Workers' Compensation

Texas: Status as Traveling Employee Works to Bar Wrongful Death Action

A Texas trial court appropriately found plaintiff’s wrongful death action barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act where the deceased employee suffered fatal injuries in a vehicle accident as he and others traveled to a job site. The appellate court initially acknowledged that an employee's travel to and from work generally does not originate in a Texas employer's business. Here, however, the vehicle in question was provided by the employer. The employer paid for fuel and the vehicle was driven by a company foreman. Citing SeaBright Ins. Co. v. Lopez, 465 S.W.3d 637 (Tex. 2015), the appellate court noted that the nature of the employer’s business required it to employ non-local work crews who had to travel to distant job sites on temporary assignments. The requirements of the jobs required that the employees arrive at the sites at approximately the same time. Those facts, coupled with the provision of the vehicle and the payment for travel-related expenses meant that such travel was within the course and scope of the employment. The travel to the site furthered the employer’s business. Workers’ compensation benefits had been paid; there could be no tort recovery.

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Pesqueda v. Martinez, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 11051 (Nov. 29, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 14.01.

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