Bralley v. Daugherty

Decision Date12 March 1980
Docket NumberNo. 79-526,79-526
Citation61 Ohio St.2d 302,15 O.O.3d 359,401 N.E.2d 448
Parties, 15 O.O.3d 359 BRALLEY, Appellee, v. DAUGHERTY, Admr., et al., Appellants.
CourtOhio Supreme Court

On January 5, 1973, while en route to her place of employment, the appellee herein, Eunice A. Bralley, sustained injuries when the motor vehicle in which she was a passenger collided with a locomotive.

Her employer, the Larsan Manufacturing Company (hereinafter "Larsan") owns and operates the facility at which the appellee is employed. The plant is located in an industrial park located east of State Route 79 in Licking County. Sole access to the Larsan plant is gained by means of an asphalt road which is owned, maintained and controlled by the industrial park developer. The Larsan plant is located at the end of the road, a distance of approximately .8 of a mile from the road's intersection with Route 79. Although Larsan is vested with a non-exclusive easement of record over the road for purposes of ingress and egress, Larsan is not responsible for the road's maintenance, construction, repair, patrol, marking or inspection, nor does it contribute thereto. Workers employed at any of 15 facilities within the industrial park traverse over the road as do members of the general public. The road is patrolled by the local township police.

The employee's accident occurred at the intersection of the private road with a Penn Central Railroad spur or siding. The siding runs roughly parallel to Route 79 at the point of intersection with the private road. The crossing is situated approximately .4 of a mile from the highway and 1820 feet (over one-third of a mile), from the Larsan plant, and is marked by two white non-mechanical "cross-bar" railroad warning signs. The railroad siding runs in a southerly direction from the crossing and terminates at a facility owned by the Dow Chemical Company which is located within the industrial park. The Penn Central Railroad siding did not service the Larsan facility where the appellee was employed.

The Industrial Commission denied appellee's claim for benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. The employee appealed to the Court of Common Pleas pursuant to R.C. 4123.519, which found that she was entitled to participate in the Workers' Compensation Fund. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

The cause is now before this court upon allowance of a motion to certify the record.

Larrimer & Larrimer, Craig Aalyson and Kenneth M. Mortimer, Columbus, for appellee.

William J. Brown, Atty. Gen., and Solomon H. Basch, Columbus, for appellants Administrator and Industrial Commission.

Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, Thomas M. Taggart and Robert A. Minor, Columbus, for appellant Larsan Mfg. Co.


An injury sustained by an employee is compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act only if it was "received in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee's employment." R.C. 4123.01(C); R.C. 4123.54; Fassig v. State ex rel. Turner (1917), 95 Ohio St. 232, 116 N.E. 104.

The test of the right to participate in the Workers' Compensation Fund is not whether there was any fault or neglect on the part of the employer or his employees, but whether a "causal connection" existed between an employee's injury and his employment either through the activities, the conditions or the environment of the employment. Indus. Comm. v. Weigandt (1921), 102 Ohio St. 1, 130 N.E. 38; Indus. Comm. v. Gintert (1934), 128 Ohio St. 129, 190 N.E. 400; Fox v. Schiele (1955), 162 Ohio St. 569, 125 N.E.2d 1.

As a general rule, where an employee, having a fixed and limited place of employment, sustains an injury while traveling to and from his place of employment, such injury does not evidence the required causal connection to the employment; it therefore does not arise out of and in the course of his employment and is not compensable. Lohnes v. Young (1963), 175 Ohio St. 291, 194 N.E.2d 428; Simerlink v. Young (1961), 172 Ohio St 427, 178 N.E.2d 168; Indus. Comm. v. Gintert, supra; Indus. Comm. v. Baker (1933), 127 Ohio St. 345, 188 N.E. 560. An employee is no longer subject to strict application of this general rule once he reaches the premises of his employer. Injuries sustained while the employee is within this "zone of employment" may be compensable under the Act. Marlow v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (1967), 10 Ohio St.2d 18, 225 N.E.2d 241; Gregory v. Indus. Comm. (1935), 129 Ohio St. 365, 195 N.E. 699; Kasari v. Indus. Comm. (1932), 125 Ohio St. 410, 181 N.E. 809; 1 Larson, The Law of Workmen's Compensation 4-3, Section 15.11.

Compensability, however, is not in every instance limited to injuries sustained on the employer's premises. In Indus. Comm. v. Barber (1927), 117 Ohio St. 373, 159 N.E. 363, this court recognized that an employee could enter upon the course of his employment prior to entering the inclosure of his employer (injury sustained while employee was traveling the sole access route to his place of employment, that being a street under the employer's control, held compensable). In Indus. Comm. v. Henry (1932), 124 Ohio St. 616,...

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