Sometimes you really have to stand up and cheer for our wonderful legal system. It may take some time to come to a decision when you choose to pursue legal recourse on something, but it is a great thing that we always have the right to do it. It is something a lot of people take lightly and don’t really appreciate until the time comes when they really need it. It sure is something Shannon Santimore appreciates now more than ever; even if it took her over two years to get the results she wanted.
Things took a turn for the worst for Ms. Santimore in January 2012 when her husband was killed in a tragic gun incident. Her husband was visiting a good friend in North Carolina and had been drinking and partying for a little bit as they caught up on things. Another man came into the house carrying a couple handguns as he was seeking some advice from Mr. Santimore’s friend, who was knowledgeable on the subject, as to which one he should purchase. The man pointed one of the guns at the wall and dry fired it while he was talking to the friend. Suddenly, Mr. Santimore took the other gun, and as a prank cocked it and put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded and tragically ended his life.
In a strange twist of events, Mr. Santimore’s death was ruled both an accident and a suicide by the Chief Medical examiner of the State. Because of this, the non-working mother of three which included twin baby girls, was unable to collect the full death benefit of his life insurance policy of 1.5 million dollars.
When Mrs. Santimore’s appeal to the chief medical examiner’s office to change the cause of death was denied, even with witness’s testimony that he could not have possibly known the gun was loaded, she decided to take the matter to court. The court judge ruled in May of 2014 that the Chief Medical Examiner had not investigated the matter thoroughly enough and used an improper definition of the word suicide and the cause of death was then changed to just accidental.
A very relieved Ms. Santimore said she could now afford to stay home and take care of the kids until they were school aged as she and her husband planned. She also stated it was not just about the money, and maybe even more importantly to her children, they now knew that their father’s death was an accident and he never meant to leave them. It’s very comforting to know that the legal system we have really works most of the time.