This serialized, fictional account about Chris is created to break down and study the terrible event of a wrongful death. Each chapter details some of the real-life situations often encountered by our clients, and we encourage you to follow the entire story to better understand the complexities of this fictional case.

Growing up, it was a rare occasion for Rosa to see her brother cry. He was an athlete from a very young age and seemed to be averse to pain. Through a childhood of scratched knees and broken bones from horseplay and adolescent bravado, he often said “ouch” but rarely cried.

Their father prized machismo, and started teaching Chris that big boys don’t cry shortly after he first learned to speak. Rosa remembered wondering how Chris could be so stoic at their father’s funeral. As a ten-year-old, Rosa had been beside herself when they lost they him, but her fifteen-year-old brother was as stiff and somber as the ushers.

And she remembered the tear at his wedding. As a maid of honor, Rosa had a great view of her brother’s response to Angie’s “I do.” A single tear of joy made it halfway down his check before Angie stopped it with her finger and brought it to her lips.

Perhaps if she had ever seen him cry, it would have prepared her for his response when Angie’s heart finally stopped beating. Though Rosa was also devastated when the beeps of her sister-in-law’s monitor became a solid tone, she had a more difficult time seeing her brother in such pain. It had been a long week of enduring Angie’s coma and a longer four hours from the time the doctor informed them of the inevitability of her passing and the time she actually passed. Chris had been holding her hand the entire time, holding out some hope that the injuries she sustained during the burglary weren’t as bad as the hospital staff kept telling him they were.

Throughout the week, he wished that her head hadn’t hit the chair the way that it did, he wished he’d gotten to the scene sooner, and he wished he could simply take his wife home and move on from this. But at the end of that week, and at the end of those four hours, though Chris had relatively maintained his composure throughout the whole ordeal, when the nurse turned off the heart monitor, he lost it.

It felt as though they were there for another four hours as Rosa comforted her brother. It was the first time she’d ever had to be strong for him, and though she cried right along with him, she knew from his sobbing that the pain he felt must have been incomprehensible.

Rosa couldn’t imagine being in his place. Growing up as the younger sister, her heart had been broken by death a number of times, but losing a hamster, bird, or fish, as difficult as they had been for her at the time, couldn’t hold a candle to what her brother was now going through. And to have it happen so unexpectedly must have made it even more difficult.

Things like this shouldn’t happen, Rosa thought. You’re not supposed to go to work and get killed.

They didn’t talk much when Rosa finally drove her brother home. She made them an omelet, but by the time it was ready, Chris wasn’t answering the door to his bedroom. She put half of the omelet in the refrigerator and curled up on the couch with a throw blanket.

Rosa knew her job wasn’t over. Chris was going to need help through this, and though she pledged to stand with him every step of the way, she knew he was going to need more that what she had to offer. Rosa opened the calendar app on her phone and set herself a reminder to start looking for an attorney.

 

 

This article is part of an ongoing blog series featuring fictional characters as they navigate real-life legal situations. While we cannot always release details of actual cases, Wittmer | Linehan have successfully counseled many clients through cases just like this one. Our highest goal is to educate you about the complexities of the legal areas in which our practice specializes. Should you have questions about anything we discuss in our blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or our web contact form.