A listener has stumbled upon the difference between a settlement and an apology. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Listener Ward S. took his car for new tires but while there the shop broke his taillight. They owned up and told him how to file a claim, and the insurance company agreed to pay—if he signed a release, saying that they were not admitting liability. It also says he’s under no obligation to sign it. But if he wants his money, he has to. He wants to know if that’s legal.
Ward, you’ve hit the difference between what it means to satisfy a legal obligation and what it means to feel satisfied. A settling party almost always insists on the “no liability” language, not for your case; they’ve already agreed to give you the money but so that later someone else can’t use all of their admissions of guilt as proof that they aren’t careful. It isn’t satisfying, but you do get what you want: the money. As for an apology, if their mother didn’t teach them to own up, the legal system won’t force them to either.