“I’m Sorry,” Legally Speaking: Cliff Smoot Authors Ask the Expert Article

Many people interpret “I’m sorry” as the same as admitting fault, but apologies can convey different meanings, from “I’m sorry this happened to you,” to “I’m sorry because the accident was my fault.” In his Organized Labor Ask the Expert article “‘I’m Sorry,’ Legally Speaking,” Attorney Cliff Smoot discusses the complexities of apologies and how they can be used in the courtroom.

“Due to this wide range of meanings, ‘I’m sorry’ has little legal effect in civil court proceedings,” wrote Smoot. “Most judges would not allow your statement of ‘I’m sorry’ to be used against you.” However, Smoot notes that if an individual apologizes for an incident, and at the same time admits fault, then that statement can be used against the person in court.

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