Ask Kathryn: Examination Under Oath (EUO) – What is it & why is my auto insurance carrier requiring me to attend one?

Ask Kathryn: What is an Examination Under Oath and why do I have to give one to my insurance company when I haven’t even filed suit in my auto accident claim in Florida?

An Examination Under Oath (EUO) is like a deposition in that you will be asked questions by "other" party – and in this case the "other" party is your own insurance carrier. You will be under oath and a court reporter will be taping the questions and answers and typing what you say. What you say can be used against you later. You will probably also be asked to provide copies of documents like copies of your medical records and other accident related documents.

Your automobile insurance policy most likely provided your insurance carrier with the right to demand the Examination Under Oath (EUO). If you do not cooperate, you will jeopardize your right to recover under your policy. If you are unable to attend or need to reschedule, make sure that you do so in advance and confirm everything in writing so that you have proof that you were cooperating with your insurance carrier’s request for the EUO.

If you have an attorney, your attorney will attend the EUO with you. If you do not have an attorney, I recommend you consult with an attorney before attending the EUO. Typically other people, like your spouse or friend etc., or other people related to the accident, like other passengers, medical providers, or witnesses, are not allowed to sit in on the EUO.

The EUO can take anywhere from 30 minutes to all day long, depending upon the objective of the person (usually a insurance carrier claims adjuster or defense attorney) questioning you.

Typically, the EUO begins with basic questions about your name, date of birth, address, place of work etc. and job history and whether you have suffered any lost wages as a result of the accident; then questions about the accident and how the accident happened are asked, and the EUO is usually ended with questions about your medical treatment and injuries as a result of the accident. If there is a question about insurance coverage, then questions related to your policy may be asked. If you have had prior accidents or injuries, the person doing the EUO will probably ask about those. Expect questions about your criminal history. Sometimes, the EUO may not really be about you, sometimes the insurance carrier is looking for information about a medical provider and there may be detailed questioning about what type of treatment you received. The EUO is broad in scope, and all questions that are material and/or relevant to the claim must be answered. Refusal to answer may result in a denial of claim.

In the recent past, I have seen a few cases where it appears that the insurance carrier is using the EUO to delay the processing of a claim or simply to annoy the person making the claim. One adjuster recently said "If you make another counter offer, then we’re going to require your client to do an EUO."

My advice to my client on these is usually we have to attend, you have to tell the truth, I will be there, and expect that it could take all day long; so if the EUO is downtown, bring lots of quarters / parking meter money.

For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878.

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