For many policyholders, who are not used to litigation, law offices, depositions, or court, the thought of sitting down before a bank of lawyers and microphones and being sworn in to endure hours of questioning is … terrifying. And, we completely understand. Although, as attorneys, we attend and take depositions and sworn statements often, we know it can be a paralyzing for many people like you who are not used to speaking in such a formal and frightening environment. This is why, when many policyholders receive a demand from their insurance company to sit for an Examination Under Oath (an “EUO”), they ask us: “Do I have to undergo an examination under oath?”
You Likely Need to Attend an EUO to Preserve Your Insurance Claim
Unfortunately, our most common answer is: “Most likely, yes.” But, the good news is, you can have a lawyer attend with you who will make sure the questions are fair and relevant, and that your testimony is recorded accurately so there can be no dispute later. The bad news is if you fail to attend an EUO scheduled by the insurance company, this could allow the insurance company to deny your claim entirely because you failed to cooperate with their investigation. This is because, under the insurance policy, both you and the insurance company have certain obligations to one another.
You Are Contractually Obligated to Attend an EUO
Pursuant to your policy of insurance, which is a contract, the insurance company is required to investigate and pay legitimate claims, while you are required to cooperate with their investigation by responding to reasonable requests for information and documents and providing access to allow the insurance company to investigate your claim. Most insurance policies include a provision requiring that you appear for an EUO if requested.
Florida courts have found that a failure to sit for an EUO can constitute a breach of the insurance policy on your part, for failing to cooperate, allowing the insurance company to deny your claim—no matter how large or how much damage you suffered—simply because you failed to show up for the EUO. This is because courts have interpreted EUOs as a contractual obligation that the policyholder owes to the insurance company, which means failing to attend could be considered a breach of the contract by the policyholder, then allowing the insurance company to rightfully refuse to uphold its end of the bargain by refusing to pay your claim.
If You've Received a Request for an EUO, Contact an Attorney Immediately
If your insurance company has asked you for an EUO, you should contact an experienced insurance attorney immediately to advise you, guide you through the process, and make sure your rights are protected and preserved. At Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, we never charge any fee or cost to review your claim and discuss your rights. If your insurance company is asking you to sit for an EUO, please contact us immediately to ensure you take the right actions to preserve your claim and protect your interests.