OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 5, 1993
JEFFREY L. WHITE
DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant present in person.
James D. Terry, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
Claimant, Jeffery L. White, seeks an award from the Division of Highways for damage to his motor
vehicle incurred in a one-car accident which took place on May 12, 1991, on Tom's Run Road, also
designated West Virginia Route 5, in Monogalia County, near the city of Morgantown.
From the evidence adduced at the hearing on October 14, 1992, it appears that claimant's wife, Linda
White, was operating the claimant's vehicle, a 1981 Buick Regal, on Tom's Run Road and drove off
the side of the road, causing damage was $422.50.
For the claimant, Linda White testified that she was driving home on Tom's Run Road, traveling at
a speed of approximately ten miles per hour, when a red pick-up truck met her vehicle in the road.
She testified that the road was too narrow for two cars to pass at the same time so she pulled over
to the side of the road in order to let the truck to pass, and claimant's vehicle then dropped off the
berm of the road into a rut at the edge of the road approximately eight to twelve inches deep causing
damage to the transmission of the vehicle. Mrs. White stated that she travels this road quite often
going to and from her home, and that the road has been in this dangerous condition for at least two
Also for the claimant, Debra Lynn Hartman, sister of Mrs. White, testified that she is familiar with
the scene of the accident, and that the road is very narrow and, if a person meets another vehicle in
the road, one of the drivers must stop his/her vehicle because the vehicle will receive damages if it
drops off the edge of the road due to the condition of the berm.
The Court finds, as a matter of fact, that the claimant was familiar with the defective condition of
the road prior to the date of the accident; that the respondent was negligent in failing to correct the
long-standing hazardous condition of the road; but that the negligence of the claimant was equal to
or greater than that of the respondent. Therefore, the Court is of the opinion to and does deny the
claim under the doctrine of comparative negligence.