The Beacon

News and issues related to claims and risk management

"Apology" Laws in Northern New England

MAINE

Any statement, affirmation, gesture, or conduct expressing apology, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion or a general sense of benevolence that is made by a health care provider to the patient or the patient's family/representative, and that relates to the discomfort, pain, suffering, injury, or death of the patient as the result of an unanticipated outcome is inadmissible as evidence of an admission of liability.

Nothing in the statute prohibits the admissibility of a statement of fault.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

A statement, writing, or action that expresses sympathy, compassion, commiseration, or a general sense of benevolence relating to the pain, suffering, or death of a patient and that is made to the patient or to the patient's family is inadmissible as evidence of an admission of liability.

A statement can be admissible if the healthcare provider accepts fault, negligence, or culpable conduct.

VERMONT

A health care provider who makes an oral expression of regret or apology, including any oral good faith explanation of how a medical error occurred, that is provided within 30 days of when the health care provider knew or should have known of the consequences of the error, does not constitute a legal admission of liability and shall be inadmissible.

This protection does not apply to written expressions of regret or apology.