Emergency Doctrine

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The common-law emergency doctrine, also called the imminent-peril doctrine; sudden-emergency doctrine; sudden-peril doctrine; sudden-peril rule, is a legal principle excusing a person from the ordinary standard of reasonable care if he or she is confronted with an emergency situation that leaves little or no time for thought, deliberation, or consideration. The actor may be excused of negligence if he or she was not the cause of the emergency and if his or her actions were reasonable and prudent in the emergency context. Generally, the questions of the existence of an emergency and the reasonableness of the actor’s actions are for the trier of fact

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]