Texas Compensation Ins. Co. v. Matthews

Decision Date24 September 1974
Docket NumberNo. B--4438,B--4438
Citation519 S.W.2d 630
PartiesTEXAS COMPENSATION INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Ester G. MATTHEWS, Respondent.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

A. Don Emory, Jr., Strasburger, Price, Kelton, Martin & Unis, Royal H. Brin, Jr., Dallas, for petitioner.

Hochberg, Yuill, Bernstein & Skor, Lawrence Paul Hochberg, Dallas, for respondent.

GREENHILL, Chief Justice.

In this workmen's compensation case, the only question is whether the injuries of the plaintiff were sustained in the course of her employment. Trial was to the court without a jury upon an agreed statement of facts. Judgment was for the plaintiff. The Court of Civil Appeals sitting in Dallas affirmed, one justice dissenting. 504 S.W.2d 545. We agree with the views of the dissenting justice; and accordingly we reverse.

The facts of the case are fully and fairly set out in the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals; and the authorities are ably and fairly set out in the majority and in the dissenting opinions. Reference is here made to those writings. Our opinion, therefore, need not be repetitious.

The plaintiff, Ester Matthews, was injured when she fell in a public street while going to work. She has two claims, here combined. She fell (1) when she stepped off the curb onto some debris, and (2) some time later when she slipped on some grease in the middle of the street. The street runs in front of her employer's premises.

As described in the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals, the plaintiff's contention is that she was required to use this particular route in getting to work because of a construction barrier placed adjacent to her employer's building by an independent contractor of her employer. Other members of the public using the sidewalk were also required to cross the street at this point; and the plaintiff was injured within the white cross-walk markers placed in the street by the city for members of the general public as well as the plaintiff and her fellow employees. The plaintiff was not required to use this particular route to reach her work.

The general rule, and it is a well settled rule, is that the benefits of the workmen's compensation statute do not apply to injuries received going to and from work. Texas General Indemnity Co. v. Bottom, 365 S.W.2d 350 (Tex.1963); Shelton v. Standard Ins. Co., 389 S.W.2d 290 (Tex.1965); Viney v. Casualty Reciprocal Exchange, 82 S.W.2d 1088 (Tex.Civ.App.1935, writ refused); Dishman v. Texas Employers' Ins. Ass'n, 440 S.W.2d 727 (Tex.Civ.App.1969, writ refused n.r.e.). An exception to this rule is made in cases which have formed the 'access doctrine,'--cases in which the employer has evidenced an intention that the particular access route or area be used by the employee in going to and from work, and where such access route or area is so closely related to the employer's premises as to be fairly treated as a part of the premises. Lumberman's Reciprocal Ass'n. v. Behnken, 112 Tex. 103, 246 S.W. 72 (1922); Kelty v. Travelers Ins. Co., 391 S.W.2d 558 (Tex.Civ.App.1965, writ ref'd. n.r.e.).

The Behnken opinion, our leading case on the 'access doctrine' exception discusses and distinguishes American Indemnity Co. v. Dinkins, 211 S.W. 949 (Tex.Civ.App.1919, writ refused). The Behnken opinion points out that in Dinkins, 'Dinkins' right to use the street was not derived from his employment (as it was in Behnken). The injury occurred at a place provided by the city for public use, and not at a place furnished by Dinkins' employer, as a special mode of...

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18 cases
  • Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Rodriguez
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • November 24, 1982
    ...as to be in practical effect a part of her employer's premises. Standard places principal reliance upon Texas Compensation Insurance Co. v. Matthews, 519 S.W.2d 630 (Tex.1974), as does We are directed to the following language found in Matthews: ... Cases in which the employer has evidenced......
  • U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v. Deering Management Group, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • August 13, 1996
    ... ... Civil Action No. 3:94-CV-1760-P ... United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division ... August 13, 1996 ... Page 1272 ... COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED ... first determine whether the access doctrine applies in cases not involving worker's compensation insurance ...         While the general rule is that employees injured while going to or ... Co. v. Matthews, 519 S.W.2d 630, 631 (Tex.1974), in workers' compensation cases, Texas law does recognize an ... ...
  • City of Corpus Christi v. Muller
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • June 6, 2019
  • In re Rudolph Auto., LLC
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • December 30, 2020
    ...is so closely related to the employer's premises as to be fairly treated as part of the premises. See Tex. Comp. Ins. Co. v. Matthews , 519 S.W.2d 630, 631 (Tex. 1974) ; see also Nabors Drilling, U.S.A., Inc. v. Escoto , 288 S.W.3d 401, 404-05 (Tex. 2009) ("An employer ordinarily will not b......
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