OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 5, 1993
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST VIRGINIA
Claimant represent selves.
John E. Shank, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent.
Claimant brought this action to recover medical expenses for his son who was injured on a fence
owned by West Virginia University, a facility of the respondent. On May 24, 1991, claimant's infant
son was playing in fenced area at the apartment complex in which claimant resided with his family.
Claimant's son was going for a walk with his grandmother when he approached a split rail fence
which separated the apartment complex from a parking area. The fence was in deteriorated condition
and claimant's son got a splinter in his hand when he put his
hand upon the fence. Claimant incurred medical expenses in the amount of $799.50 for medical
treatment and hospitalization of his son as a result of an infection in the child's hand.
Claimant contends that respondent was negligent in its maintenance of a structure in an area where
it was known that children living in an apartment complex played. There was a sign indicating
"Caution Children Play" for the area. The respondent knew or should have known that children
played near this fence.
Respondent contends that a split rail fence by its nature has splinters and that respondent makes the
necessary repairs to the fence as it deteriorates.
The Court is of the opinion that the respondent, having placed a split rail fence around an apartment
complex intended for families of resident students, should have maintained the fence in a more
diligent manner. It was known to respondent that children would be playing near the fence and that
the fence was of such a nature so as to pose a danger to them.
Accordingly, the Court makes an award to claimant for the medical expenses which he incurred on
behalf of his son in the amount of $799.50.
Award of $799.50.