Tips & Tricks – How Best To Admit and Accept Responsibility For Your Errors
June 9, 2011
I was surfing the Internet in search of good ideas to blog about and came across this great article about how to accept you were wrong and take responsibility for its consequences. Incidentally, this also reminded me of a blog I posted some time ago about how many medical malpractice lawsuits could have been avoided if only the doctor would have simply accepted he was wrong and apologized.
Taking responsibility is what litigation is all about. If a person fails to accept responsibility for his or her mistakes either because of a genuine belief that he was not wrong or either because of a personal failure, litigation is there to make matters right for the victim and those who have been damaged.
In the article below, the author discusses the steps a person can take after he or she has become aware of his or her mistake.
HOW TO ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG & ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
Posted on May 21, 2011 by Paul Luvera
ACKNOWLEDGE THE MISTAKE DIRECTLY
Be straight forward. Directly and honestly, acknowledge the error. Say what you did and how much you regret it. In lawsuits, the defendant usually admits liability before trial and then wants to exclude it was done at the last minute. I think we should be allowed to show it was at the last minute, but whatever the situation we should emphasize this. In jury selection and opening note that there is no question who is at fault. In cross examination I’d ask the appropriate witness if they admit they were totally at fault and negligent.
Resist the urge to blame someone else. Don’t point fingers or make excuses because doing that only makes it sound like you care more about getting out of the trouble you caused. In lawsuits, this is the one area the defendant always fails to deal with properly. They want the jury to give them credit for acknowledging they were negligent, but they don’t want to accept the responsibility because that would require paying for the harm they did. Instead, the hide behind the admission of fault and claim they don’t really owe much for the harm. They will blame anyone and everything for harm except their own actions. I think we should high light that fact. They ask for praise for admitting fault so obvious they had little choice and then won’t accept the consequences.
These two little words I’m sorry-by the person who has suffered. “Please forgive me” is nice too. Be up front and tell them how sorry you are. In a lawsuit, a defendant who admits liability has acknowledged they are at fault, but by their denial of the harm caused really are not sorry at all. I talk about this. Were there any phone calls, cards, visits to the injured person to say they were sorry? If the defendant admits they were negligent, isn’t the normal thing we do when we are wrong is to say we are sorry?
OFFER A PRACTICAL WAY TO MAKE UP FOR THE MISTAKE
In most cases, you can think of a way to make amends. If you have broken, lost or otherwise damaged property, you should offer to pay for it. In lawsuits, this is the glaring omission of the defendant to admits fault. We should note that when we damage something through our fault the normal response is to offer to pay for it. When you knock the vase over in the shop you are visiting and break it, you don’t offer to pay a small percentage of the marked sales price. That’s not right nor fair nor honest. When a defendant causes harm they admit they caused, they should step up and pay the full price for the harm they did and not work at finding ways of avoiding doing the right thing.
GIVE THE OTHER PERSON TIME TO THINK AND RESPOND
The deeper the hurt, the more difficult it is for the person to let go of it. Don’t force and immediate response. In lawsuits, the admission of fault is usually close to trial and only after there has been a denial of fault, discovery and other delays. The plaintiff is put through a period of uncertainty. The honest way to proceed is to admit one is wrong early on and then discuss appropriate remedies.
LISTEN AND RESPOND
Let the other person talk. sometimes people just want to share how deeply they are hurt. In lawsuits it is the denial of the defendant of any fault, blaming others and refusing to make up for the harm done that is hurtful to the plaintiff. A last minute reversal for legal gain doesn’t make up for the months of stress an