Ohio couple sues WVDOT for car accident

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 29, 2014

CHARLESTON – An Ohio woman and her husband are suing the West Virginia Department of Transportation for injuries sustained in a car accident.

The West Virginia Division of Highways and Douglas Donohew, an employee of the WVDOT and WVDOH, were also named as defendants in the suit.

On May 10, Deborah Smith was severely and permanently injured in a wreck caused by Donohew when he negligently, carelessly and recklessly drove a slow-moving backhoe on a busy highway, causing a hazard to other motorists, according to a complaint filed Oct. 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Smith claims Donohew failed to exercise due care or consider the presence of other vehicles and turned the backhoe into her path as she proceeded to pass the backhoe.

Donohew failed to yield the right-of-way to Smith as she proceeded to pass him and failed to signal his intention or provide any warning that he intended to turn left into her lane, according to the suit.

Smith claims the defendants also failed to provide any signs or other warnings to alert her and other motorists of the hazards caused by the presence and operation of the backhoe.

The defendants’ actions caused Smith to suffer severe physical and emotional injuries, including comminuted fractures of her right tibia and fibula, right wrist and several ribs, as well as a closed head injury, according to the suit.

Smith claims since her injuries are permanent she will continue to incur pain and discomfort; emotional stress; annoyance and inconvenience; and the inability to enjoy life.

As a result of the injuries his wife suffered, Doug Smith has suffered a loss of spousal consortium; care and services; annoyance and inconvenience; loss of the ability to enjoy life; and other economic and non-economic damages, according to the suit.

The Smiths are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by James R. Fox.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2176

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