IN THE LEGISLATIVE CLAIMS COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
CLARA RUTH ALLEN
WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
DIVISION OF HGHWAYS
Claimant appeared pro se.
Keith A. Cox, Attorney at Law, for the Respondent.
The Claimant brought this action alleging that the negligence of the Respondent was the cause of damage sustained to her vehicle.
The Claimant and the Respondent, through its counsel, appeared for a hearing before the Legislative Claims Commission on September 12, 2019.
The Claimant testified that she was driving her 2006 Subaru Impreza on Brookhaven Road in Morgantown, Monongalia County on March 17, 2019 when she noticed a very large pothole in her lane of travel. She tried to avoid the pothole by straddling it with her vehicle. However, the pothole was too large and her vehicle struck the pothole. She testified that because the pothole was full of water, she was unable to see the pothole in the dark, rainy weather. She testified that when her vehicle struck the pothole, the pothole was deep enough that her vehicle essentially dropped into the pothole. As she was trying to get her vehicle out of the pothole, the front end of her vehicle struck the interior edges of the pothole causing damage. The Claimant submitted invoices in the amount of $1,578.19; she did not carry collision insurance on her vehicle.
The Claimant’s mechanic, Brandon England, also testified at the hearing. The Claimant is a regular customer and brings her vehicle in for routine maintenance on a regular basis. He testified that the damage on the Claimant’s vehicle was consistent with that from a front end collision. He was advised that the Claimant’s vehicle struck a pothole. He further testified that the bumper on the Claimant’s vehicle was “pretty flimsy” before her incident. Once the bumper is damaged, other damage will follow because the impact pushes up the radiator, hood and other parts under the hood.
The Respondent denied the validity of the claim in its pleadings and at the hearing.
After duly considering the facts, the testimony and the exhibits submitted in this claim, the Legislative Claims Commission hereby finds that the Respondent, Division of Highways, was negligent in its maintenance of Brookhaven Road in Morgantown, Monongalia County, on the date of this incident and that the negligence of the Respondent was a proximate cause of the damages sustained by the Claimant.
In view of the foregoing, it is the recommendation and opinion of the Legislative Claims Commission that the Claimant should be awarded the sum of $1,104.73 in this claim.
Award of $1,104.73.