Discovered-Peril doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Discovered-peril doctrine is a legal principle under tort law. The rule states that a plaintiff who was contributorily negligent may recover from a defendant if the defendant had the last opportunity to prevent the harm but failed to use reasonable care to do so. The doctrine aids a plaintiff to rebut the contributory negligence defense in those few jurisdictions where contributory negligence bars recovery. It is also known as last clear chance doctrine, subsequent negligence doctrine or supervening negligence doctrine.

In Sparks v. Redinger, 44 Cal. 2d 121 (Cal. 1955), the court held that the last discovered-peril doctrine is a phase of the doctrine of proximate cause in its relation to the negligence of the injured party who seeks to invoke it. It is therefore entirely clear that last clear chance doctrine can have no possible application where it affirmatively appears that a party sought to be charged is not guilty of any negligence which proximately contributes to the happening of an accident.