OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 12, 1986
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On February 19, 1986, between approximately 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.,
claimant's wife, Margaret
Lewis, was operating claimant's company car, a 1985 Celebrity, when
vehicle struck a
pothole. Claimant has an agreement with his employer, Turnpike
Chevrolet, that he is
responsible for damage to the company vehicle up to $500.00.
wife was travelling on
Kanawha Turnpike in South Charleston, West Virginia. She testified
the road is a two-lane
highway, and the road was very dark at the time of this incident.
was travelling at
approximately 30 - 35 miles per hour. The vehicle struck a pothole
approximately 3 112 - 4 feet long, 2 112 feet wide, and 6 - 8
deep. She was not aware
that the hole existed prior to the vehicle striking it. The hole
the left-hand side of her lane
of the road. The vehicle's left front tire struck the hole. The
was damaged in the amount
Claimant's wife was driving home, and she had her five-year-old
daughter in the car with her at
the time of this incident.
While the State does not insure the safety of travellers on its
highways, respondent does owe a
duty of reasonable care and diligence in the maintenance of the
highways. Although there was no
direct evidence that the respondent had actual notice of the
of this defect. The Court is
of the opinion that it did have constructive notice. The size of
pothole is indicative of its
presence for some time prior to the date of this incident. See
Dept. of Highways, 12
Ct.Cl. 259 (1979) and Miller v. Dept. of Highways, CC-84-71 (1985).
makes an award to the claimant in the amount of $364.52.
Award of $364.52.