What law is followed in New Mexico if an accident happens in New Mexico?

Most states follow the rule that the state with the most significant relationship is the law that applies. However, New Mexico follows the rule that no matter how significant the contacts if a personal injury accident happens in New Mexico, New Mexico law will apply.

In determining which jurisdiction’s law should apply to a tort action, New Mexico courts follow the doctrine of lex loci delicti commissi — that is, the substantive rights of the parties are governed by the law of the place where the wrong occurred.” Terrazas v. Garland Loman, 140 N.M. 293, 296 (N.M. Ct. App. 2006); Carrillo v. Cent. Trucking, Inc., No. 1:19-cv-00863-MV-LF at page 5 (D.N.M. May 4, 2020). “New Mexico’s traditional lex loci delicti approach does not require — indeed, does not permit — a case-by-case policy analysis”. Leflar et al., supra, §§ 86-87 (discussing the theory underlying the First Restatement of Torts, vested rights approach to choice-of-law). New Mexico courts have steadfastly applied the lex loci delicti rule in tort cases even when the connection between the lawsuit and New Mexico was largely fortuitous.

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