Often the first person a defense lawyer will depose in a lawsuit based on a car accident is the person who was injured in the car accident. However, there are also times when the defense will depose the spouse of the injured person. The spouse usually has a different view of how the injuries affect the plaintiff, and often it is easier for the spouse to answer questions regarding how the injury from the car accident has affected the plaintiff’s life.
Sample of defense questions about a husband’s back injury from a car accident
If the husband has a back injury from a car accident, typically he will not have been able to do outside chores that he frequently performed and had responsibility for. The wife may be asked questions like the following:
- What tasks, if any was your husband unable to perform?
- Other than mowing the lawn, is there anything else he could not do?
- How long was he unable to perform these chores?
- Did you actually shovel the snow?
- Where and what did you shovel?
- Did you rake the leaves?
- Did your husband assist in any way?
- Did anyone else help? Did your children assist?
- Did you pay anyone to perform any chores your husband would normally have performed?
- Did you ever perform any of these chores before the accident?
- Did you husband help with the laundry before the accident?
- What did he do?
- How has that changed?
- Did he assist in the care of the children before the accident?
- How is that different now?
- Did he assist in the cooking, shopping or cleaning?
- How is that different now?
- What are his limitations now?
- What does he do now around the house? (You do not have to volunteer that he just sits on the couch and watches TV.)
- How has the accident and injuries affected your intimacy with your husband?
- How so and to what extent?
- Have the effects of the accident affected your relationship with your husband?
- Has his personality or motivation seemed to have changed and, if so, how?
- Have you seen a counselor for this problem?
- Have you seen or considered seeing a neuropsychologist for these apparent changes?
- Can you give specific examples of the changes you have noticed?
Sample of defense questions about a wife’s temporal mandibular joint complications from a car accident
If a wife suffers from Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) complications as a result of a car accident the her husband might be asked questions such as the following:
- How disabling were her headaches?
- Does she require pain medication?
- Was she able to perform her daily activities?
- How long was she unable to drive a car because of her pain?
- How long was she forced to sleep on the living room couch because of her difficulties resting comfortably?
- How frequently would she apply ice packs to her jaw?
- What foods did she eat?
- What foods did she avoid?
- Did she lose weight?
- Did she restrict her social life?
- Please describe.
- Describe her recovery from TMJ surgery.
- How long was she hospitalized?
- How long did her restrictions on food continue?
- When did she begin to regain weight?
- Did you make any observations regarding her treatment of the surgical scars?
- What did you observe?
- When did she finally begin to reestablish friendships?
Sex and intimacy
Another area of likely questioning includes domestic duties, sexual activity and intimacy. The spouse should expect to be asked about the couples’ sex life both before and after the car accident. Many people are reticent to discuss sexual matters. However, it is important to feel comfortable with this testimony because a jury will realize that certain injuries affect a couple’s intimacy.
Be prepared to discuss the following:
- How has your sex life been affected by the injury?
- How has your relationship with your spouse been affected by the injury? (Often injured people are cranky and in a bad mood. This can adversely affect a marriage.)
- To what extent has this affected your physical intimacy?
- With what frequency were you intimate prior to the accident?
- Prior to the surgery, during that year, what was your frequency?