Are there any special considerations if some or all of the beneficiaries are minors?
Yes. First and foremost, as with any injury-related claim, particularly as a beneficiary, you must do nothing on videos, film, or in photos or on blogs to contradict your assertion that you are grieving and that you have personally suffered a loss, or that your life has been ripped apart, etc. This is especially true in cyberspace.
For instance, if you are 21 years old in college and you are claiming that you have been devastated by the loss of your parent in a wrongful death claim, it would harm the entire case tremendously if suddenly videos of you dancing on tables and drunk out of your mind three months after your parent’s death appear on a friend’s Facebook page. Not only does it interfere with your potential share, but if, for instance, your mother has already testified that the death of your father has turned you into a grief-stricken, depressed, social recluse who never leaves their dorm room, such a video of you dancing on tables in drunken reverie has just destroyed all of her credibility with the Jury.
The lesson: If you are a beneficiary and you are claiming that you are having a hard time after the death of a loved one, do not do anything inconsistent with that claim, and always assume that if you decide to engage in such activity, someone, somewhere with a cell phone or other digital media is going to capture it and upload it into cyberspace for all to see.
Another example: Comments on your Facebook page or elsewhere in cyberspace that everything is great and you are having a wonderful time in Cancun doing whatever with whomever will clash starkly with your claims that your life has been completely torn apart by the loss of your loved one. So be very careful about not only what you say on Facebook, but about what your friends say to and about your activities during the pendency of any wrongful death claim.
Finally, as stated in connection with grief therapy, above, you do not want to make any comments relating to the ongoing litigation such as “I just want this whole thing to be over with.” The insurance company will seize on that attitude to make a ‘low ball’ offer on the claim.
And if you think these comments, videos or photos will not make it into the hands of the defense insurance company or their attorneys, you are sorely mistaken.