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St. Mary's Law Journal

Publisher

St. Mary's University School of Law

Abstract

The Texas Workmen’s Compensation Act works to protect employees against the risk or hazard of performing their job and compensates that employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment. In 1957, after an increasing number of travel-oriented injuries involving scope of employment, the legislature amended the Act to limit judicial interpretation. This amendment added subsection b to section 1 of article 8309 to clarify the rules created from recent caselaw. Section 1b reconciled and enumerated four exceptions to the common law rule that an injury which occurs during the use of public streets or highways while traveling to and from the place of employment is non-compensable. Section 1b provides guidelines for courts to follow by creating two rules for courts to follow when deciding cases involving scope of employment questions for travel related injuries: the going and coming rule and the dual-purpose rule. Under the coming and going rule, an employee acts within the course and scope of their employment if an injury occurs while traveling for the sole purpose of advancing the business of the employer. The dual-purpose rule provides that an employee may have a basis for a claim if an injury occurs during travel that is in furtherance of business affairs that also involves some personal or private affairs of the employee, subject to strict limitations. However, despite these amendments, recent cases involving travel-related injuries illustrate the uncertainty among the courts in this vast area of the law and the difficulty courts have in applying the amendments consistently.

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