Yes, it really is often just that simple. In fact, many clients often want an apology more than they even want money. As this article notes, patients who have adverse results (including actual malpractice-caused adverse results) are much much much less likely to sue if the hospital and doctors simply apologize. Of course, sometimes more than an apology is needed, but even there, as the article notes, "Patients seem far less angry when they receive an honest explanation, an apology and prompt, fair compensation for the harm they have suffered." No need for any lawsuits there.
Which applies generally. If you wrong someone, a sincere apology, especially if accompanied by an attempt to make up for the harm, is the surest way to avoid a lawsuit (and is far far cheaper for everyone concerned). That's the first advice I'd give to anyone in a potential lawsuit situation - sit down, talk with the other party, and apologize if appropriate. Refusing to admit fault where fault is pretty clear, refusing to apologize, just really pisses people off and makes them more likely to sue. Even if a lawsuit does happen anyway, it may be far less acrimonious and may settle much more easily and on better terms if, from the start, the defendant was apologetic and expressed true remorse.
This isn't rocket science. (And I've noted it before).
4 years ago