Brock v. Travelers' Ins. Co.

Citation88 Conn. 308,91 A. 279
CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Decision Date13 July 1914

Case Reserved from Superior Court, New Haven County; William L. Bennett, Judge.

Amicable suit under Gen. St § 955, by Charles W. Brock against the Travelers' Insurance Company, on an agreed statement of facts. Cause reserved by the superior court for the advice of the Supreme Court of Errors. Judgment for plaintiff advised.

Charles F. Clarke, of New Haven, for plaintiff. William Brosmith and Robert C. Dickenson, both' of Hartford, for defendant.

THAYER, J. The plaintiff holds a policy or agreement of indemnity of the defendant whereby the latter agrees to indemnify him against loss suffered by him on account of bodily injuries accidentally sustained by others by reason of his ownership and maintenance of an automobile, which is described in his declaration attached to the policy. The policy or agreement contains the following provision:

"This agreement shall not apply while any such automobile is driven or manipulated in any race or competitive speed test, or by any person under the age fixed by law or under the age of sixteen in any event."

While the automobile was being driven by the plaintiff's son in the plaintiff's business 'an accident occurred, resulting in bodily injuries to another boy, causing his death. The plaintiff's son at the time was between 16 and 17 years of age, was not licensed to operate an automobile, and was not accompanied by a licensed operator. The plaintiff was compelled to pay damages for the above-named injuries, and asked indemnity therefor from the defendant. The defendant refuses to indemnify him upon the ground that at the time of the accident the automobile was being driven by a person under the age fixed by law.

Most, if not all, of the states regulate by statute the operation and maintenance of automobiles, and fix the age and qualifications to be required in the persons operating them.

These requirements are not uniform; younger persons being permitted to operate them in some states than in others. A blank form, which is in broad and general language, manifestly intended for use in different states, and not in this state alone, was used in writing the policy now in question. The proviso quoted above undoubtedly has reference to these statutes, and was intended to save the defendant from liability for losses resulting when the automobile should be driven by a person under the age thus fixed by law for the operation of these vehicles, or when driven by a person under the age of 16 although the age fixed by law should be less than 16.

Our statutes do not in direct terms fix the age at which it shall be unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle in the public highways. Public Acts of 1911, c. 85, § 5, which is the statute by which the question between the parties to this action must be determined, provides as follows:

"No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon the public highways of this state until he shall have obtained from the secretary a license for that purpose, but no such license shall be issued until said secretary is satisfied that the applicant is over eighteen years of age and is a proper person to receive it. * * * Nothing herein contained shall prevent the operating of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed person sixteen years of age or more * * * if accompanied by a licensed operator."

The first part of this section, if taken by itself, in effect fixes the age at which a person may operate a motor vehicle at 18 years; for it provides that none but a licensed operator may operate one, and that no person under the age of 18 years may obtain...

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21 cases
  • Perkins v. Becker
    • United States
    • Kansas Court of Appeals
    • January 5, 1942
    ... ... injuries. American Paper Products Co. v. Aetna Life Ins ... Co., 204 Mo.App. 527, 223 S.W. 820, 822; Oceanic ... Steam Nav. Co. v. Compania ... Liability Ins. Co., 322 Pa. 91, 185 A. 201. (2) There is ... no ambiguity in the policy. Brock v. Travelers Ins. Co ... (Conn.), 91 A. 279, 280; U. S. Fidelity & Guaranty ... Co. v. S ... ...
  • Hossley v. Union Indemnity Co. of New York
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 26, 1925
    ... ... intention of causing death is not death by his own hand or ... self destruction." Ins. Company v. Guller, 119 ... N.E. 173; Teller v. M. W. A., 165 N.W. 584; ... Jackson v. Ben ... 914; 204 A.D. 532; 198 Supp. 536; 205 ... A.D. 699; 199 Supp. 816. The case of Brock v. Travelers ... Insurance Co., 88 Conn. 308, 91 A. 279, supports the ... holding of the New ... ...
  • McCann v. Iowa Mut. Liability Ins. Co. of Cedar Rapids
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • January 13, 1942
    ... ... to the contrary, but we believe that the greater weight of ... authority is as we hold. As stated in Brown v. Travelers Ins ... Co., 31 Cal.App.2d 122, 87 P.2d 377, there is a conflict of ... authority, but this clause is in the policy in controversy, ... and the ... Plaintiff cities, ... in support of his position, Taylor v. United States Casualty ... Co., 269 N.Y. 360, 199 N.E. 620, 115 A.L.R. 822; Brock v ... Travelers' Ins. Co., 88 Conn. 308, 91 A. 279. Also, Des ... Moines Rug Cleaning Co. v. Automobile Underwriters, 215 Iowa ... 246, 245 N.W ... ...
  • Taylor v. United States Cas. Co.
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • January 7, 1936
    ...the policy or to make a new contract for the protection of the insurance company. The same question arose in Brock v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 88 Conn. 308, 312, 91 A. 279, 280, where the court held that this same exclusion clause related only to the question of age and not at all to violations......
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