What is an Examination Under Oath?

Some people have heard of or know what a deposition is. It’s basically a formal asking and answering of questions in order for a party involved in a legal proceeding to give their side of the story. An Examination Under Oath (EUO) is very similar except that it is often conducted by an insurance company’s lawyer and it is given under oath, meaning you swear to the courts that information is true and correct.

EUOs are often requested when you file a PIP claim after a car accident, or they may be requested for other types of insurance claims like uninsured or underinsured coverage.

Most insurance policies have written into their contract certain conditions that the insured must meet before they can file a lawsuit against the insurance company. One of those conditions is often an EUO, meaning the insured is obligated to attend this formal examination.

What exactly is an EUO?

An EUO is a sworn statement provided by an insured person who has filed a claim with an insurance company. Basically, it is how the insurance company hears your side of the story (or so that’s the idea).

For insurance companies, this procedure is part of their investigation into the validity of the insured’s claim. They may also ask for an EUO if they suspect fraud or if they are considering denying the claim.

The reason the examination has “under oath” in its title, is because the person giving the testimony will be sworn, to tell the truth by a court reporter.

This all sounds very legitimate, but it must be known that an EUO is often requested and conducted in a manner in which the insurance company is trying to trip up the claimant. Ideally, for them, they want you to contradict yourself or reveal a piece of information that they can use to deny your claim. But there is a way to avoid this.

Who attends an EUO?

The person who holds and is covered by the insurance policy is called the “named insured.” It is this person that the insurance companies summons to the EUO. Because it is written into the contract, the named insured must attend. The insurance company may also request someone other than the named insured to appear, such as their spouse or anyone else with firsthand knowledge about the incident in question.

Ideally, you will want your own attorney to attend the meeting as well. Of course, this is not required, but having an attorney there to help you will make the process a lot less stressful and precarious. After all, you will be questioned by an attorney, so having your attorney there to represent and counsel you is ideal.

Likewise, hiring an attorney to help you with your personal injury claim will relieve you from the insurance company or their lawyers contacting you, since they will now contact your lawyer. The insurance company will also have to begin coordinating your EUO and most other matters through your attorney.

Having your attorney present during an EUO will also ensure your best interests are maintained and quite possibly change the demeanor with which the opposing attorney approaches you. When you have council present, they know that they cannot get away with shady or aggressive tactics.

Since the examination is given under oath, there will also be a court reporter present to transcribe everything that is said for the official record.

What kind of questions will be asked?

During an EUO, the insurance company can only ask you questions that are relevant to the claim or that will reasonably lead to something relevant. This is another reason that having an attorney with you is important since they know what questions can and cannot be asked. Insurance companies have been known to try to intimidate the insured during an EUO by asking questions that are irrelevant, repetitive, and badgering.

However, the reason you are there is to get to the truth about what happened. This will require a horde of questions. The insurance company will ask you about your background, general personal information, about your claim history, criminal history, and credit history. And, eventually, about the incident itself. It may feel like they ask a hundred questions that aren’t relevant before they cover anything about the accident. Because there are so many questions, Examinations Under Oath often take hours or even multiple sessions over a few days.

Some types of questions they may ask are:

  • How did the accident happen?
  • Who do you think caused the accident?
  • Did you contribute to the accident at all?
  • How did you feel after the accident?
  • What did you do after the accident?
  • Whom did you speak with after the accident?
  • Were you treated by an EMT at the scene?
  • Did you go to the hospital after the accident? By ambulance?
  • How have you felt physically after the accident?
  • How have you felt emotionally after the accident?
  • Were you injured in the accident? What are your injuries?
  • Where have you been treated?
  • What were those treatments?
  • Have those treatments helped with your recovery?
  • Have you ever been injured in the past?
  • Have you ever been in a car accident?
  • If so, did you file a claim with the insurance company?

Do you have to attend the Examination Under Oath?

Nearly all insurance policies contain a cooperation clause. This clause states that the named insured has a duty to cooperate with the insurance company during its investigation into the claim in order to receive compensation. If the insured does not comply with these requirements than they are in breach of contract.

One of the points in the cooperation clauses states something like, “As often as we reasonably require [you must] provide us with records and documents we request and permit us to make copies; submit to examinations under oath…”

Additionally, the insurance company may require you to bring documents to the EUO, such as tax returns, bank information, and any other document pertaining to the case. The failure to bring those documents may also serve as grounds to deny the claim.

Besides failing to bring documents or not showing up to a scheduled EUO, the insurance company may also consider you in breach of contract if you refuse to answer some questions or if your leave the EUO before it’s over. However, courts have ruled that insurance companies cannot badger or harass claimants during an EUO, which may cause them to walk out.

It should be noted that insurance companies have a responsibility to give you proper notice of the appointment, the time and location of the EUO, as well as the name of the person conducting the exam. The EUO must also be held within a reasonable distance from the insured’s home and at a reasonable time in which the insured could attend.

Dolman Law Group

You are not required—by law or by contract—to hire an attorney for your Examination Under Oath. However, it will strongly benefit you to at least consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney if your insurance company summons you to one. As we mentioned, these examinations are often long and complicated, designed in such a way to trick you into revealing harmful or contradictory information. If you make a mistake or say something that you didn’t mean to say, you won’t get a do-over. Anything you say and any mistakes made will follow you throughout the claim.

If you have been injured in a car accident and need to recover your losses, contact an experienced Florida injury attorney. The insurance companies will definitely have lawyers defending them, and so should you.

At Dolman Law Group, we will prepare you for your examination and be there with you every step of the way. We believe in providing our clients with personable, thorough representation that gets the job done. In this effort, we strive to be completely reachable to our clients. If you have a question just call us. If you are concerned about something, shoot us an email. It’s that simple.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275