It’s hard. It starts when we are young, and if it’s not corrected, it will grow. It can get you into a little bit of trouble. It can ruin relationships. And, IT can get you into a LOT of trouble.
At first, you think you can cover it up. It was a small thing. No big deal. But then it grows until, uh oh, it’s too late. Now, there are consequences. Maybe they are nonexistent this time. Maybe they are small. Or, maybe this was the last straw.
What is IT? Fault. When things go wrong, whether intentional or not. Did you break the vase (Brady Bunch Memories)?
Do you cover it up, or do you take your medicine and move forward? Are you having an argument with your spouse? Can you admit it when you are wrong, or do you stew about it? Try admitting it. It will do wonders.
Well, in the legal realm, lying about fault is the worst thing you can do. Why? Lies make people angry, and in the civil world, that is good for the plaintiff because if a jury sees a lie, they get mad, and then, they award more money. Of course, that’s if you catch them in the lie, and usually you do, whether it’s the plaintiff or the defendant.
The University of Michigan has actually done a study with respect to its hospital and doctor apologies. This study shows what can happen if you apologize and admit you might have been wrong. A lawsuit may never be filed. Claims might decrease.
The same is true with respect to car wrecks. If you ran a red light, admit it. You have insurance to cover the claim, and this is why – in case you do wrong. Maybe, if you apologize, the other person won’t want to make a claim. Even if they do make a claim, you will take some of the sting out of their case by admitting fault.
We have had cases where people were seriously injured, and some killed, because another individual ran a red light, was speeding, or improperly changed lanes. Through our investigations, we have shown that these individuals were clearly at fault (witness statements, accident reconstruction, or even the event data recorder "black box"). Notwithstanding all of this information, the other party continues to deny fault. I’m wondering how they can sleep at night knowing that they have significantly affected the lives of others. Our clients get angry, and the case goes up in value. Can you imagine if the people just said, "I’m sorry. It was all my fault?"
This is also illustrated in the foreclosure mess. Can homeowners admit they overextended themselves? Can banks admit they were greedy? Can banks admit that they can’t handle the modification process properly? Everyone is so busy accusing the other that they forget that maybe a solution could be reached if the substantive issues were discussed instead of pointing the finger.
So, next time you are in a situation where you accidently or intentionally caused a problem. Admit it. See what happens. I think you might be surprised.