Deposition vs. Examination Under Oath

Examination Under Oath vs Depositions: What’s The Difference?

If you have found yourself involved in a legal situation of any scope, you likely have countless questions regarding the various terms and phrases that are frequently used. To make matters even more confusing, many of the terms that are commonly used have similar meanings. How is one to know how to properly prepare for a situation that they do not completely understand? This is a common frustration of many individuals who are involved in a legal case for the first time. 

What’s the difference between examination under oath and depositions? While there are many similarities between an examination under oath and a deposition, they serve different purposes. An examination under oath is questioning that takes place to verify the legitimacy of an insurance claim in order to approve or deny the request. A deposition, however, takes place during any type of litigation to help the attorney establish their case and discover details surrounding the litigation.

Because there are so many similarities between and examination under oath and a deposition, many first-time participants are unsure of how to prepare. Proper preparation, however, can pave the way for a successful questioning in both examinations under oath or a deposition. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two types of legal proceedings.

How Examination Under Oath and Depositions Are Different

In order to learn more about how to properly prepare for your upcoming examination under oath or deposition, you must first understand the differences between the two events.

What Is a Deposition?

Examination Under OathA deposition is part of the litigation process in which the lawyer representing the opposition asks a series of questions to help them establish their case. Depositions take place for a variety of types of legal cases and are not restricted to certain situations. During a deposition, the deponent (individual answering the questions) is sworn in under oath. Because of this, it is important that they answer each question asked of them honestly and thoroughly.

While a deposition is an important part of the legal process, it does not take place in a courtroom and a judge is not present during the event. Most depositions take place in the office of the attorney conducting the deposition, although sometimes they take place in a neutral conference room setting. 

During a deposition, it is important that you bring your legal counsel to represent you and protect your rights. Your legal representation may object to questions throughout the course of your deposition. This may or may not impact the outcome of the deposition or case as a whole. 

What Is An Examination Under Oath?

An examination under oath is conducted by an attorney who is representing an insurance company. Examinations under oath take place when an insurance company is trying to determine the legitimacy of a claim. During the meeting, the lawyer who represents the insurance company will ask a series of questions revolving around the events leading up to the insurance claim.

Like a deposition, an individual answers questions while under oath and must give honest answers to each question. A court reporter carefully compiles a record of each question and answer.

Your legal representation should attend your examination under oath. However, they are not able to participate as they would in a deposition. In fact, interference from your lawyer during your examination under oath can greatly impact the outcome of the claim.

Situations That May Require an Examination Under Oath

There are several reasons why an insurance company may want to further investigate a claim using an examination under oath. If you have been notified of an upcoming examination under oath, it is not an automatic sign that your claim will be denied by the insurance company. 

Here are some of the most common reasons why an insurance company may want to investigate a claim through an examination under oath:

  • The insurance company believes that the claim is in excess of what the policyholder deserves.
  • The auto insurance company is questioning whether the policy covers the claim.
  • There are possible misrepresentations or mistakes in the policy application.
  • The insurance company is suspicious of insurance fraud
  • There is evidence that the policyholder is guilty of insurance fraud.
  • The insurance company needs further information before approving the claim.
  • The insurance company is not clear on the details surrounding the insurance claim.


These are, of course, only a few of the reasons why an insurance company may request an examination under oath. Your legal representative should be able to provide you with further information regarding the specifics of your situation.

Preparing for An Examination Under Oath

Preparing for your upcoming examination under oath will help to minimize any anxiety you may be experiencing. It will also pave the way for a successful examination. Failing to prepare for your examination under oath could result in you forgetting pertinent information, answering a question incorrectly, or being unable to gather the necessary documentation.

Here are some practical steps you can take as you prepare for your examination under oath:

Consult Your Legal Representative

Your legal representative will not be able to participate in your examination under oath. However, they are able to help you prepare. Additionally, your lawyer can (and should) accompany you to your examination. This will provide them with valuable information on how to represent your case and protect your rights. 

Your lawyer has likely participated in similar undertakings in the past. Because of this, they will be able to guide you towards gathering the correct documentation as you prepare for your case.

Review the Details Surrounding Your Claim

When you are first approached about scheduling your examination under oath, be sure to request a date far enough in advance to provide you with time to prepare. It is important to provide yourself with ample time to review each detail surrounding your claim. By reviewing each detail, you will be able to properly answer each question that is asked of you. 

Carefully Gather Documentation

Depending on the amount of time that has passed since your incident, it may be a challenge to gather the documentation that is requested by the insurance company. Many of the documents that they request may seem unnecessary. However, it is important that you provide them with the information they request. Failing to do so may result in a denial of your claim.

Maintain a Professional Demeanor

On the day of your examination under oath, you will likely experience a variety of emotions. Many of the questions that the opposition asks you may cause you to feel as if you are under attack. Do your best to remember that the opposition is likely trying to elicit a negative response that will negate your claim. 

Remain calm, composed, and professional throughout the duration of your meeting. Provide a positive first impression by dressing appropriately, remaining polite, and putting your best foot forward. 

Not sure what to wear to your examination under oath? Check out this guide on what to wear to a deposition as the guidelines for dress are identical.

Preparing for A Deposition

Preparing for a deposition is quite similar to preparing for an examination under oath. There is one important difference in your preparation for these events. During a deposition, you may not provide additional documentation. You must submit any documentation or evidence through your attorney prior to the deposition.

Additionally, since your estate planning lawyer will be able to participate in your deposition, it is not quite as important to review the questions that you shouldn’t answer. You can learn more about how to properly prepare for a deposition here.

Equipped with this knowledge, we hope that you are able to participate in your upcoming deposition or examination under oath with confidence.

Looking to learn more? You can find additional deposition tips and training here.

Matt McWilliams

Deposition Academy is an online website created to guide those in the legal videographer industry or those interested in starting a legal videography business. The site has expanded to cover a variety of legal topics that are related to depositions and the deposition process. Our team of writers have written for a variety of legal blogs and website.