OPINION ISSUED MAY 23, 1986
SHELBY B. MELVIN
BOARD OF REGENTS
Randall L. Veneri, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Robert D. Pollitt and John Polak, Assistant Attorneys General, for
Claimant, in her capacity as Chairman of the Business Education
Department at Watoga High
School, was attending a competition for Future Business Leaders of
America on April 24, 1982.
She had accompanied a number of students to West Virginia Tech in
competition was a single-day function, and claimant was compensated
her attendance in her
capacity as a grader for a Shorthand II Competition. According to
testimony of claimant, it
was a sunny day and normal sediment only covered the sidewalk. At
approximately 1:00 p.m.,
claimant, accompanied by four students, travelled upon a sidewalk
campus from the student
center where they had eaten lunch to another area of the campus.
Moye was walking
with Lisa Corner approximately five feet in front of claimant.
Akers was walking behind
those two, and Michelle Akel was walking across from claimant on
lower side of the
sidewalk. Claimant fell and fractured her left ankle. Claimant
that this section of the
walkway was improperly maintained and is therefore unsafe. She
damages in the amount
of $100,000.00 for pain and suffering.
The testimony revealed that claimant incurred medical expenses as
result of this accident.
She did not have to expend any money for these bills. Claimant's
insurance carrier covered her
medical costs. Worker's Compensation reimbursed claimant's
carrier. In addition,
claimant received temporary total disability benefits and a 2%
partial disability award
from Worker's Compensation.
Claimant testified that the two sections of sidewalk were of
levels, and this fact caused
her fall. There was a space between two sections of sidewalk.
was walking on the right
side or higher level of the sidewalk parallel to the space between
two sections of the
sidewalk. It was estimated that one section of the sidewalk was
approximately one inch higher
than the other section.
The Court finds that respondent failed to maintain the sidewalk in
proper manner. However,
it appears that the claimant herself was negligent in failing to
maintain an adequate lookout upon
the sidewalk where she was walking. Under the doctrine of
negligence, the Court is
of the opinion that the negligence of the claimant was equal to or
greater than the respondent's
and disallows claim.