What should I do if I have not replied to a civil action suit and I now have a default judgment against me? 13 Answers as of November 29, 2012

I am being sued and I am young. I don't have hardly any money and I am in school. What should I do about this action first? I have yet to respond to any information about the accident.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Oh, me! We should forgive you your debts because you are young and have hardly any money. If the default is more than 21 days old, you are in deep doo doo. Get a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/29/2012
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
Your first mistake was not responding. Since there is a judgment against you, you need to see if there is a reason that can be supported for your appeal. Otherwise, you are out of luck.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/14/2012
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT T. DURBROW, JR. | Robert T. Durbrow, Jr.
You need to contact an attorney who can explain your options more completely that can be done in reply to your email. Contact California Rural Legal Assistance (CLRA) or indigent representation through your local county bar association.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/14/2012
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Depending on where you are, as in state, you might be able to ask the court to set aside the default. See if your court has a pro per clinic. Do not continue to sit on your hands. As you hopefully now know, that is painful.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/14/2012
Adler Law Group, LLC
Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
If you had auto insurance they will defend you. If not the default needs to be opened or there will be a judgment against you that is good for 20 years. They can execute in your job wages and bank etc. You should hire an attorney to navigate the defense.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 11/12/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    You can apply to the court to have the judgment set aside if you do so within 6 months and have a persuasive excuse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    If default has been entered and judgment based on the default you have 30 days to appeal. If that time has passed you should negotiated with the lawyer and may arrangements to pay the debt. The debt will haunt your credit for 10 years otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    It depends why you did not reply to the civil action. There could be some procedural factors to look at to see if the judgment could be reviewed and let you answer. There are many many questions that need to be answered about the accident etc, and why you ignored this. You should seek advice from an attorney through a call and perhaps even a meeting and yes you might have to pay a fee for the advice, depending how much you request. If there is a judgment against you, the person who has that judgment against you can seek payment on that judgment for 10 years (and longer if they renew that judgment) including garnishing your wages.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    If it is from an auto accident, and the vehicle was insured, contact your insurer immediately. The insurer will hire a lawyer to defend you. You say there is a default judgment. If it is for an amount of money, there may be nothing you can do. You can file a motion for a new trial if you can give good reasons why you did not file an answer. If it is not for an amount of money yet, just an order stating that you are in default, the Plaintiff must schedule a hearing to prove his/her amount of damages. You have a right to cross examine their witnesses and argue for a low figure for damages. If a judgment for money is obtained against you and you have no assets, then they will be unable to make you pay the judgment.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    You need to get the default judgment lifted or "opened", if you can, then you defend the lawsuit. Check with your local legal aid society, you may qualify to do this for free. Otherwise, try to do it on your own "pro se" Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    What did you think that if you just put it into the draw it would go away on its own? Also, what are you in school for 1st century impressionist paintings? You can try filing a motion to vacate the default judgement based on some procedural flaw, but I would not hold my breath. Here in RI it would be under a Rule 60 (b) motion. Defaults are difficult to reverse but it can be done, now here is an idea, wait two or three years before you file your motion, that will work. You should have filed it yesterday! The court may help you out based on your circumstances, e.g. student, whatever. The courts are there to do equity in these types of matters, and if you get a good Judge they were in school once and understand, but get moving, and read, read, read, because it is apparent you did not when you received the original complaint since most say that you have 20 days to answer and if not you will be subject to a default judgement!
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 11/12/2012
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