There are many situations where you might take an examination under oath. The attorneys at Freundlich & Littman, LLC want you prepared for an examination under oath. If at any time you need legal representation for an examination under oath in Philadelphia, do not hesitate to contact us.
An examination under oath is a routine procedure in the insurance world. If you prepare enough for the questions that the insurance company asks, it will not be a strenuous ordeal. This article will discuss what an examination under oath is and how to prepare for one.
What Is An Examination Under Oath?
A legal oath is a pledge to tell the truth during a legal procedure. An examination under oath is procedure typically held by insurance companies. In many ways, it is a quasi-legal proceeding. After you file a claim with your insurance company, they may need you to report to a representative from the agency. A court reporter will be there to take down everything said, just as in a deposition or trial. You will take an oath to tell the truth. After the oath, the questioner will ask you a series of questions. Insurance companies design these questions to mimic a deposition. In a deposition, as you may have seen on popular media, is a fact-finding exercise. It allows the insurer to investigate and have all the information needed before making a determination on your claim.
What Should I Expect?
The situation is becoming routine in the insurance world. It is the chance for the insurer to ask questions about your claim to make sure that everything is in place. Unlike typical situations where you would take an oath, an attorney may not assist you with each question. Legal counsel for you and your insurer may be present during an examination under oath, however. If you need legal advice before the procedure or wish us to represent you, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Prior to the examination under oath, your insurer will send you a notice of a scheduled time and place. They may ask you to bring along certain documents pertaining to your insurance claim. You may even need to attend several of these examinations. This depends on the nature of your case and whether the insurer needs specialized agents to ask you more questions.
You can expect to receive questions about your claim, prior claims, and questions regarding fraud. This is the insurance company trying to find any false claims. Insurance companies notoriously do not want to pay for claims if they can avoid it. Talking with your attorney ahead of time will prepare you for what to say. It will also keep you calm when these expected questions arise. The entire process may take a few hours to complete, so prepare for that.
Can I Refuse To Attend Or Answer Any Questions?
In short, yes, you can refuse; however, there are potential consequences that you face by doing so. Unless you have a legally viable reason for refusal you may not be able to avoid negative consequences. Refusing to attend an examination under oath can result in a cancellation of your claim and policy.
There are some instances where the law allows refusal. These include an unreasonable time and location, refusal of the right to a present attorney, or that the notice you received was not complete. Before you refuse to attend, contact an attorney to make sure you are within your right to do so to avoid losing your right to an insurance payout.
Just as you cannot refuse to attend the examination under oath, you cannot refuse to answer a question based on the Fifth Amendment. It does not apply to an examination under oath. In fact, refusing to answer a question gives the insurer’s representative the right to cancel the examination. They can cancel any claim. Remember, your insurance policy is a contract. If you fail to meet the requirements or comply, the company may exercise the right to breach the contract. These provisions should be in your policy.
If you worry that your insurer may cancel your policy or you are unsure what to say, seek legal advice. It is always better to know what to say before you outright refuse to answer a question.
Do I Need An Attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney present at an examination under oath, but it is strongly advised to have one. Even though an attorney cannot assist your answers, but they can prevent bad questions.
The insurer’s representative will have an attorney, but neither individual has your interest at heart. An attorney will be able to spot if your insurer or insurer’s attorney is doing anything that isn’t strictly above board.