Apologizing After an Accident and Civil Liability – The Apology Act
If someone has apologized to you after an accident, can this be held as an admission of liability when you decide to sue? If you apologize after an accident, can your insurance company use this to deny benefits or coverage?
The Ontario Apology Act
In Ontario, there is a piece of legislation called the Apology Act. The Act states that an apology, whether it is expressly made or just implied, cannot be used as evidence of liability in a later civil action. This includes any apology made on behalf of a person, as well as an apology made by a corporation. An insurer also cannot use an apology to later deny coverage or determine fault after an accident.
Apologies that are made in the course of a lawsuit are not included in the Act. This means that an apology made at examination for discovery, mediation, or even in correspondence after a legal proceeding has begun, could be used as an admission of fault.
The Apology Act also only applies to civil claims. Apologies can still be used as an admission of liability, or guilt, for charges under the Highway Traffic Act or in criminal proceedings.
The Apology Act and motor vehicle accidents
Anyone involved in a car accident may immediately apologize to the other driver, regardless of whether they did anything wrong. If you were injured in an accident, but apologized to the other driver, this cannot be used to deny any claim you bring against them for compensation.
One thing to remember, is that although an apology is not considered evidence of liability or an admission of guilt, any information contained within that apology may still be used to help prove fault. For example, if another driver says, “I’m sorry,” then this statement is not admissible. However, if the driver says, “I’m sorry, I ran the stop sign,” this information can be used as evidence that they ran a stop sign and should be found at fault for the accident.
Professional, pragmatic legal advice after an accident
If you have been injured, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your options. At Derfel Injury Law, our team of experienced litigators can offer practical guidance after an accident, and help you decide whether to pursue a claim for compensation.