Default Judgment – Defined
If you are a party in a lawsuit and fail to perform a court-ordered action, such as appearing before the court by a certain date, the judge hearing the case can hand down what is known as a default judgment. This means they are automatically ruling in favor of the other party — all because they showed up and you didn’t.
Default judgments can happen for a variety of reasons beyond the example above.
Other actions or inactions by a party or parties in a case that may force a judge’s hand include but are not limited to:
- Not responding in written form by a certain date
- Inexcusable neglect
- Other misconduct
Do your part to avoid a default judgment
The point of a legal dispute is to reach a just ruling based on both parties having an opportunity to state their case and present relevant evidence. But everyone has to play their part in the process. For example, Jane could be getting sued by John, who suffered a nasty slip and fall in her restaurant. Jane thinks John’s case is nonsense, but she is only allowed a certain amount of time before she must respond. This could either be done in writing or by showing up to court. If she doesn’t, not only could the judge rule in favor of John, but Jane may also be required to pay John’s damages.
On the flip side, there have been situations where the plaintiff doesn’t adhere to legal requirements. This can result in the case getting thrown out or the judge issuing a default judgment.
3 tips to avoid a default judgment
- Open, read, and respond to all mail — In many instances, a defendant is not aware they are being sued. This is no excuse if you are not checking your mail consistently.
- Act immediately — Make sure you are responding within the required guidelines.
- Get help — If you are confused about why you are being called to court, seek help from a knowledgable lawyer who can help cut through all the legal jargon and ensure you are in the best position for your case.
Call Nelson Law Group Today!!
When it comes to any legal dispute, whether you are the one taking someone else to a court or not, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this – or any other – issue.
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