Freund, Stanton and Ewart. The opinion of the court was delivered by Ewart, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).
This appeal is from a summary judgment for $2,149.60, plus interest and costs, granted on plaintiff's motion and from a judgment denying defendant's motion for a summary judgment.
The pertinent facts of the controversy, which are not in dispute, are that on December 29, 1950 plaintiff issued to defendant its automobile liability insurance policy No. AP 143573 covering the period from January 7, 1951 to January 7, 1952, insuring defendant against claims for bodily injuries and property damage caused by motor trucks and trailers of the defendant up to the amounts named in the policy. The defendant company was engaged in the business as an interstate motor carrier transporting goods and merchandise by truck and trailer. The policy in question was filed with and approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission January 8, 1951 as a condition precedent to the issuance to the defendant by the I.C.C. of a certificate to operate as an interstate motor carrier.
On October 16, 1951 one of the defendant's trailers, while being drawn by a tractor owned and operated by one Ramsey, an independent contractor, was involved in an accident on a highway in Jersey City. Defendant gave plaintiff no notice
of the accident, but plaintiff first learned about the accident on February 20, 1952 through Ramsey's insurance carrier. On February 27, 1952 plaintiff notified defendant by letter of that date that due to the great delay in reporting the claim (in fact, the defendant never did report the claim to the insurance carrier), in violation of the terms of the insurance policy, plaintiff denied coverage under the policy but that, inasmuch as the plaintiff was primarily responsible for judgments against the insured under the terms of the New Jersey Financial Responsibility Act, if the plaintiff were compelled to make "any payment either on a judgment or for costs arising from this accident, we shall look to you for full reimbursement."
James A. Procopio and Francis Cicetti instituted suit against Ramsey, the independent contractor, and against the defendant in this suit for damages arising out of the accident of October 16, 1951. The plaintiff insurance company settled the suit by payment to the plaintiffs therein of the sum of $1,285.50, including costs.
Again on November 6, 1951 one of the defendant's trailers, again being drawn by a tractor owned and operated by Ramsey, an independent contractor, was involved in another accident on a highway in South Amboy. Defendant gave plaintiff no notice of the accident until on or about February 8, 1952 when the defendant forwarded to the plaintiff by mail a summons and complaint that had been served upon it in a suit instituted by one Salvatore Vangieri against Ramsey and against the defendant in the present suit, growing out of the said accident of November 6, 1951. Plaintiff insurance company settled that suit by the payment of $864.10 including costs.
Settlement of both suits was effected by the plaintiff insurance company without any notification first being given to the defendant.
Again on February 27, 1952, plaintiff wrote the defendant another letter concerning the delay in giving notice of the accident on November 6 of the same purport as its first letter of February 27, 1952 above mentioned.
Plaintiff has brought this suit against the defendant to recover from the defendant, the assured, the said sums of $1,285.50 and $864.10 so paid out by plaintiff in settlement of the two suits arising out of the accidents above mentioned.
PROVISIONS OF THE INSURANCE POLICY
Under the heading of "Insuring Agreements" there is printed in the policy in question and as a part thereof the following provisions:
"I Coverage A -- Bodily Injury Liability
To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death at any time resulting therefrom, sustained by any person, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the automobile.
Coverage B -- Property Damage Liability
To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the automobile. * * *
II Defense, Settlement, Supplementary Payments
As respects the insurance afforded by the other terms of this policy under coverages A and B the company shall:
(a) defend any suit against the insured alleging such injury, sickness, disease or destruction and seeking damages on account thereof, even if such suit is groundless, false or fraudulent; but the company may make such investigation, negotiation and settlement of any claim or suit as it deems expedient; * * *."
There is printed in the body of the policy under the heading of "Conditions" the following provision:
"6. Notice of Accident When an accident occurs written notice shall be given by or on behalf of the insured to the company or any of its authorized agents as soon as practicable. Such notice shall contain particulars sufficient to identify the insured and also reasonable obtainable information respecting the time, place and ...