OPINION ISSUED JULY 13, 1999
LARRY T. BRAGG
DIVISION OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared pro se.
Andrew F. Tarr, Attorney at Law, for the respondent.
REPORTS STATE COURT OF CLAIMS[W.Va.
The claimant brought this action for damage to his motorcycle
which occurred when he encountered a large hole in the pavement of
W. Va. Route 21/33 (also known as Barrington Hill Road) in Oak
Hill, Fayette County. This is a residential area and the road
basically serves the residents there.
This incident occurred on July 26, 1997, at approximately 5:30
a.m. It was dark, but the weather was clear. The claimant was
proceeding from his home in Oak Hill to Dunbar, W.Va., where he was
attending school. He described the road as a two-lane, blacktopped
road which is straight at the scene of the incident but on a hill.
He was going downhill at approximately 15 to 20 miles per hour when
he saw a large hole at the bottom of the hill. He was unable to
avoid striking the hole with his Yamaha motorcycle. He described
the hole as being over a foot in diameter and six to eight inches
deep. He was familiar with the road, but he had not noticed hole
prior to this particular morning. The motorcycle sustained damage
to a wheel and a tire in the amount of $567.52 which includes the
cost of mounting and balancing the tire.
The respondent offered no witnesses on its behalf.
The Court, having reviewed the facts in this claim, has
determined that the respondent had to have had at least
constructive notice of the hole on County Route 21/33 based upon
its size as described by the claimant. Therefore, the Court is of
the opinion that respondent was negligent in its maintenance of
this road as of the date of claimant's accident, and the Court
makes an award to the claimant for the damages to his motorcycle in
the sum of $567.52.
Award of $567.52.