Sworn statement – examination
It used to be that the sworn examination of the insured was undertaken by an insurance company's adjuster. However, the sworn statement has become such an important issue in the denial of claims, that the trend now is for the insurance company to hire lawyers to examine the claimants –– people like you who are making a claim for a loss. If the loss is small, your statement may be taken over the telephone by the insurance adjuster. The larger the loss, the more important the claim, the more likely you will be given the examination in an office – by a lawyer with a court reporter present to transcribe the proceedings. If you have a large loss, we cannot stress enough the importance of retaining your own attorney, one familiar with property losses, to be present with you at the examination.
The insurance company representative will try to obtain information in such a way that you will be committed to certain facts. The condition of the property at the time of the loss, the actual value of the contents and of the property itself, and any facts establishing a breach of the insurance policy contract, are goals of the examiner for the insurance company. Be careful of what you say. Any amendments or corrections to your sworn statement may be used as inconsistent testimony in the event of a trial.
The concept of an examination under oath sounds perfectly reasonable and innocent when the adjuster first approaches you for a date and time for the examination. But the motives for the examination may be a bit more sinister. In many cases, an insurance company seeks an examination for the sole purpose of gathering evidence to make the case that your claim is fraudulent or exorbitant.
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