Visitor Question

Personal Injury from Altercation Between 2 U.S. Citizens While in Mexico…

Submitted By: Jessie (San Jose, CA USA)

On a vacation trip in Mexico, my ex-friend and I got into a drunken altercation with each other. She was attempting to exit our vehicle while in motion; I held tightly onto her arm, as I was honestly scared for her life at the time. She was so adamant about exiting that she pried my fingers off of her arm. In doing so, she actually snapped my pinky finger back, breaking the bone and the tendon! She then exited the vehicle, went onto the airport alone, and returned to California, USA.

Upon my return to California, USA, I made a visit to my orthopedic doctor. The finger was so thoroughly damaged that I needed surgical repair. The first surgery is finished, with hardware implantation. A second surgery is needed in a few months to remove the hardware; in the meantime, I am in physical therapy 3x’s a week, and have been unsuccessful in trying to secure a job, as I am not 100% productive and my schedule is demanding with MD and PT appointments.

I don’t know if I should call the police and report this, or if I should go through the small claims division. I have one witness who was in the car with us, but he lives in Mexico. If I asked him to provide me with a written, notarized statement, he will. If I offer to pay for him to come and be present to speak as a witness, he will. What are my options? Thank you!

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jessie,

The facts you present omit one vital piece of information. That is the reason your friend wanted to get out of your car – and do so with such haste.

Without an understanding of why she wanted to get out of your car so quickly I can only postulate she wanted to do so because she was either in fear of her imminent bodily injury or death, was intoxicated, or that you and she had some form of an altercation, whether verbal or physical, which prompted her to want to remove herself from the vehicle with such speed and aggression.

If you persist in your efforts to sue your friend, you will have to do so where the injury took place in Mexico; otherwise you will have to file your lawsuit in one of the U.S. Federal Courts in the State of California, though you can be confident your case will not survive the court’s own motion to dismiss.

Your local police department has no jurisdiction over the incident, criminal or not. The State of California has no jurisdiction over the case as well. Small Claims Courts especially have no jurisdiction.

I’m afraid you may be “stuck” with your injuries, resultant medical costs, and other amounts such as out of pocket expenses like prescription and over the counter medications, lost wages and any additional amounts for the “pain and suffering” you have endured.

That is…unless you want to return to Mexico to pursue the case, which I doubt will be very fruitful.

Learn more here: Claims for Physical Fight Injuries

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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