OPINION ISSUED JANUARY 18, 1988
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE
COMPANY, AS SUBROGEE OF VERNON MARCUM, JR.,
AND VERNON MARCUM, JR., INDIVIDUALLY
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Robert J. Louderback, Attorney at Law, for claimants.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On March 24, 1986, at approximately 6:45 a.m., claimant's insured
travelling easterly on
Interstate 64 in the vicinity of Kenova, Wayne County, when his
a 1985 Ford Ranger
truck, struck an expansion joint which was sticking up
the surface of the
highway. Claimant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
$1,611.25 for the
damage to the vehicle. Claimant Vernon Marcum, Jr. seeks $100.00 as
claim was initially filed incorrectly, and upon claimant's motion,
Court amended the style of
the claim to reflect its status as a subrogation action in part.
Claimant Vernon Marcum, Jr. testified that he had travelled this
particular route for
approximately eight years on a daily basis. The weather on the day
question was dry and
clear, and he was travelling at approximately 55 miles per hour.
vehicle approached the
bridge on Interstate 64 and encountered the expansion joint,
the damage occurred to
the vehicle. He stated that the joint would "pop up," and that at
two other vehicles had
difficulty with the expansion joint at the scene of his accident, in the
time span of approximately
30 minutes. He did not report the presence of the broken expansion
joint, although he had
observed it for approximately three weeks prior to this incident.
stated that his automobile
had been making a louder than usual noise when he drove over the
expansion joint for that
period of time.
Mr. Terry Hazelett, Welding Crew Foreman for respondent at the time
this incident, testified
that he was notified of a problem with an expansion joint on March
1986, at approximately
7:30 a.m. He and a crew then went to repair the expansion joint.
Mr. Wilson Braley, District 2 Bridge Engineer for respondent,
that he is familiar with
the particular expansion joint on this bridge. Prior to March 24,
he had not received any
complaints with regards to this particular expansion joint. He had
reason, prior to the date of
this incident, to believe that this joint would fail.
Interstate 64 is a heavily travelled, major highway. The evidence
this claim established that
the hazardous condition had existed for some time before this
See Davis Auto Parts
vs. Dept. of Highways, 12 Ct.Cl. 31 (1977). The Court finds that
was actual notice on
the part of the respondent, and hereby makes the following awards
Award of $1,611.25 to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Award of $100.00 to Vernon Marcum, Jr.