Few lawyers know what an Examination Under Oath (EUO) is, and even fewer have ever actually represented a policyholder at an EUO. The lawyers at Rutter & Russin have represented hundreds of policyholders at such exams.
If you are reading this, you have probably received a letter from your insurance company or its lawyer demanding that you appear for an examination under oath. Here are some common questions.
An examination under oath, or EUO, is a sworn statement given by an insured in response to questions asked by a lawyer hired by the insurance company.
An EUO is given in front of a court reporter, who transcribes the questions and answers. The insured is usually asked to review and sign the transcript. The insurance company then bases its claim decision on the information contained in the EUO.
The language contained in the insurance policy dictates who is required to appear for an EUO. Usually, the policy requires the named insureds to appear although sometimes any insured must appear. If the insured is a corporation or a partnership, these entities must designate a representative to appear and give testimony. Sometimes employees must attend EUOs.
You are not required to have an attorney represent you at an EUO. In fact, the insurance company will be delighted if you appear without a lawyer. Then it can take advantage of your vulnerable position to fully exploit its already considerable advantage.
Typically, an insured is requested to produce a long laundry list of documents:
The insurance policy language controls what documents must be produced, but this language is usually quite broad and is worded in favor of the insurance company since they wrote it.
This is a tricky issue because there is no judge present to make decisions about who is right and who is wrong, or whether a question asked by the insurance company is relevant, or whether the conduct of the insurance company's lawyer is appropriate. Only an experienced insurance coverage attorney knows what is customary to ask and what is not, and how to respond to inappropriate questions.
If an insured refuses to answer a question posed at an EUO, or terminates the EUO because the insured feels that the questions are unfair or overly personal, then the insurance company will likely deny the claim for failure of the insured to fully cooperate.
More questions than you can believe. Generally, the insurance company's lawyer will inquire about:
Most EUOs take several hours; some take several days.
A recorded statement is not a substitute for an examination under oath, even though they may cover similar topics. An EUO will usually be longer and more thorough than a prior recorded statement.
In most states, an insured is entitled to a copy of their recorded statement before appearing for their EUO.
If you refuse to appear for your EUO or refuse to answer relevant questions, then your insurance company will either put your claim on hold until you comply or deny your claim altogether. Your only recourse will be to file a lawsuit, which will delay your claim even more and probably cause you to incur attorney fees and expenses.
Not necessarily, but it does mean that the company is seriously exploring that option. An insurance company does not request an EUO unless there are significant coverage problems. An experienced coverage attorney can prepare you for your EUO so that you can maximize your chances of getting the claim paid without being forced to file a lawsuit, thereby saving considerable time and money.
If your insurance company is demanding you submit to an examination under oath you owe it to yourself to get experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Rutter & Russin have represented hundreds of policyholders during these often challenging examinations. Contact us today for a free consultation.