Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and your house is on fire. You scramble around your home to grab your kids, the family pet, and run outside to safety. Your family is huddled together watching the home where many memories and possessions are now ablaze. After the fire settles you are thankful that no one got injured; but, you dread the thought of your insurance company denying coverage. Unfortunately, many homeowners suffer property damage from fires and insurance companies, over the years, have grown extremely skeptical to these claims. Moreover insurance companies, under this growing skepticism, subject homeowners to an “examination under oath” to investigate whether the insurance company can rightfully deny you coverage under your policy.
An examination under oath is a frustration shared by both homeowners and attorneys for many reasons. First, homeowners are many times unreasonably suspected by the insurance company of committing fraud. Second, homeowners under their policy have a duty of cooperation and as a result are subject to a wide scope of questioning. For example, the insurance attorney could ask you personal questions about your financial history, such as if you have missed payments on credit cards. This question clearly is not material to a home-fire investigation, and is frustrating because of the amount of latitude insurance attorneys are afforded. Third, homeowners and attorneys play on the insurance attorney’s rules, which means the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure are out the window. Moreover for attorneys, this is the paramount reason why examinations under oath are so frustrating because these rules exist to both safeguard your client’s interests and prevent one party from gaining an unfair advantage
Insurance companies flaunt crafty slogans like “Go Ahead. You Can Rely On Us,” or even better “You’re In Good Hands;” but, do insurance companies really live up to their slogans? Can you reasonably rely on anyone who suspects you of wrongdoing? However you feel about an examination under oath, one undisputed fact that remains is the exclusion of your attorney’s services, when you are under oath, can never place you in good hands.
By: Fahd Haque, law clerk for Moss & Colella, P.C. If you have any questions, email Fahd Haque at FHaque@mosscolella.com