A default judgment is what we get if we don’t respond to a lawsuit within the time limit we are given.
If we were sued in Small Claims or District Court, then we have 14 days from the time we were served to respond.
If we were sued in Circuit Court, we have 30 days from the time we were served to respond.
If we don’t, then the other side can get a default judgment against us.
This simply means that we didn’t show up for our case.
Sometimes people get confused and say, “Well, this isn’t a real judgment anyway.”
Understand that this is a legitimate judgment.
A default judgment will go on your credit report.
It can also allow the other side to seize your property and/or car.
The other side can do all of these bad things with a default judgment, just as they could with any other judgment.
Bottom line is you must respond to the lawsuit in time or you will get a default judgment.
We have to take it seriously.
Sometimes people will say, “Well, I’m not going to worry about this judgment, because it can’t really hurt me.”
However, 5-10 years later, the judgment doubles or triples from the original amount which can be a real problem. All that interest adds up.
And maybe you have a new job or you inherit money or you pay off other debts and now have equity in your house — that judgment still stalks you through life. It just gets bigger and bigger as it waits for you to have something it can take.
So my suggestion is don’t let a default judgment happen. It is one thing if you lose at trial — but don’t lose because you did nothing. If you go to trial, you could lose but you can also win. If you do nothing, you will always lose.
If you have any questions and you live in Alabama, you can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.
I look forward to talking with you!
Have a great day.