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Default Judgment Granted Against You: The First Steps

default judgment granted
  • Apr 11 2018

The default judgment is all too common today, granted against consumers who in most cases did not respond to collections lawsuits—or did not even realize they were being sued to begin with.  Credit card companies are famous for churning out hundreds of thousands of lawsuits each year that not only clog up state court systems but often result in automatic judgments against consumers with very little means to pay.

As household debt averages reach historic highs, many consumers today find themselves concerned about what to do. Credit cards are one of the most common reasons for spiraling debt, but these problems are often accompanied by delinquencies with the mortgage, car, and what may be massive student loan debts too. Most of this typical debt is taken on when times are good, and lenders are not only happy to be extending credit but are seeking out consumers to give it to. Such enthusiasm often goes quickly out the window, however, when those individuals are in great need. You may have experienced this yourself if you began having financial trouble and were forced to ask for another loan or an increased credit line—only to be met with a decline.

Debt often increases substantially when there is an unexpected problem or catastrophic life event. If you or a family member became ill, you may have lost time at work temporarily or permanently. Co-pays, medical bills, and prescriptions may have been charged to credit cards that became maxed out all too quickly. For others, issues such as layoffs, family strife (separation, divorce, and more), and other major expenses can make it hard not only to pay the normal bills for living expenses but also credit card bills and more.

If delinquencies lead to complete lack of payment, one or more creditors may sue you. The first and most important step is to file a response; if you do not, like so many other consumers, you may find yourself facing a default judgment. Whether you were aware of the lawsuit and the judgment initially, once the creditor has such power over you, life can get much more uncomfortable financially. Your first move should be to call a skilled judgment attorney from a firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as quickly as possible to examine your options.

It is rare, but some individuals may be judgment proof and not require any action; however, if you have an income (or will be earning one in the next ten years or so, as judgments can be valid that long, as well as renewed afterward) a portion of it could be in jeopardy. With the judgment, the creditor can take much more aggressive efforts, often beginning with wage garnishments up to 25 percent. Along with that, as the creditor fights to see the debt satisfied, they can freeze bank accounts. You may not realize such action has been taken until you try using a debit card or withdrawing cash—and while being prohibited from doing so may be frustrating, checks not going through, bills being left unpaid, and more can cause much worse issues with your finances. Property can also be seized, and in some cases, you could even be sued if you gave away valuable assets or sold them for significantly less rather than letting the creditor take them.

After reviewing your case, your attorney may advise you to fight the judgment. In filing a motion to vacate, you can present your reasons for not responding to the collections lawsuit initially, and then your attorney can move forward to fight the original case. There is always the option of also of settling with the creditor, even with a judgment in place. Believe it or not, they may still be willing to take a settlement that is far discounted from the original debt owed.

If you are worried about a creditor lawsuit or judgment, contact us at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. We can review your current situation and discuss your options with you, whether that means a negotiated settlement, fighting a judgment, filing for bankruptcy, or more. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer rights matters, and we are here to help you! Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 709-5788 or email us at

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Posted in: Judgments