Question: If two people are involved in a car accident in the State of Illinois, but both parties live in the State of Indiana which state’s law would govern the car accident?
Answer: Usually, law of the state where the collision occurred. The Indiana Supreme Court established an analysis for addressing choice-of-law questions. In tort cases, Indiana choice-of-law analysis now involves multiple inquiries. As a preliminary matter, the court must determine whether the differences between the laws of the states are ‘important enough to affect the outcome of the litigation. Here, the parties agree that there are substantial differences between Indiana and Illinois law. If such a conflict exists, the presumption is that the traditional lex loci delicti rule (the place of the wrong) will apply. Under this rule, the court applies the substantive laws of the the state where the last event necessary to make an actor liable for the alleged wrong takes place. This presumption is not conclusive, however. It may be overcome if the court is persuaded that “the place of the tort ‘bears little connection’ to this legal action. “People do not take the laws of their home state with them when they travel but are subject to the laws of the state in which they act.” Indiana law unquestionably applies to determine liability in this case. To apply another state’s laws to the issue of damages would require us to engage in depecage, which we cannot do.