OPINION ISSUED OCTOBER 12, 1988
JOHN M. PRATT
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On March 12, 1988, the claimant was operating his 1987 Nissan
direction on U.S. Route 119 in Clarksburg. His vehicle struck a
the highway, and he
seeks $258.86 for damage to the vehicle.
Claimant testified that on the day of the accident it was dry and
clear. There was considerable
traffic on the road, and he was travelling at approximately 25
hour. The incident
occurred at 8:00 in the evening. The hole was located in the right
of the road. He estimated
that the hole was between 10 and 14 inches deep. Claimant had
this route three weeks
prior to the incident and had not observed this hole. He is unaware
long it had been in
existence prior to his accident.
Ronald Cork, Harrison County Maintenance Superintendent for
concerning the hole. He stated that he received no complaints in
to three week period
prior to March 12, 1988. This hole was patched on March 7, 1988,
according to respondent's
records. He admitted that a hole that size could have been present
March 10, 1988. He
explained that a truck could have knocked a patch out of the hole.
This Court has repeatedly held that respondent is neither an
nor a guarantor of the
safety of travellers on its highways. However, the respondent does
a duty of using
reasonable care in the maintenance of its highways. In the case of
heavily travelled major
highway in this State, the Court has held respondent liable for
to repair a hole of this size,
as it could not have developed overnight. See: Lohan vs. Dept. of
Highways, 11 Ct.Cl. 39
(1975); Baker vs. Dept. of Highways, 11 Ct.Cl. 48 (1975); Stone vs.
Dept. of Highways, 12
Ct.Cl. 259 (1979); Bailey vs. Dept of Highways, 13 Ct.Cl. 144
Snodgrass vs. Dept.
of Highways, 13 Ct.Cl. 246 (1980); and Poole vs. Dept. of Highways,
Ct.Cl. 65 (1983).
The Court, therefore, makes an award to the claimant in the amount
Award of $258.86.