Last-Clear-Chance Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Last-Clear-Chance Doctrine is a principle of tort law which allows a plaintiff who committed contributory acts of negligence to recover damages against a defendant who had the last opportunity in time to avoid the damage. The rule of last clear chance operates when the plaintiff negligently enters into an area of danger from which the person cannot extricate himself or herself. The defendant has the final opportunity to prevent the harm that the plaintiff otherwise will suffer. The doctrine was formulated to relieve the severity of the application of the contributory negligence rule against the plaintiff, which completely bars any recovery if the person was negligent. However this doctrine has very limited applicability in most states.