last clear chance doctrine

last-clear-chance doctrine. Torts. The rule that a plaintiff who was contributorily negligent may nonetheless recover from the defendant if the defendant had the last opportunity to prevent the harm but failed to use reasonable care to do so (in other words, if the defendant’s negligence is later in time than the plaintiff’s). • This doctrine allows the plaintiff to rebut the contributory-negligence defense in the few jurisdictions where contributory negligence completely bars recovery. — Also termed discovered-peril doctrine; humanitarian doctrine; last-opportunity doctrine; subsequent-negligence doctrine; supervening-negligence doctrine. [Cases: Automobiles 227; Negligence 530, 1297. C.J.S. Motor Vehicles §§ 963–970; Negligence §§ 281–290, 313, 318.]
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