In day-to-day life, an apology is often the first way people may try to resolve an argument. If you have been injured, whether it be during medical treatment, in a motor vehicle accident or in another event, you may feel a sense of accountability taken by the wrongdoer if they apologise for their actions.

But if someone has apologised to you, does that mean that you are automatically entitled to compensation in a claim for personal injury?

 What Does South Australian Law Say?

Under the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter alleged to have been caused by the person –

  • does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter; and
  • is not relevant to the determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter [s 75(1)].

In simpler terms: just because you have received an apology, it does not automatically mean that the other person is at fault for your injuries. You are still required to prove your case.

Evidence of an apology is not admissible in any civil proceedings as evidence of the fault or liability of the person in connection with that matter [s 74(2)]. However this does not apply to some civil proceedings (defamation cases and cases excluded by regulation) [s74(3)].

An apology is defined in the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) as an expression of sympathy or regret, or of a general sense of benevolence or compassion, in connection with any matter, whether or not the apology admits or implies an admission of fault in connection with the matter.

How do I know if I have a claim for personal injury?

 While apologies may not advance your potential personal injury claim, it certainly can indicate that your circumstances should be investigated. Various time limits apply, including a 3 year time limit from the date of the negligence, so it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

We investigate claims on a “no win, no fee” basis. That is, you will not pay our legal fees unless we are successful in your claim.

To discuss your circumstances, please contact our office on 08 8213 1000 for an obligation free consultation.