OPINION ISSUED MARCH 3, 1989
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimant brought this action to recover for damage to her
when it struck a hole.
She seeks $615.07 as compensation for the damages.
On or about June 12, 1988, claimant was travelling on the Dunbar
Bridge in Kanawha
County. It was approximately 9:15 a.m. She was on her way to church
was alone in her
vehicle, a 1982 Oldsmobile Omega, at the time of this incident. She
proceeding from Route
60 in St. Albans to Dunbar. The weather was clear. The surface of
bridge is blacktop, and
claimant's speed was approximately 35 miles per hour. She was
her vehicle in the
right-hand lane when her automobile encountered a hole on the
She did not see the hole
until her vehicle was upon it. The vehicle struck the hole with the
front tire. Claimant travels
this route three or four times a month. She was unaware how long
particular hole had been
She noticed some irregularity in her vehicle after the accident.
Approximately a month following
the incident, she took her vehicle to have it checked. At that
was estimated that the cost
of repair was $615.07, which is the amount she seeks.
Roger Lee Higginbotham, Supervisor for the North Charleston
for respondent, testified that the bridge is a State-maintained
on Route 25/47. He
checked his records from May 15, 1988, to June 15, 1988, to
any complaints had
been reported concerning the accident site, and whether any work
been done by the
respondent in that area. He determined that there was no record of
being done, nor was
there a record of complaints made regarding the area in question.
The law of West Virginia is well established that the State
insures nor guarantees the
safety of motorists on its highways. Adkins vs. Sims, 130 W. Va.
S.E.2d 81 (1947).
For the respondent to be found liable for damages caused by road
of this type, the
claimant must prove that the respondent had actual or constructive
notice of the defect and a
reasonable amount of time to take corrective action. Davis vs.
Highways, 12 Ct.Cl.
31 (1977); Hoskins vs. Dept. of Highways, 12 Ct.Cl. 60 (1977);
Highways, 13 Ct.Cl. 310, (1980). As there was no such evidence
presented, this claim must be