make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

TroubleShooters: Wilmington family close to losing everything

READ MORE: TroubleShooters: Wilmington family close to losing everything
WILMINGTON -- A Wilmington family is on the brink of losing everything. Four family members were injured in a recent auto accident and the woman who caused the wreck didn't have enough insurance to cover the family's medical bills. Emelia Williams was injured in an auto accident. She said, "I lost my good job, I lost my health insurance, I lost everything." To look at Williams you might not know anything was wrong. But this past summer she had to be airlifted from the scene of an auto accident in Columbus County. Due to severe nerve damage, she's lost the use of her left arm. Her daughter Valerie, just three-years-old at the time of the accident, had her skull cracked open and her arm broken in two places. Valerie said, "When I wake up every day, it'll be hurting, and I'll be rubbing it." The elderly woman that T-boned their car had insurance, but only carried $60,000 in coverage for medical expenses. That didn't come close to covering the Williams' medical bills, which total over $100,000. "I felt like I'd been punished for somebody else's fault," Williams said. "I had my good job, I was doing all right, I was doing OK. Now the job that I used to do, I can't do it any more." She lost her job as a nursing assistant at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She also lost her health insurance because she couldn't afford the $500 monthly payments for COBRA. She's now seven months behind on her mortgage, in danger of losing her home. Williams says she just can't understand why she's the one paying the price when she didn't cause the accident. Attorneys say it happens more often than you think. Attorney Stuart Smith said, "I would say in a third of our cases, there is not insurance available, or there is not enough for their medical bills." In North Carolina the law only requires drivers to carry $30,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident. If more than one person is injured, the law requires only $60,000 worth of coverage. Experts recommend that people carry underinsured motorist insurance for events just like this. They also recommend getting an umbrella policy in case you cause a catastrophic accident. If your insurance isn't enough to cover someone's medical bills, they may go after your personal assets. Smith said, "Particularly when the person is injured even more, and the $30,000 is all that's available, it really puts that injured person in the position, I might want to take their house, I might want to take their car." Unfortunately Williams did not have underinsured motorist coverage to cover her medical expenses. But she did have long-term disability coverage from her job at the hospital, which is providing the family some income. The family thinks it's unfair that the law requires people to carry so little insurance. The minimum coverage limits were set back in 2000 and despite how inadequate they are for serious accidents like this DMV officials know of no efforts to increase the limits.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Answers to Anne's Question

Well I am not very sure about the girls' parents they did however show up at the hospital that morning it happened and were cussing and raising hell. One of my best friends said she heard her dad say in the waiting room that he was going to wear her a** out,etc. etc. along with a bunch of F words and such as that. So from what I was told by my best friend that was there for me; her parents are just pieces of trash! They saw me and my daughter both back in the ER and never came to speak or say anything! So that told me all I needed to know what wonderful role models she has had in her life! My mom works for an attorney and has worked for the same one for over 25 years he was there at her hearing to see what she would do at her hearing plead guilty and so forth. He told me since I couldn't go that she did plead guilty but all she got was probation and fines,etc. how wonderful our justice system is sometimes! The phone number and address that was listed on the police report I guess from her license the trooper had on the accident report was either false or what not because the phone # did not work and the address was not where she lived or heard of there. Pretty much nothing can/could be done to the parents as I am sure they have NOTHING either and the car was supposively registered in her name with Allstate listed on the registration as her insurance company which was also not true she had only called for a quote but never purchased the policy! I don't understand how she was even able to keep tags on a BRAND NEW car that I am sure the finance company will never get reimbursed back for either these people were real winners! It's very sad what me and my daughter have went through like I said my daughter is tramatized I can't even drive past that road without her screaming bloody murder or even show friends pictures of my truck in pieces it upsets her terribly it has almost been 2 years but the memories are fresh and I am sure will forever be in her mind! She should have never had to go through that! Thanks for reading my story and for the suggestions,etc. I have tried everything though. I hired Todd Rodzik from Bain and Rodzik they are wonderful!!!!!!!! They sued my insurance company under my uninsured motorist policy. All my doctor bills and my daughters too of course, medications, physical therapy, shoe insoles, vehicle loan paid off in full, and pain and suffering was paid to me from MY insurance company. Thank God I have my insurance license and knew what I was doing when I signed my insurance papers; I suggest to everyone that reads this; CHECK with your agent; call them look at your papers and see if you do have the underinsured/uninsured policy; it can mean so much! I hate Mrs. Williams did not have this coverage!

