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Lindsay v. Boles

Decided: May 19, 1960.

ELIZABETH LINDSAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EARL BOLES, IMPLEADED WITH OTHERS, DEFENDANT



Kolovsky, A.j.s.c.

Kolovsky

[61 NJSuper Page 517] Some six months after plaintiff had recovered a judgment for $4,000 and $84.25 costs against defendant Boles, the operator of an uninsured motor vehicle, for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, she filed an application to compel the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment

Fund (hereinafter called the "Fund"), see N.J.S.A. 39:6-61 et seq. , to pay the amount of the judgment as well as six months' interest which had accrued thereon.

Much of the period which elapsed between the entry of the judgment and the filing of the application for an order for payment was spent in plaintiff's unsuccessful attempt to obtain a new trial both as against Boles and as against an insured co-defendant in whose favor the trial jury had found a verdict of no cause for action.

No question is raised as to the plaintiff's right to payment of the principal amount of the judgment and costs. On the contrary, an order has been entered by consent of the parties providing for payment of the principal without prejudice to the asserted claim for interest.

The issue presented for the court's determination is the right of the plaintiff to compel the Fund to pay interest accrued on the judgment between the date it was entered and the date application was made to the court for an order compelling the Fund to pay the judgment.

It is, of course, true that as between a judgment-creditor and a judgment-debtor the former is entitled to collect from his judgment-debtor not only the principal amount of the judgment but also interest thereon until the judgment is paid; this on the theory which was developed in the New Jersey practice that interest is "an increase of damages for the detention of the debt." Cox v. Marlatt , 36 N.J.L. 389 (Sup. Ct. 1873); Simon v. N.J. Asphalt & Paving Co. , 123 N.J.L. 232 (Sup. Ct. 1939); Erie Railway Co. v. Ackerson , 33 N.J.L. 33 (Sup. Ct. 1868).

It is likewise true that the usual automobile liability insurance policy which requires the insurance company to pay a judgment recovered against its insured requires it to pay not only the principal amount of the judgment, but also interest thereon until the judgment is paid.

But the Fund was not intended to be nor is it a liability insurance company for the uninsured driver, nor is the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund Law (hereinafter

called the "Fund Law") a substitute for an automobile liability policy.

"The primary object of the [Fund Law] is to provide a measure of relief for persons who sustain losses or injury inflicted by financially irresponsible or unidentified owners or operators of motor vehicles, where such persons would otherwise be remediless." Corrigan v. Gassert , 27 N.J. 227, 233 (1958).

"* * * There is no absolute indemnity provided for, * * * the statute does not reflect an intention to make every claimant completely whole, but rather to provide some measure of relief * * *." Dixon v. Gassert , 26 N.J. 1, 8 (1958).

For that purpose, the Fund Law provided for the creation of a fund partly by charging extra fees to those registering uninsured motor vehicles and partly by levying an assessment against liability insurance companies doing business in this State. N.J.S.A. 39:6-63. The fund is held in trust by the State Treasurer for the carrying out of the purpose of the Fund Law and the costs of its administration, N.J.S.A. 39:6-88, and is administered by the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund Board (hereinafter called the "Board"), ...


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