There is a movement afoot to make it possible to apologize for your actions without being considered to admit that you have done a wrong with legal consequences:
Apology Act of B.C., May 2006
first in Canada, several in US states
Since mandatory apologies provide little comfort, they are seldom ordered by adjudicators. Yet Ombudsmen receive sacks of mail saying: ‘I just wanted an apology, I’m not so interested
The Associated Press
“Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone. The medical world is finding that childhood lesson a surprisingly powerful way to head off malpractice suits, especially if the apology comes with an upfront settlement offer. Since encouraging its doctors to apologize for errors, the University of Michigan Health System’s annual attorney fees have dropped by two-thirds, and malpractice suits and notices of intents to sue have fallen by half, says a former trial attorney who launched the practice there…
While the number of settlements would probably increase, lawsuits and sky-high jury awards would decrease, said Doug Wojcieszak, a public relations consultant whose victims’ rights group proposed “Sorry Works.”
Apologies and upfront financial offers could mean the difference between settlements costing thousands of dollars and drawn-out malpractice lawsuits costing millions in attorney fees and jury awards, Wojcieszak said.
The idea for “Sorry Works” came from an honesty policy the Veterans Affairs hospital in Lexington, Ky., adopted in 1987 after two big malpractice cases cost the hospital over $1.5 million.
Dr. Steve Kraman, then the hospital’s chief of staff, said he helped create the policy as an alternative to the traditional “shut up and fight” strategy. The center’s liability costs subsequently dropped below those of comparable VA hospitals, he said.”
In the medical/legal field: movement news at The Sorry Works Coalition
Apologies fall into two discrete categories: expressions of sympathy or benevolence (eg, I’m sorry you are hurt) and expressions of accountability and remorse (eg, I’m sorry I hurt you)…
Medical honesty is the best policy:article describing apology policy