J. Michael Anderson, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


On August 29, 1984, claimant was operating an automobile, titled in his
father's name, on
State Route 92 at Callison Curve, Greenbrier County. He was travelling
in the northbound lane.
His vehicle apparently struck gravel, whereupon he lost control, and the
vehicle crossed the
southbound lane and proceeded over a hill and dropped approximately 50
feet into a field.
Claimant seeks $55,000.00 for damage to the vehicle, lost wages, and
pain and suffering.

Claimant alleges that the site of the accident was not identified by
signs or other warning
devises, that there was no guardrail, and that respondent's failure to
maintain the same
constitutes negligence. Respondent contends that the proximate cause of
the accident was
claimant's negligence and that the erection of guardrails is
discretionary rather than mandatory.

Claimant testified that it was foggy and dark when he left his home in
Lewisburg, at about 4:45
a.m., to travel to Vepco in Bath County, Virginia. He was an employee of
Allis-Chalmers. He
admitted that he was familiar with this route as he had been travelling
it to work for four and
one-half months. He estimated his speed to be 25 to 30 miles per hour at
the time of the
accident. Although the vehicle was titled in his father's name, claimant
had possession of the
vehicle and drove it daily. At the time of this incident, he was unaware
of any defects in the
automobile. He was 20 to 21 miles from his home when the accident
occurred. He was in the
right-hand, northbound travel lane when he heard the gravel. He
remembers only the sound of
the gravel, and no other specific details of the accident. He stated,
"... since it was light fog, I
could probably see a couple of car lengths or so ahead of me."

Ira Young, who lives about twelve miles up Route 92 beyond Alvon, in
Greenbrier County,
testified regarding the accident site. He stated that he formerly drove
a school bus for 28 years.
He experienced sliding at the curve, and, in fact, testified, "Well,
when you're going north and go
around the curve, it elevates to just throw you over the hill. I've been
going south on that curve
on that side and there's been wrecks there and you have to stop and like
ice on the road, your
school bus will just slip right over just setting still. I've done that
lots of times." He indicated that
he had contacted respondent concerning the lack of guardrails in that
particular curve.

Claude Blake, an investigator for respondent, testified that he had no
personal knowledge as
to which signs were present at the site of the accident in August, 1984.
He agreed that the
guardrails currently in placed were not present at the time of the
accident, and he confirmed that
it is a 50-foot drop from the road to the field where the claimant and
the automobile came to

Two certified engineers with respondent agency testified that notice
had been given to
respondent. Charles Raymond Lewis, III, Planning and Research Engineer
for respondent,
stated that the respondent was aware that there had been accidents prior
to August 1984 at
Callison Curve which involved vehicles going over the embankment. The
respondent was also
aware that petitions had been filed and letters of complaint had been
written to the respondent
concerning the Callison Curve. Robert C. Ware, an engineer for
respondent in District 9, stated
that the respondent's office in Lewisburg was aware, prior to August,
1984, that complaints
were made concerning the safety of Callison Curve.

The Court finds that the particular facts of this claim establish
negligence on the part of the
respondent. Respondent failed to eliminate an unusual hazard which had
existed over a period of
years. This hazard caused injury and damages to persons and vehicles
lawfully using the
highway. This failure constitutes a moral obligation upon which this
claim should be allowed.
Spradling vs. State Road Comm'n., 5 Ct.Cl. 77 (1949). However, claimant,
by his own
testimony, was travelling at a rate of 25 to 30 miles per hour. In the
opinion of the Court, this
speed was too fast for the conditions then and there existing.
Therefore, the Court finds that
claimant was comparatively negligent. The Court will reduce the award to
claimant by ten per
cent to reflect this negligence.

Dorinda Fitzwater, claimant's wife, testified concerning claimant's
injuries. He spent 19 days in
the hospital. He missed four and one-half months of work. For the first
two months, he remained
completely bedfast, and was unable to do anything without assistance. He
was able to walk with
a walker when he became ambulatory. He then progressed from the walker
to the use of a cane.
His injuries included, among others, a pelvis broken in several places,
a collapsed lung, an injured
rib, and a ruptured bladder. He required a large number of stitches.
Therapy treatment assisted
him in learning to walk again.

Claimant testified that he was trained as an electrician, but he is no
longer able to pursue that
livelihood as he cannot carry the necessary tools. He is currently
employed as a foreman on
projects, but he pointed out that if a foreman's position is not
available, it is his opinion that he
would be unable to perform as an electrician. He is presently employed
as a construction
foreman. Claimant also testified that his recreational activities at
present are limited. He is unable
to romp and play with his two sons, nor is he able to hunt or pursue
other sports.

Claimant's evidence as to damages indicated medical expenses in the
amount of $22,476.58 of
which claimant is making a claim for $1,100.00. Claimant testified that
his work loss was in the
amount of $14,500.00. The Court is of the opinion that claimant's
damages are in the amount of
$35,600.00 which will be reduced by ten per cent for comparative
negligence. The Court,
therefore, makes an award to claimant in the amount of $32,040.00.

Award of $32,040.00.