Do you have an insurance claim that is in dispute? If so, you will be asked to participate in an examination under oath (EUO). It is a formal process employed by insurance companies to gather more information about a particular claim.
It can also be used to prevent fraud allowing the insured party to testify and prove their loss especially in a case of destroyed or missing evidence.
During the examination under oath, you will be sworn in and spend a considerable amount of time answering questions from the attorney hired by the insurance company.
These questions include anything deemed relevant by the attorney regardless of whether or not they seem relevant to you. A lot of insurance policies give the insurer the right to request the EUO at any time before the claim is processed.
The insurance policy should have proper details regarding any restrictions on the EUO. Note that, the insurance company can plan for as many EUOs as possible during the investigation. However, in most cases, they will end up doing just one.
Why Do You Need A Personal Injury Attorney
You should contact a personal injury attorney immediately you receive the written request to attend a EUO. However, if you suspect the company will pursue the EUO before you receive the official notice, you can contact a lawyer at that time. The attorney should help you prepare for your EUO and take the necessary steps to make your claim successful.
The attorney should also advise you whether the insurance company is using the EUO as a way to force you to drop your claim. Here, the insurer might be claiming fraud on your part in false pretenses. Here are some of the ways your attorney can help you with the EUO.
1. The attorney should explain the process to help you understand what it means to testify under oath and any possible consequences resulting from the process.
2. He/she will gather the necessary documents required by the insurance company for the EUO and make sure they are in proper order.
3. He/she will help you prepare for any possible questions you might be asked by the insurer’s attorney.
4. The attorney will stick to your side during the process and afterward. Remember, your attorney will not participate in the EUO.
Why Do Insurance Companies Do EUOs?
There are many reasons why insurance companies choose to pursue this path. It might not be clear to you even after receiving the summons. As mentioned, the EUO is used as a tool during the claim investigation, to find misrepresentations, prevent fraud and can also be used as evidence for future lawsuits.
Remember, they are quite costly for these insurance companies so they are not casual steps taken during the claim processing. If they have chosen to pursue it then it is part of the broader plan to reject your claim while collecting the right paper trail for it. However, EUOs can be used for intimidation purposes because they can ask questions about irrelevant things with regard to the claim, insured person or property to catch you off guard.
A Few Important Things About EUOs
An attorney will help you prepare and give you enough confidence and assurance to keep cool during the process. However, here are a few more things you need to know about the EUO.
a) If you fail to go after being summoned, the insurance company has the right to deny your claim. Therefore, you need to talk to your lawyer about your policy to avoid any misunderstandings.
b) There are some defenses you can employ for not attending the EUO. For instance, was there a problem with how the notice was given? Is the timing of the appointment convenient? Were you denied to have an attorney present during the process?
c) Remember, your attorney can’t participate in the EUO. They are quite different to depositions where your attorney is allowed to object to irrelevant or improper questions. Your attorney’s job is simply to prepare you and help you with strategizing once the EUO is complete.
Remember, the insurance company is a giant and has done many of these EUOs but this is your first. It pays to have an experienced person in your corner and that’s where the personal injury attorney comes in handy.