By Stuart Cappus
Sorry! As Canadians, many of us are probably unable to go an entire day without saying the word. But are there any legal consequences to saying you’re sorry?
In British Columbia, thanks to the Apology Act, the answer to that question is no. This Act, which has been in force since 2006, makes clear that an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter and must not be taken into account in any determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter. The Act even defines apology to mean “an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that one is sorry or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit or imply an admission of fault in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate”.
The Apology Act allows people to interact naturally and humanely when a wrong has occurred without fear that their words could later be used against them. For people injured in car accidents, the Apology Act means that you still have to prove that the other person involved in the accident was at fault even if they said they’re sorry. Similarly, the fact that you may have said you’re sorry cannot be held against you if you later bring a claim against the other person who is actually the one at fault for the accident.