Barger, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).
On September 7, 1955, about 10:30 P.M., the plaintiff, a pedestrian, was using the crosswalk crossing U.S. Route No. 1, also known as East Edgar Road, at its intersection with Clinton Street, in the City of Linden, New Jersey. The plaintiff was crossing with the green light and was struck by a motor vehicle operated on U.S. Route No. 1 in a southerly direction and which motor vehicle was operated by the defendant, Treely Yancey, Jr., and owned by the defendant, Louise Yancey, both of said defendants being residents of the State of Pennsylvania and uninsured. The plaintiff was knocked down and, as a result of severe injuries sustained, was taken to a hospital in the City of Elizabeth and there confined for a period of time. Upon his release was confined to the home of his sister and he was unable to work for a considerable period and has been permanently injured.
The action proceeded to trial, without any appearance at the trial by the defendants. Defendants were defended by an attorney representing the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The complaint as to the defendant, Louise Yancey, was dismissed and the trial resulted in a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant, Treely Yancey, Jr., in the sum of $5,500 and costs, on July 9, 1958.
The plaintiff, otherwise qualified, and now claiming to be a qualified resident of the State of New Jersey, as required under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:6-62, a section of the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund Law, now makes application under N.J.S.A. 39:6-69, in a summary manner, for an order directing payment to him out of the
Fund of the maximum sum authorized by N.J.S.A. 39:6-69(a) in the sum of $5,000, exclusive of interest and costs. This section was amended to increase the amount by chapter 99 of the Laws of 1958. However, this increase was not effective until January 1, 1959 under the provisions of that law and, therefore, the amount of recourse, if any, of the plaintiff is not affected thereby.
As the State of Virginia does not afford recourse of any substantial similar character to residents of this State, the plaintiff's right to the recourse sought rests entirely upon a finding that he was a qualified resident of New Jersey within the meaning of the statute at the time of the accident, reciprocity being granted only under N.J.S.A. 39:6-62 to residents of other states, territories and countries in which similar legislation provides such recourse of a similar character to residents of this State. Betz v. Director of Division of Motor Vehicles , 27 N.J. 324 (1958).
The proofs submitted by the plaintiff on the issue of his residence under the statute consists of his testimony at the trial held on October 28, 1957, and affidavits dated December 9, 1958, February 7, 1959 and March 11, 1959. The facts set forth in these proofs are not controverted in behalf of the Director.
The question for the determination of this court is whether the plaintiff was a qualified resident within the meaning of the statute at the time of the accident.
From the proofs of the plaintiff it appears that the plaintiff was born and lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, for many years and thereafter moved to Norfolk, Virginia, and resided for many years in that city with a sister. The plaintiff secured employment in Norfolk as a cook in a restaurant and worked there at that occupation for a period of about seven years until this business was terminated. In order to secure employment, the plaintiff left Norfolk, went to New Castle, Pennsylvania, and obtained similar employment in that city for about six weeks; and then, through friends residing in the City of Linden, New Jersey, learned of
an employment opportunity in that city and came to Linden sometime in March 1955, approximately five months prior to the date of the happening of the accident set forth. In Linden the plaintiff was employed as a cook in a diner situated on U.S. Route No. 1 and was so employed at the time of the accident. The plaintiff moved all of his possessions to Linden at the time of the commencement of his employment, and in that city occupied a rented room, with another man, at 12 East Edgar Road, and so occupied that premises on the date of the accident. It was customary for the plaintiff to have his meals at the diner in which he was employed, and he was proceeding to his place of employment at the time the accident occurred.
After leaving the hospital in Elizabeth, where he was confined for several weeks as a result of his injuries, he returned to reside with his sister in Norfolk, Virginia, and is now residing in that city. In his testimony at the time of trial the plaintiff refers to returning home. It is his contention, from his affidavits filed, that he had to return to the home of his sister because he was incapacitated as a result of the injuries sustained and was to be confined to his bed and to the house for some time, and that he was unable to do this or secure the proper care ...