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Last Clear Chance Rule in Personal Injury Law

Last Clear Chance Rule in Personal Injury Law


Personal injury cases tend to have many layers, making them incredibly challenging to pursue. This is especially true when determining fault isn’t at all straightforward. The last clear chance rule can be brought up in many of these cases, so if you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s wise to be informed about this rule and how it might impact your case.

What Is the Last Clear Chance Rule?

The doctrine of “last clear chance” applies when the injured person was partially at fault, but the defendant still had a chance to avoid the accident, the injured person may still recover.

An example of this would be if plaintiff ignored a stop sign and continued driving through an intersection. The defendant also ran a red light before crashing into the plaintiff’s car and causing injuries to the plaintiff. Comparative negligence may bar plaintiff from receiving any money from the defendant. However, the plaintiff is able to show that the defendant had time to stop before hitting them, thus avoiding the collision, the plaintiff may still be able to receive a monetary damages award.

There are five key elements associated with the last clear chance rule, and the plaintiff must prove each of them for his or her claim to qualify.

  • The plaintiff placed himself or herself in danger due to their negligent behavior.
  • The plaintiff wasn’t able to avoid the specific danger of the situation.
  • The defendant recognised the dangerous situation ahead and had a duty to avoid it.
  • The defendant did not avoid the danger despite having a chance to do so.
  • The plaintiff was injured as a result.

These cases can be quite difficult to prove, but upon doing so, the plaintiff may be in a position that benefits them.

The Rule Used in Negligence Cases

In contributory negligence cases that result in personal injury claims in Denver, the last clear chance rule can make the case incredibly difficult for the plaintiff. However, establishing clear responsibility for an accident when both parties committed negligent acts can also be difficult for courts.

The best possible outcome associated with these cases comes from working with an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal professionals who are experienced with the last clear chance rule are far more equipped to navigate the complexity of these cases than many other lawyers.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and you feel that establishing fault will be difficult due to the last clear chance rule, contact the Boyle Law Firm. We’re one of the top personal injury law firms in Colorado, and our team will work with you through every step of the legal process, even if the case is going to be challenging.