IN THE LEGISLATIVE CLAIMS COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
MARTHA H. SETTERSTROM
WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
DIVISION OF HGHWAYS
Claimant appeared pro se.
Chad M. Cardinal, 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 January 24, 2020.
The Claimant testified at the hearing that on June 9, 2019, she was driving her 2012 Volkswagen Passat on MacCorkle Avenue in Spring Hill, Kanawha County, when her vehicle struck a large cut out square in the roadway. There were no cones or warning signs; nor was there any type of metal plate or other covering over the cutout. The Claimant testified that a short while after the incident, the low tire pressure light activated and she noticed a bubble on the sidewall of the front passenger tire. She discovered that the belts in her tire were broken and she had to replace the tire. The Claimant submitted an estimate for repairs in the amount of $140.17; her collision insurance required a deductible of $1,000.00.
The Respondent disputed the validity of the claim in its pleadings and at the hearing. The Respondent’s witness investigated the claim and testified that the cut-out area was a result of utility work in the area. Utilities have a standing permit with the Division of Highways to make necessary repairs to their systems and are not required to notify the Respondent for small repairs, such as leaks. Utilities are required under the permit to restore the condition of the driving surface once the repairs have been completed.
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 MacCorkle Avenue in Spring Hill, Kanawha 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 $140.17 in this claim.
Award of $140.17.