In Crane Collapse Accident Covered by Vehicle Insurance Policy

In Travelers Ins. Co. v. Employers Cas. Co., 380 S.W.2d 610 (Tex. 1964) three employees of a general contractor were killed in a construction accident, when a crane owned and operated by Borders Steel Erection Co. collapsed as it was being used to transport ready-mix concrete from a truck owned by Capital Aggregates, Inc. to the concrete forms of the general contractor. See id. at 611. The issue was whether Borders was covered by Capital's automobile liability policy. Expressly included in the policy's definition of "use" of an automobile was "the loading and unloading thereof." See 380 S.W.2d at 612. The court adopted the meaning of loading and unloading as "'embracing, not only the immediate transference of the goods to or from the vehicle, but the 'complete operation' of transporting goods between the vehicle and the place from or to which they are being delivered.'" Id. (quoting Wagman v. American Fid. & Cas. Co., 304 N.Y. 490, 109 N.E.2d 592 (1952)). The issue was not who owned or controlled the concrete, but instead, was whether Borders was unloading the truck and, thereby, using it while the bucket full of concrete was being moved from the truck to the contractor's forms. See 380 S.W.2d at 614. The court, finding that the accident was the result of the collapse of the crane, which was transporting concrete from the truck to the forms and the injuries arose from the use or unloading of the truck, held that Borders was entitled to the protection afforded by the policy covering the truck. See id.