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Mexican Law and Personal Injury Cases

52 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2006  

Jorge A. Vargas

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: November 13, 2006


Every year, close to twenty million Americans visit Mexico as tourists. During their stay in Mexico, many die or suffer personal injuries as a result of tortious acts. Rather than litigating these cases in Mexico, most of these victims (their heirs or relatives) file wrongful death and personal injury cases in American courts. This article discusses the application of Mexican law to these U.S. cases using six hypothesis: 1) Drowning in Acapulco Bay; 2) Hotel bus accident in Baja California Sur; 3) Dive in Cancun resulting in quadraplegic injuries; 4) Kitchen boiler explodes in a timeshare in Durango; 5) Helicopter crashed in Ensenada: and 6) Doctor in Mexico City performs bypass operation to wrong patient ending his life.

From a Mexican law perspective, this article discusses contractual and extra-contractual liability aspects under the lex loci delicti principle that governs these cases under Mexican Civil Law. It also analyzes the application of Mexico's Federal Labor Law to these tortious acts with the injuries inflicted upon laborers in the working place, thus requiring the application of the specific labor incapacities established by the Federal Labor Act. The article provides six practical and common examples of wrongful death and personal injury cases hypothetically resolved under Mexican Law.

Keywords: Mexico, Tort Law, Personal Injuries, Wrongful Death in Mexico, Americans Injured Abroad (Mexico), American Tourists, Extra-Contractual Liability, Mexican Tort Law, Damages and Losses, Economic Indemnification, Mexican Civil Law and Tortious Acts

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K10

Suggested Citation

Vargas, Jorge A., Mexican Law and Personal Injury Cases (November 13, 2006). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-77. Available at SSRN: or

Jorge A. Vargas (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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