OPINION ISSUED OCTOBER 15, 1990
JOE O. BALDWIN AND ELAINE BALDWIN
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in their own behalf.
James D. Terry, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimant brought this action to recover damages to their 1985 Lincoln Town Car which occurred
when the automobile struck a hole on U.S. 52 near Steptown in Wayne County. This incident
occurred on November 3, 199, when claimant Elaine Baldwin was operating the automobile. She had
been to a doctor's office in Huntington and she was proceeding home to Matewan, West Virginia,
when her automobile struck a razor edge hole in the break of the pavement. The two right tires were
damaged, including the wheels and rims for a total amount of $779.20 in damages. Claimant
received compensation from her insurance company for these damages less the deductible of
Claimant Mrs. Baldwin described the hole as being approximately three feet in length and "deep".
The hole was located on the right side of the southbound lane "within the road limit." After the
automobile struck the hole, claimant stopped her automobile and waited for assistance. Her daughter
and grandson were passengers. No one was hurt in the incident.
Respondent's assistant maintenance engineer for District 2, Earl David BlevinsVS, testified that U.S.
Route 52 is a heavily traveled coal haul road. Respondent's employees constantly repair holes on this
road with hot mix, but the patch material comes out almost as fast as it is placed. He explained that
the "heavy loads definitely contribute and any flaw in the structural integrity of the roadway base
under the hot mix moisture infiltrating that base." Holes in the payment are a regular ongoing
problem for this highway.
The Court, having reviewed the evidence in this claim, is of the opinion that respondent had
constructive notice of the hazard on the highway. This particular hole was large and was in the
traveled portion of the highway. Respondent's employees are aware that the highway has a propensity
to develop holes in the pavement. Respondent has a duty to maintain the highways with known
traffic problems more carefully. Therefore, the Court has determined that claimants are entitled to
Claimant received compensation for their damages from their insurance, less their deductible of
$200.00. Therefore, the Court makes an award in the amount of $200.00.
Award of $200.00.