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Data from case studies support the fact that apologies from physicians to patients promote reconciliation and forgiveness. To promote a culture that supports apologizing and disclosure, 39 states, including Washington, D.C., are enacting apology policies to decrease the litigation problems surrounding medical malpractice. This article is delves into the implications surrounding the enactment of these laws. The article is divided into four parts. The first part of the article explains why states are passing apology laws and how they can help reduce lawsuits associated with medical malpractice. The second part presents data that supports the effectiveness of apology laws. The third part illustrates how apology laws affect various legal outcomes, especially the probability that medical providers will be presented with litigation fees. The fourth part of the article delves into the legal significance of their results. It is important to note that apology laws do not replace communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs), nor do they mitigate the existing data that these programs are effective in lowering the incidence rates of medical error claims.


McMichael, B. J., Van Horn, R. L., & Viscusi, W. K. (2019). "Sorry” Is Never Enough: How State Apology Laws Fail to Reduce Medical Malpractice Liability Risk. Stanford Law Review, 71(2), 341–409.