The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia are 3 of 5 states in the United States that still apply the doctrine of “contributory negligence.” Under this legal doctrine, even if you are hurt by a wrongdoer’s negligence in an accident, you cannot win your lawsuit if you were also partially at fault.
However, each of these jurisdictions also has an exception to contributory negligence, which is called the “last clear chance” doctrine. The doctrine is slightly different in each of these jurisdictions. But the gist of the last clear chance doctrine is that when a person is hurt by the negligence of a wrongdoer, and the victim was also partially at fault, the victim can still win his/ her lawsuit if, just before the victim was hurt, the victim was unable to save himself / herself; and the wrongdoer knew that he / she was about to injure the victim, could have still avoided the accident, but failed to do so. The last clear chance doctrine is supposed to ensure that in cases of inexcusable negligence, the victim can win a lawsuit even if he / she was slightly at fault.
Applying the doctrine of last clear chance to the facts of a specific case requires an intricate knowledge of the law, and a willingness to carefully explore and examine all details involved in an accident. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our car accident lawyers have helped numerous victims protect their right to compensation following car wrecks throughout the Washington, DC metro area. We are always available to help you learn more about your rights and the compensation you may be able to recover for your damages, including medical bills, lost work wages, pain and suffering, and more.
To learn more about the personal injury claim process when you have been injured by someone else’s negligence but are being accused of contributing to the accident, contact us for a free consultation.