This week, WJHG reported on final preparations for an annual event recognizing victims of crime in Panama City. Law enforcement representatives are partnering with advocacy groups to organize the annual event, called Missing Place at the Table. This is the 7th annual gathering for the event that focuses on families who have lost a loved one due to violent crime in Panama City or the surrounding regions. Missing Place at the Table allows the families to recognize and honor their loved ones for the life they lived and not just the tragic way their lives were taken.
Charlotte Greathouse, one of the event's coordinators, knows the feeling of loss personally. Her daughter, Kelli Bailey, was killed in 2001. Greathouse explains that the event helps recognize the continuing difficulty of losing a family member and no longer having the deceased loved one present at the table for family gatherings. The event will be held on April 23 at 11 A.M. at the Panama City Mall. The event will be part of National Crime Prevention Week. The event is open to the public.
Violent deaths are unnecessary and tragic, leaving family members suffering an unimaginable loss. While no courtroom can ever bring back a lost loved one, families should know they may have a civil claim for wrongful death. A Florida wrongful death lawsuit is a claim brought in civil court on behalf of surviving relatives. The survivors entitled to recover can vary based on a number of factors and often include a surviving spouse, children or parents.
The type of damages vary based on the nature of the incident causing death and the relationship of the survivors, but it can include loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and damages for mental pain and suffering. Recovery can also be made on behalf of the victim's estate in order to pay medical bills, funeral expenses, or other outstanding debts. In most instances, Florida law requires that a claim for wrongful death be brought within 2 years of the death.
It is important for surviving family members to understand that a civil claim for wrongful death is completely separate from any criminal charges or resulting litigation. Criminal charges are typically brought to punish a wrongdoer for violating the law, while a civil suit seeks to provide compensation to those impacted by the event. The standard of proof is different in criminal and civil court, with the burden being lower in civil cases. This means a civil claim, such as that for wrongful death, may be successful even if the wrongdoer is not convicted in criminal court.
If you have lost a loved one due to violence (or due to someone else's negligent act), please contact our experienced Panama City wrongful death law firm. We can help you obtain compensation that may assist you in moving forward after your loss.