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Options When Your Insurance Carrier Wants to Question You Under Oath

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who explains that she’s been making a claim for insurance benefits due to a fire at her home. She says she gave a statement under oath, and now the insurance company is denying her claim. She says it is time to get an attorney and know her legal options.

You may have heard the saying, “it is never too late.”

But, when your insurance company wants your statement under oath, the time to hire an attorney is BEFORE you comply with the request. Not after.

We get this question quite often. When an insurance carrier asks for a statement under oath, it is playing hardball.

Consult an attorney right away when you make a claim following a fire loss or car theft. It will be money well spent.

It is different if a storm rips off your roof. People can’t arrange to have a storm damage their home.

Fires can be arranged. Car theft can be arranged.

Whenever a loss potentially can be arranged, insurance carriers look for ways to avoid paying. They may not contest every such claim, but they always think about doing so.

But, if you handle the claim on your own, stop and contact an attorney BEFORE giving a statement under oath.

You might ask why?

Well, insurance companies are obligated to pay valid claims, and they’re also bound to not pay invalid claims.

If an insured is being asked to give a statement under oath, that’s a red flag that the insurance company is suspicious about the claim.

It wants to make sure it understands the basis of your claim and make certain that you are pinned down after swearing to tell the truth.

Chances are it has already put your claim in a pile on the desk marked: likely to reject.

When an insurance company gets to the point of requiring a statement under oath, it believes it has all the evidence needed to deny the claim. The statement under oath is icing on the cake from its perspective.

When you hire an attorney BEFORE giving such a statement, the attorney then has the opportunity to go over with you everything that you have told the insurance company. Every recorded statement you provided can be reviewed. The paperwork you gave your company in response to written requests for documents can be reviewed.

Often, an attorney will find that the insured acted in good faith but failed to fully comply with the letter of each document request.

For example, suppose the insurance company asked for all of your bank records, but you forgot to supply documents for a particular account. Or you provided some records, but you did not cover the entire period encompassed by the request.

Give your attorney a chance to figure out where you stand in policy compliance before giving your statement under oath. Give you and your attorney the opportunity to supplement any response to information requests made by the insurance carrier.

Having an attorney present while you are questioned under oath will permit that attorney to object where necessary. The lawyer can clarify questions and make sure all questions are answered truthfully and accurately.

We often find that an insured has failed to fully cooperate with their insurance carrier. The noncompliance is rarely intentional.

Sometimes an insured will be mad that they are being questioned after a fire loss and get a chip on their shoulder and only cooperate begrudgingly.

That won’t work when it comes to insurance claims.

The insured has to cooperate. The insured has to cooperate fully.

Playing games will not work. Playing games can result in a valid claim being denied.

So if you are asked to give a statement under oath, politely indicate that you will do so but want to arrange to have your attorney present. Then, hire an attorney immediately.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”