What is an Examination Under Oath?
You have damage to your property, and you contact your insurance company. They seem ready to help you, and they appear to understand your problem. All they want is for you to take what is known as an examination under oath (EUO). You don’t know what that is, but the words “under oath” tend to frighten you a little bit. What is an EUO?
Statements Under Oath
As the name indicates, the EUO is a statement you give about the facts of your loss that are sworn to (“under oath”), and recorded or transcribed by a court reporter. Most insurance company contracts require their insureds to give these statements as a precondition to having a loss insured.
An EUO is different from a recorded statement. A recorded statement is where the insurance adjuster will have you answer a series of questions, often over the phone, that are recorded. There is no oath taken, and although the call can be transcribed, there is no court reporter there as there is with an EUO.
An EUO is much like a deposition in litigation. You will appear in person, and be asked questions by an attorney for the insurance company about the loss. The insurance adjuster may make the EUO sound like a formality, or that it is no big deal, However, it is, and at the point that you are asked to appear for one, you should immediately give thought to retaining an attorney.
Why an Attorney is Important
Just like at a deposition, your attorney cannot testify for you at the EUO, or tell you what to say once the EUO begins. However, a good homeowner’s insurance attorney can help you in other ways in preparing for your EUO.
The point of the EUO is to cut off or limit your benefits. Often EUOs are taken early in the claims process. You may not even know the answer to all of the questions (for example, you may have no idea what the value of the damage to your property is, or you may not be completely sure what caused the damage to your property). However, if you answer questions in the wrong way, you could risk losing benefits in full or in part.
In fact, because EUOs cost the insurance company money, it is safe to assume that if they are asking for one, they may see a way to deny you benefits.
Another reason why it is important to have an attorney with you at the EUO, is that the insurance contract does not specifically limit what could be asked of you at your EUO. An attorney who has been through EUOs can prepare you for the type of questions that can be asked, and can try to cut off questions asked of you that may be completely irrelevant, invasive, argumentative, or improper.
Make sure that you are prepared no matter what happens if you have a homeowner’s insurance claim. Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today with any questions you may have.