Some distinctions are sought after. Some are not. A WJHG report calls attention to one of the latter. In a comparison of mid-sized Florida cities (population 15,000 to 74,999, including 95 cities), Panama City ranked 1st in the number of fatal vehicle crashes seen in the 2006 to 2010 timeframe. This fatal crash ranking is according to the Florida Highway Safety Matrix, which also reported that Panama City led the category in the number of aggressive driving incidents and the number of accidents involving teen drivers.
On a more hopeful note, this month the Florida Department of Transportation awarded a grant of $42,000 to Panama City Police Department ("PCPD") to help implement a new traffic-oriented software program. PCPD has been testing the TraCS system in recent years, and officers believe it will help both officers and citizens. It allows officers to instantly transfer both crash reports and citations from the field to a department server, saving time compared to hand-writing the information while improving the department's ability to track crash data. Hopefully, this will allow the PCPD to track when and where drivers are most at risk of a crash. Interestingly, in the past 4 weeks the system revealed that the most likely time for a crash was Monday at 5 P.M.
We are encouraged to hear that the PCPD is working to improve Panama City's crash ranking. This is surely not a list we want to top. As a Panama City wrongful death law firm, we've seen the horrible grief suffered by people who've lost a loved one in a fatal car accident. We pride ourselves on treating all clients with respect and dignity during these hard times. We also pride ourselves on helping grieving families navigate the civil law system and keeping them informed throughout the process of filing a Florida wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought when a death is the result of a wrongful act, negligence, default, breach of contract, or breach of warranty (see Florida Statute Sections 768.16 through 768.26). The claim is brought by a personal representative on behalf of the victim's estate and surviving relatives. Survivors are defined by the Act to include the victim's spouse, parents, and children. In some cases, other blood relatives may qualify as survivors if they were dependent on the victim for support. Damages can reflect both financial and non-financial losses. Covered financial losses include medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and the monetary value of the victim's services to the family (e.g. childcare, cooking, and cleaning). Non-financial losses that may be included in a wrongful death lawsuit vary by the nature of the relationship, but they include loss of companionship, guidance, and pain and suffering.
We hope that the next five years bring a vast reduction in the number of fatal crashes in Panama City and across our region. PCPD and the community as a whole must commit to this goal. We will continue to serve as a wrongful death law firm because we believe in helping victims. We will also continue to advocate for accident prevention because no lawsuit can ever bring back a loved one.