OPINION ISSUED APRIL 2, 1992
WILLIAM L. HARDING
DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in his own behalf.
James D. Terry, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On August 7, 1991, the claimant was traveling west on his 1983 Honda CB1000F motorcycle on
Route 40, also known as National Road, in Wheeling, Ohio County. As he passed the Edgington
Lane and Route 40 intersection in the passing lane, his claimant was able to maintain control of the
motorcycle, but it was damaged as it struck the hole. An estimate was provided by the claimant for
repair and replacement of the front fork assemblies and the front brakes in the amount of $1,063.86.
An accident report was filed with the Wheeling Police Department. The claimant did not have
collision or comprehensive insurance.
The claimant testified that the hole in the road surface was five inches deep, five to six feet wide,
and three to four feet in length. He more precisely described the hole as a dip where water or
respondent's activities causes the ground and the asphalt to sink. The claimant was not aware of the
existence of the road defect and there were no warning signs or barricades to alert motorists of the
The respondent denied negligence in this matter. However, the respondent's witness, Joseph Louis
Reed, the Ohio County Superintendent for road maintenance, testified that his office had prior notice
of the road surface defect. Mr. Reed informed the Court that the dip in the road was the result of the
City of Wheeling cutting a sewer line across the road, thereby causing a sinking area of
two-and-a-half to three inches in the road surface. Mr. Reed further testified that he had personally
observed the dip after receiving a complaint from the owner of the Marathon gas station. The
Marathon station is located beside the defect in the road. The complaint was made prior to the
accident, as was Mr. Reed's inspection.
The Assistant County Superintendent for Ohio County, Thomas Arlow Sims, similarly testified that
he too had observed the dip in the road on or about August 5, 1991, some two days prior to
claimant's accident on August 7, 1991. Repairs were not attempted until August 10, 1991, at which
time the dip was described as having become much deeper.
In view of the foregoing, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
There existed a hazard to the traveling public upon the road surface, more specifically described and
situated in the are of 1123 National Road, Wheeling, Ohio County. The hazard was an unprotected
and exposed sinking area in the road of a depth of three to five inches. Respondent had both
constructive and actual knowledge of this hazard prior to the accident. Respondent had adequate time to attempt temporary repairs and/or to warn motorists of the hazard, and, having failed timely to take
corrective action, respondent is negligent. This negligence caused the claimant's described damages.
Accordingly, the Court makes an award to the claimant in the amount of $1,063.86.
Award of $1,063.86.