DAS; Answer to your Question.....

Nope it's not a requirement that they are on all policies you sign a paper when you have your auto insurance wrote that you either want it or reject it; there is a paper you check either box. It is SUPPOSE to be offered and EXPLAINED to you and you either choose to take it or not. I think my UIM Policy is about $26.00 every 6 months. Thank GOD I had it or I would totally screwed! She was only wrote for a ticket for running a stop sign! Never was a ticket wrote for her driving without insurance or NOTHING; she got off easy and was able to walk out of her car; me on the other hand wasn't and now I have a PERMANENT disability in my right foot and ankle. I can only wear certain shoes and had to buy $400.00 a piece insoles for my sneakers and closed toed shoes so that I can/could wear them! I encourage everyone to take this on your policy it really can change your life in one second and you can't always rely on the other driver to have enough insurance if any at all!

Very unfortunate, but not uncommon!!!

My heart is out for these people. This is however more common than publicized. With the explosion of the illegial alien influx, we are all at great risk every day on thse roads. They often go in, make one insurance payment to get their tags and are never heard from again. No insurance, against the law and they don't care. sue them? What will you get? Very ironic how we are required to keep insurance on our vehicles, yet we must still buy additional insurance to protect ourselves aginst those that refuse to maintain it by law. Uninsured/Underinsured is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other sections of the policy and definitely a neccessary evil on today's roadways. One simple accident is all it takes to ruin lives such as in this case. I encourage all of you to review your policies and discuss your UIM needs with your agent. I am not in the insurance industry, but I have been in a bad accident caused by a person that had no insurance. He gave the investigating officer a policy number that had expired 2 years earlier. This was in 1986, $7,000.00 in damage to my car, lost work and a back injury. UIM covered it all. The uninsured driver was fined $35.00 for driving w/o insurance in court...I was there.


I am confused. I was under the impression everyone that had a policy in NC had uninsured/under-insured coverage. I thought it was mandatory and included. Has this woman contacted an attorney? I think her insurance company messed up on this.


This is just terrible. The insurance companys need to step up in cases like these.

My thoughts go out...

My thoughts and prayers go out to this family! I was in the same place back in September 2006 where things were right everything was good just started a new job that I loved with full benefits and commission! It was wonderful! I also did real estate on the side to make some extra money when possible for a sale..... Driving off of Holden Beach Road and coming up on Kirby Road when a girl 18 years old driving a brand spanking new Honda Civic sportscar ran the stop sign and hit me and my 4 year old daughter head on at 55 MPH they estimated my speed around 40 MPH so it was about a 95 MPH impact crash. My daughter is tramautized over this I can't even travel past that road and it brings back so many bad memories for her. I was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe and it was totaled and caught fire! A pure living nightmare and hell for my daughter and I. Of course the cause of the accident her not paying attention and on a cellphone! We were all taken to the hospital at Brunswick Community Hospital AKA Animal Hospital and I was given the police report. I contacted her insurance company that the trooper had listed was on her registration. NEVER wrote the policy had talked to her and given her quotes but she never purchased it. She was you guessed it; UNINSURED and was driving! Thank goodness I carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on my personal insurance policy. If not I don't know how I would have been able to pay these medical expenses me and my daughter incurred. It does work and they will pay under your policy if someone is underinsured or uninsured; everyone please check your policies and make sure you have that coverage it is fairly inexpensive and could really pay off in the long run! I was out of work for over 5 months lost my new job with the benefits and all; starting all over again pretty much was able to keep my house because I am blessed with a wonderful family and friends! I now though becuase of her carelessness have a permanent foot and ankle injury that will probably never heel and hurts every day that I have to take Advil, Tylenol or Aleve everyday to function! It's just not fair sometimes but it sure beats the alternative! Check your policies after this happened I am also a NC licensed insurance agent! It does work and the cost is so inexpensive to have piece of mind! To the William's family I know how you must feel and I am so sorry for what happened to you and your daughter! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Why hasn;t there been a fund

Why hasn;t there been a fund designated in her honor to help with her bills?

Where were the parents?

What an awful story. Where are the parents of this 16 year old? Talking about irresponsibility! Letting their child drive with no insurance, very inexperienced, and talking on a cellphone at that. If she was mine, she wouldn't be driving (at least legally) for a very long time! Can't the parents be sued for the money? They sure have taught their daughter well! No responsibility!