OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 3, 1989
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY,
AS SUBROGEE OF PAMELA REID AND HOWARD REID
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
R. Gregory McDermott, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On April 3, 1986, claimant Howard Reid was operating his 1979
Sunbird on Cherry
Hill Road, Ohio County, when the vehicle struck a pothole.
seek $389.22 for the
damage to the vehicle which resulted from this incident.
Claimant Pamela L. Reid testified that she was a passenger in the
owned by her husband, Howard Reid, and herself. They were
Short Creek. Her husband was operating their vehicle. This incident
occurred at between 5:00
and 6:00 in the morning and there was daylight present at the time.
described the road as
being a very steep hill. He was proceeding up a steep incline in a
when the vehicle struck a
large hole in the road. She stated that her husband was unable to
the hole due to an
oncoming vehicle. The road had a large number of holes in it of
the claimants were aware.
When the vehicle struck the hole, it came to a stop in the hole. It
necessary for the vehicle to
be removed from the hole by a tow truck. The hole was estimated to
two feet wide and eight
inches deep. The hole was located on the right side of the right
and extended two feet into
the travel portion of the roadway.
Prior to the accident, claimant Howard Reid travelled this route
frequently. Claimant Pamela L.
Reid stated that she thought that they had observed this hole in
past. The road had several
holes. She testified that this particular hole had been previously
patched by respondent, but she
could not recall the date; the patching had been performed prior to
April 3, 1986, the date of
this incident. She also stated that neither she nor her husband had
respondent concerning the existence of this hole in the road.
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. 144 (1980); and Poole vs. Dept of Highways,
Ct.Cl. 65 (1983).
The record established that the claimant was familiar with the road
its condition, and
therefore was also negligent. For that reason, the Court reduces
recovery by ten per cent and
makes an award in the amount of $350.30.
Award of $350.30.