Workers' Compensation

Texas: Family of Deceased Worker Fails to Maintain Gross Negligence Action Against Employer

Construing the special exception to the Texas version of the exclusive remedy rule—that the survivors of an employee may maintain a wrongful death action against the employer if the employee's death was caused by an intentional act or omission of the employer or by the employer's gross negligence, a Texas appellate court affirmed a trial court’s order granting summary judgment to an employer following the deceased employee’s heat related death. The court acknowledged that there was ample evidence that the working conditions on the date of the employee’s death were difficult and hot, that he exhibited signs of heat exhaustion at the work site, and that he died a short time after arriving home after a three-hour commute home. The court noted, however, that the employer’s representatives took extra care with regard to the employee (allowing rest in an air-conditioned vehicle, with a provision of water), asked if they could take him to a hospital on several occasions—which he declined—and purchased Gatorade and a banana for the employee as he was being driven home. There was no showing of gross negligence on the part of the employer.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Niño v. Primoris Energy Servs. Corp., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5757 (July 10, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 105.05.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see