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Governmental Claims Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Governmental Claims and the related topic of personal injury.

Governmental Claims-Statutes

See Va. Code § 30-4 as to rights of members of General Assembly in regards to legal proceedings pending while General Assembly is in session.

See Va. Code § 33.1-200, State Highway Commission may pay for damages to personal property resulting from work on highways.

Governmental Claims-Cases

1989 Town of Vinton v. Bryant, 238 Va. 229, 384 S.E.2d 76.

Sewer backup caused damage to plaintiff’s home. Town inspected and cleaned lines once per year. Plaintiff contended this inspection and cleaning should have occurred during winter. Evidence showed that town’s practice of annual inspection was consistent with standard of care as to other towns. Therefore, verdict for plaintiff reversed.

1989 Commonwealth v. Coolidge, 237 Va. 621, 379 S.E.2d 338.

There is common misconception that government is liable for all accidents occurring on its property because of defects therein. In this case, jury should have been instructed that Commonwealth not insurer. Such instruction may be inappropriate in tort case not involving government, absent contention by plaintiff that defendant was insurer.

1984 Town of Crewe v. Marler, 228 Va. 109, 319 S.E.2d 748.

Plaintiff failed to comply with Va. Code § 8.01-222 in that notice of claim did not state where accident occurred. Such omission cannot be remedied simply due to fact that everybody supposedly knew where accident occurred. Although statute should be liberally construed and substantial compliance with its terms is sufficient, missing provision of notice requirement cannot be provided by judicial construction.

1977 West v. City of Portsmouth, 217 Va. 734, 232 S.E.2d 763.

Municipality is charged with duty of maintaining sidewalks in safe condition, free from defects and obstructions dangerous to pedestrians exercising “ordinary care”. Not every defect is actionable.

1973 Heller v. City of Virginia Beach, 213 Va. 683, 194 S.E.2d 696.

Plaintiff fell on city street; reported accident to police; police filed written report. Police acted as agent of plaintiff in substantial compliance with Code, which requires written notice within 60 days.

1964 City of Richmond v. Branch, 205 Va. 424, 137 S.E.2d 882.

City had notice of defect in street and violated non-delegable duty to keep in safe condition.

1963 Dockery v. City of Norton, 204 Va. 752, 133 S.E.2d 296.

City stacked pipes along side street. Plaintiff injured while playing on them. Jury issue.

1963 City of Portsmouth v. Cilumbrello, 204 Va. 11, 129 S.E.2d 31.

Plaintiff struck manhole cover. Statutory notice to city of their alleged negligence was held adequate.

1961 City of Richmond v. Hanes, 203 Va. 102, 122 S.E.2d 895.

Municipality has only powers: (1) granted in express words, (2) necessarily or fairly implied in, or incidental to, powers expressly granted, and (3) essential to its declared purpose.

1960 Virginia Beach v. Roman, 201 Va. 879, 114 S.E.2d 749.

City sued by pedestrian who fell into hole caused by erosion. No showing of notice.

1957 Daniel v. City of Richmond, 199 Va. 490, 100 S.E.2d 763.

Personal injury suit against city was barred because required notice not given within 60 days even though plaintiff was physically incapacitated for 60-day period.

1957 Mann v. County Bd., 199 Va. 169, 98 S.E.2d 515.

Jones conveyed to county easement for streets and sidewalk purposes. Jones not chargeable with negligence in maintenance and use of area.

1954 West v. City of Portsmouth, 196 Va. 510, 84 S.E.2d 503.

Requirements for recovery for injury due to defective sidewalk or street.

1954 Richmond Redev. & Hous. Auth. v. Laburnum Constr. Co., 195 Va. 827, 80 S.E.2d 574.

Plaintiff contended it was political subdivision of Commonwealth and was not, therefore, subject to bar of statute of limitations; however, court held that while plaintiff was denominated political subdivision of State, it did not qualify as one acting for purely governmental purposes. Thus, statute not tolled.

1952 Virginia Beach v. Starr, 194 Va. 34, 72 S.E.2d 239.

It is duty of municipalities to see that pavement along its streets is reasonably safe for public use.

1952 Pioneer Constr. Co. v. Hambrick, 193 Va. 685, 70 S.E.2d 302.

Governmental claims.Plaintiff fell at night into unguarded, open trench that extended across city street. City had delegated work to independent contractor. City could not delegate its positive duty with respect to care of its streets to independent contractor.

1949 Hill v. City of Richmond, 189 Va. 576, 53 S.E.2d 810.

Governmental claims.Municipal corporation is not insurer against accidents upon its streets and sidewalks, and not every defect therein is actionable. It is sufficient if streets are in reasonably safe condition.

1948 City of South Norfolk v. Dail, 187 Va. 495, 47 S.E.2d 405.

Governmental claims.Discusses notice requirement as to personal injury actions against cities.

1945 Richmond v. McDonald, 183 Va. 694, 33 S.E.2d 186.

Governmental claims.Trip and fall case. City is not required to keep its streets perfectly level.

1943 Childress v. City of Richmond, 181 Va. 267, 24 S.E.2d 419.

Governmental claims. It is unreasonable to hold city liable for every slight inequality in its streets.

1942 Richmond v. Best, 180 Va. 421, 23 S.E.2d 130.

Governmental claims.Giving of required notice must be alleged in motion for judgment and proved at trial.

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Governmental Claims Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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