Losing a loved one is a horrible experience, regardless of the circumstances. It can be a very traumatic moment for everyone involved resulting in some carrying the emotional weight of it for the foreseeable future. If someone near and dear to you has passed away as a result of the negligent actions of another party, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Although, while relatives are usually eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in some states, the state of Florida has different rules regarding these cases. In Florida, only the personal representative named in the deceased person’s estate can legally file a wrongful death claim against the liable party. Because the personal representative is acting on behalf of both the estate of the deceased as well as relatives of the deceased, they must also include any beneficiaries of the estate when they file the claim. If another party was responsible for the death of a relative and you were named the representative of their estate, reach out to the Panama City wrongful death attorneys at Manuel & Thompson Attorneys at Law for more information about your lawsuit.

What qualifies as a wrongful death claim in Panama City, Florida?

According to Florida law, a wrongful death is typically defined as when a person’s death is caused by another person or entity due to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty. Because of the vague phrasing, there are a wide variety of situations that could meet this definition. For example, a death caused by a car accident, construction accident, or even medical malpractice could be considered a result of negligent behavior. Defective products that lead to someone’s death like a broken airbag or poisonous medication could also qualify as grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Even intentional acts, like a crime, that accidentally result in the death of a relative can be pursued as a wrongful death civil lawsuit. However, in cases like this, it is important to understand the distinction between a wrongful death claim and a criminal homicide case. Wrongful death claims are typically handled in civil court where a successful claim against the liable party results in them being punished monetarily. A criminal homicide case is handled in criminal court where a successful conviction will result in numerous penalties for the guilty party, including prison. Although, in the case of a wrongful death caused by criminal behavior, it is possible for the negligent party to face both a wrongful death claim and criminal charges related to the incident.

Because wrongful death claims can be very strenuous and time-consuming, it is important to have a skilled attorney by your side to help you navigate the process.