Ethics answers from Jancee Dunn
Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan

I got into a minor fender bender, which was totally my fault. I wanted to apologize to the person I hit, but my friend told me to stay in the car. This struck me as cold, but she said it's a lawsuit-happy world and apologizing implies guilt. Was she right?

A: "Yes, she was: Apologies imply wrongdoing, laws are complex, and what looks like 'my fault' sometimes isn't. Even so, you can express sympathy to the driver for her (and your) messed-up day without admitting guilt."
Rushworth M. Kidder, founder, Institute for Global Ethics

"Unfortunately, your friend is correct. So next time—God forbid—remain calm and say something benignly commiserative to the other driver, like ' Boy, neither of us needed this today.'"
Faith Salie, host of public radio's Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie