OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 12, 1986
DEBORAH D. PADGETT
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On September 24, 1985, at approximately 2:45 p.m., claimant was
operating her 1979
Mercury Cougar. She was leaving Mount View and proceeding north on
known as Virginia Avenue, when her vehicle struck a grate. The
loose and flipped up
against the vehicle. Claimant seeks $654.78 for damage to her
which resulted from this
The testimony of the claimant revealed that on the day on which
incident occurred, it was
dry and sunny. The highway in question is a two-lane highway, but
center line is not marked.
Claimant was travelling at about 15-20 miles per hour. The grate is
located on the right side of
the sidewalk. The grate is approximately 24 inches from the curb.
claimant was aware of
the presence of the grate as she had travelled this route prior to
incident. On this occasion,
though, the grate "flipped out." The right, rear quarter panel of
claimant's vehicle was damaged.
The Court has consistently held that the State is neither an
nor a guarantor of the safety
of persons travelling on its highways. Adkins v. Sims, 130 W.Va.
(1947). The evidence
reveals that the loose condition of the grate occurred suddenly. The
record reflects no notice
being given respondent of the condition of the grate prior to
incident. The Court,
therefore, perceives no negligence on the part of the respondent,
the claim must be denied.