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How Maryland’s last clear chance doctrine allows you to file a lawsuit

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Auto Accidents |

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents, Maryland can be strict about who can sue. Certain rules can block a driver from suing the other, no matter how severe their injuries and damages to their automobile are.

Thanks to contributory negligence rules, even if you were just 1% at fault for damages in an accident, you may be barred from filing a lawsuit.

However, there are exceptions to contributory negligence that allow you to sue another driver despite your fault level in the accident. One such exception is the last clear chance doctrine.

Last clear chance and proving the other driver’s negligence

While it observes strict contributory negligence rules, Maryland also has a last clear chance doctrine. For a last clear chance doctrine to apply in a lawsuit, the following elements must be present:

  • Negligence of the other driver: You must prove that the other driver is more at fault than you during the accident.
  • You are contributorily negligent: Conversely, you must also prove that your fault contributed to just a tiny part of the accident.
  • The other driver had enough opportunity to avoid the accident: Finally, you must show that the other driver could have avoided hitting you and had enough chances to do so – but still failed. Perhaps they had enough time to spot your vehicle from a distance, yet the collision still happened.

Essentially, you must show that the other driver had one last clear chance to avoid the accident that harmed you, even after considering your negligence and part in the collision.

Even if you can prove that the other driver missed their last opportunity to avoid a collision and that a court allowed your lawsuit to continue, you can’t expect the rest of the claim procedure to run as smoothly. The other driver might also continue to highlight your part in the accident and could take the dispute to court. If this happens, you should consider retaining the services of an attorney. An attorney can ensure your rights are represented.

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