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Court Determines if Insurance in Effect at time of Accident

The appellant of the case is Betty Ann Russell, who is a minor and is represented through her father and her next friend, Fred R. Russell. The appellees in the case are Charles A. Eckert and E.R. Heard and Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, a corporation, Garnishee-Appellee.

The Appeal

Betty Ann Russell, who is a minor, is appealing a final judgment that was issued by the Hillsborough County Circuit Court after a trial without jury. A New York Family Laywer said the issue of the case was between the plaintiff and Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, a corporation.

The Original Case

In an action on for personal injuries that were incurred from a car accident, the plaintiff, her father, and her next friend, recovered a judgment against the appellees, Charles A. Eckert and E.R. Heard for the amount of $16,546.10. Eckert was the driver of the vehicle in the accident and Heard owned the vehicle and they were found at fault. This original case took place on November 5, 1964.

A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that on December 30, 1964, the plaintiff issued a writ of garnishment against Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, a corporation. This required Hartford Accident to disclose any indebtedness to the defendant in the case, Heard. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company answered the writ of garnishment with a denial of any indebtedness to Heard. On January 18, 1965, the plaintiff transverses this answer stating that Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company was indebted to Heard in the amount of $10,000 for a liability insurance policy that the defendant held at the time the accident occurred.

A trial was held without a jury on November 18, 1965 and a final judgment was issued in favor of Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company and against the plaintiff.

Case Discussion and Appeal Verdict

The root of this case is whether the policy of liability insurance was in force at the time the accident occurred. A Nassau County Child Support Lawyer said if the insurance was in force, the judgment garnishment should have been made in favor of the plaintiff. However, if this policy was not in force the original judgment was correct.

There is no material conflict of the facts. On the day before the accident occurred, October 9, 1963, Heard contacted Demopaulos’s office to ask for a binder liability insurance policy for 24 hours. This was to be in effect until Heard could make it into the office and arrange for further insurance. Demopaulos agreed to the request and bound heard for 24 hours.

The following day Demopaulos filled out an application for further insurance and the policy was dated October 10, 1963. This is the same date that the accident occurred. Heard had paid his premium that day and the policy became effective as of that time. One problem with this policy is the fact that it was filled out by Demopaulos and he forgot to have Heard sign the document. However, the initial binder liability policy, which Demopaulos had the power to enact, was still in effect when the accident occurred.

This court finds that the original order of the court in favor of Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company was wrong. The policy was in force at the time of the accident and the appeal is granted in favor of the plaintiff.

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