiland.

Eiland says because of who hit her, an officer working for the City of Mobile, it will substantially limit what she can recover to help with medical bills. While there are exceptions, state law spells out municipalities don't have to pay more than $100,000 to an injured person.

"She's looking at several hundred thousand dollars in medical bills. Obviously, you can do the math and it doesn't work out really well for her favor," said Eiland.

Eiland says what happened to Gamble could happen to any driver.

"People just don't realize there's statutory caps," said Eiland.

Caps that were put on the books in 1994 and haven't been updated since. Caps that could be financially devastating for Gamble, but right now, her main focus is healing.

"That's all I really need is prayers going up so I can get better and be a mother to my kids," said Gamble.

We reached out to the City of Mobile and explained Gamble's situation to see if it would work with her on her bills and have not received a response.

Gamble has a long road ahead of her and is not yet able to work. The family wants people to know about a GoFundMe account set up to help her.