Your Guide to Questioning During an Examination Under Oath (EUO)
One of the most daunting aspects of any legal proceedings is the terminology, and many people worry about what they do and do not need to comply with. One area of concern occurs during an Examination Under Oath, so here we’ll explore the scope of the questioning in more detail, so you can proceed with confidence.
The EUO Basics
Examinations under oath are intended to enable insurers to possess all knowledge and information to determine its obligation and protect against false claims. Many insurers use EUOs to investigate questionable or suspicious claims that have been referred to the insurer’s special investigation unit. These claim representatives are highly trained to search for suspicious loss indicators associated with fraudulent claims.
EUOs are also used to investigate any coverage related issues, including the relationship between insureds, misrepresentation of the procurement of insurance, the nature of insurable interest, residency, increase in hazard, and compliance with protective safeguard endorsements.
Why Might You Be Asked to Participate in an EUO?
If you have a claim in dispute with your insurer, you may be asked to participate in an EUO. This formal process will be used to gather more information about your claim to prevent any fraud and allow you an opportunity to testify and prove your loss.
The Obligation to Answer Questions
While insurers may conduct “searching examinations,” the questions are confined to the matters that are material to the claim, loss, or insurance. EUO notices are also usually accompanied by demands to produce documentation. The demand for documents must not only be material but also specific and reasonable. The documents and questions are only material if they concern subjects relevant to the investigation. For example, if your insurer has a reasonable basis in suspecting a fraudulent claim, the information and documents concerning prior insurance losses and the insured’s financial status are relevant to determine if there is motivation to commit fraud.
The Consequences of Refusal to Submit to an EUO
If you fail to go to an EUO, your insurer may deny your claim. Your insurer does not need to show that your failure to provide testimony harmed their interests. However, an EUO is not always an insurer’s right; it must be provided for in your policy.
Your insurer may automatically deny your claim if you fail to attend an EUO, but there are some defenses for not attending, including the timing of your appointment, how much notice was provided, and not being allowed to have your attorney present.
Seeking Legal Help
It is a good idea to obtain legal assistance as soon as you receive notification to attend an EUO. However, if you suspect that your insurer intends to pursue an EUO before you receive an official notice, contact your lawyer at that time.
An experienced attorney can help you to prepare for an EUO and take the necessary steps to make a successful insurance claim. Your attorney can also advise if your insurer appears to be using an EUO as a means to get you to drop your claim.
Your attorney can not only explain the process and possible consequences of an EUO but also prepare you for the questions you’re likely to be asked and help you gather the requested documents to ensure that they are in order. Additionally, while your attorney cannot participate in an EUO, they can be at your side during the session and debrief afterward.