Truck Insurance Exchange v. Michling case brief summary
364 S.W.2d 172 (1963)
Petitioner employer appealed a judgment
from the Court of Civil Appeals from Atascosa County, Eleventh
District (Texas), which affirmed the judgment of the trial court
awarding death benefits provided by the Texas Workmen's Compensation
Act to respondent wife and other statutory beneficiaries.
CASE FACTS Respondents wife and other statutory
beneficiaries sought to introduce the wife's testimony in an action
for workmen's compensation death benefits after her husband died.
Respondent wife's testimony was to the effect that her husband had
told her that his head hurt him terribly and that he had hit his head
on the bulldozer while at work. He died a few weeks later. The
testimony was offered to prove the injury was work-related. The trial
court awarded benefits to respondents, the court of appeals affirmed,
and petitioner employer appealed the judgment.
On appeal, the court
reasoned that, to come within the res gestae exception to the hearsay
rule, the statement must have been made as a result of some startling
occurrence which rendered the utterance spontaneous and unreflecting.
The court noted that the startling occurrence itself cannot be proven
by the statement alone.
Respondent wife's testimony of the
conversation with her husband, however, was the only evidence of the
alleged work-related accident.
Without independent proof of the
occurrence, the court held that the statement was inadmissible.
judgment was reversed and rendered in favor of
CONCLUSION The judgment of the appellate court for
respondent wife and other statutory beneficiaries was reversed, and
judgment was rendered in favor of petitioner employer. The court
found that the only evidence of the alleged work-related accident,
respondent wife's statements of a conversation with her deceased
husband, was inadmissible under the res gestae exception to the
hearsay rule absent independent proof of the accident.
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