How Does The Last Clear Chance Doctrine Relate To Shared Fault Rules?

  • July 1, 2021

Court decisions help to form common law, which is different from codified laws. The last clear chance doctrine belongs in a listing of common laws.

What is the last clear chance doctrine?

It is a common law that arose as an exception to the principle of contributory negligence. Judges wanted to diminish the degree of harshness in the effects that stemmed from utilization of the principle of contributory negligence.

Plaintiffs that hope to benefit from the last clear chance doctrine must show that at the time of the accident the defendant was the last one with an opportunity to alter the course of events. The doctrine assumes that an altering of the course of events should have avoided or diminished the amount of injury that was suffered by the plaintiff.

The proofs required of a plaintiff that hopes to use this particular doctrine

• The accident had put the plaintiff in immediate, actual danger.
• The defendant was aware of the danger.
• The defendant had been provided with a chance to avoid the accident.

The doctrine’s history

Over time, judges ruled in cases where a plaintiff had made only a slight contribution to a given accident. Still, owing to the existence of the contributory negligence principle, the same plaintiffs failed to get compensated for their personal injury. The Personal Injury Lawyer in Crystal Lake know that the judges felt that some plaintiffs were not receiving a just treatment. Hence, the judges’ ability to shape rulings lead to creation of the last clear chance doctrine.

Today, only a few states still use the principle of contributory negligence. Most states now use the principle of comparative negligence, in cases where there has been evidence of shared fault. You can ask a personal injury lawyer in Crystal Lake about how does that latter principle differ from the one that once enjoyed widespread usage?

According to comparative negligence, in cases of shared fault, the degree to which a plaintiff was at-fault for a given accident should determine how much money the same plaintiff could receive as compensation. The plaintiff’s portion of the compensation is inversely proportional to the extent of that same plaintiff’s contribution to the injury-causing accident.

Many states have adopted a modified form of the comparative negligence principle. According to that modified principle, not all plaintiffs with shared fault have a chance to receive a deserved portion of the settlement or the ordered judgment. Only those plaintiffs that have contributed to less than 50% of the accident, or the injury, have a right to seek a deserved portion of the anticipated compensation.

What happens to the remaining plaintiffs? Each of them must forego the chance to receive any level of compensation. Each of them must face the same possible consequences as those plaintiffs that have been affected by the rules of contributory negligence.