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West Virginia Court of Claims

Volume Number: 29
Opinion Issued September 15, 2011
     Claimant appeared pro se.
     Michael J. Folio, Attorney at Law, for Respondent.
      Claimant brought this action for vehicle damage which occurred when her 2008 Suzuki SX4 all-wheel drive struck a hole on WV Route 3 near Dameron, Raleigh County. Respondent stipulated to liability in this claim; therefore, the only issue this Court shall address is the issue of damages.
      The incident giving rise to this claim occurred at approximately 7:15 p.m. on May 7, 2010. While driving her vehicle on Route 3, the Claimant encountered a large hole, approximately six feet wide, that she was unable to avoid. The right side of Claimant’s car struck the hole, resulting in damage to the alignment, two tires and one rim in the initial amount of $300.27. However, Claimant testified that after making the aforementioned repairs her vehicle continued shake whenever she pressed the brake. Claimant attempted to correct the problem by having her tires rotated and balanced numerous times. Ten months after the incident, Claimant took her vehicle to have the air conditioner checked, at which time it was discovered that she needed to have the tie-rod and bushing replaced in the amount of $377.08. Claimant testified that this repair resolved her vehicle’s problem immediately. Thus, it is Claimant’s position that the incident resulted in vehicle damages totaling $677.35. Since Claimant’s insurance declaration sheet indicates that her collision deductible is $500.00, Claimant’s recovery is limited to that amount.
      It is Respondent’s position that it should not be held liable for repairs to the tie-rod and bushing, because the ten month time frame between the incident and the repair suggests that the later-in-time repair was unrelated to Claimant’s incident.
      The evidence adduced at hearing established that the damage to Claimant’s vehicle’s tie-rod and bushings were more than likely a result of the incident. Thus, the Court is of the opinion that claimant is entitled to the price of two tires, one rim, a wheel alignment, and the tie-rod and bushing replacement.
      In view of the foregoing, it is the opinion of the Court of Claims that the Claimant should be awarded the sum of $500.00.
      Award of $500.00.

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