What is a default judgment in my collection lawsuit?

“What is a default judgment in my collection lawsuit?”

What is a default judgment in my collection lawsuit?You’ve been sued by a debt collection company for a debt that you may or may not owe, and you may have heard the term “default judgment.”

You may wonder, “What is that?”

Let’s start from the beginning.

First, the collection suit is filed.

Then, you’re served with the lawsuit, whether you’re given papers personally or it’s mailed to you via certified mail.

Once you’ve been served, you have 14 days in Small Claims or District Court and 30 days in Circuit Court to respond.

“What happens if I don’t answer within the time limit?”

If you don’t file your answer before your time is up, then the collection company, whether that’s LVNV, Midland Funding, etc, will go to the court and file for a default judgment against you.

They file this because you “defaulted,” or didn’t show up.

This means that you lose.

The temptation can be to say that, “I didn’t really owe this debt anyway.”

Well, if you have a default judgment against you, then the court has decided that you owe the money regardless.

Think of it like the Super Bowl.

If one team doesn’t show up, then the other team automatically loses.  So we know Denver beat Carolina a few days ago.

But what if Denver had not showed up — Carolina would have won.

Denver would say, “If we had shown up, we would have won the game.”

Maybe but you didn’t show up Denver, so you lose because you skipped out on showing up.

Don’t “skip out” on filing your answer and get a default judgment.

Make sure you file it.

Avoid a default judgement.

Contact us.

If you have any questions about how to answer your lawsuit, what you should do if you have a default judgment, or anything we may have covered in this article, feel free to get in touch with us.

You can reach us at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will happily get in touch with you to set up an appointment.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Have a great day.

-John G. Watts


PS — We have a very detailed video and article that goes over your five (5) options when sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) as well as answering many commonly asked questions.


  1. […] the other side has been served and they do not answer the complaint, then they would have a default judgment against them. Most of the time, the judge will rule that the defendant agrees with the allegations […]

  2. […] you lose your case, that means that there’s a judgment against you. This judgment means that you can either pay the whole amount now, or you can negotiate […]

  3. […] Default, consent, and summary judgments have one thing in common: they’re all judgments. That’s bad.  Judgments lead to garnishments and the selling of your real property in a sheriff’s sale. […]

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