What is a Default Judgment?
What Can I Do if there is a Default Judgment Against Me?
How Can I Vacate a Default Judgment?
How Can a New York Debt Lawyer Help Me?

What is a Default Judgment?

If a creditor (or debt purchaser which is a company that may have bought your account from an your original creditor) is owed money for long enough and they believe it is you who or your company that owes it to them, sooner or later they may file a lawsuit against you to try to collect what they feel is owed.  A judgment is a decision or ruling made by a court of law which states the outcome of a lawsuit.  The outcome can mean many things but for the purpose of the services our debt lawyers offer, we’ll strictly be speaking about money judgments that may have been entered against you, with or without your knowledge.

If sued, you will typically be notified in writing by receiving a summons and complaint.

  • The summons being the court notification that you are being sued
  • The complaint being the details concerning why you are being sued

An answer needs to be filed with the court and a copy sent copy to the plaintiff’s attorney.  If you or your business does not file a written answer with the court in response to the summons and complaint received then you are forfeiting your case!!!  This leads to a judgment being entered against you by default also known as a default judgment.

The time frame to answer the summons and complaint is different for each state.  In New York, depending on how you received the summons and complaint you have 20 to 30 days days to submit an answer to the court as follows:

  • 20 days to answer if you were personally served notification of the lawsuit.
  • 30 days to answer if you received the notification by impersonal service.
  • 35 days in New Jersey no matter how you were served.


The only excuse for not answering a lawsuit is never receiving a copy of the summons and complaint to even know about the lawsuit!  If a creditor or debt collector has sued you or your business and you did not know even know about it, then the chances are a default judgment probably has been entered against you since you didn’t have a chance to submit an answer.  Actually default judgments often occur as a result of Improper Service or Substitute Service of the summons and complaint.  This is when the collection attorney or their process server claims to have served a summons and complaint that either was simply was not served at all, was not served in a timely manor, or was served to a substitute party.

Serving to a substitute party is when a process server does not serve a consumer directly but instead leaves a copy of the summons and complaint either at your place of business, at your residence with a roommate, relative, or other responsible party of suitable age and mails another copy to your last known address.  Substitute service has more strict conditions that process servers are supposed to adhere to as opposed than with personal service but unfortunately there are many times in which they do not do so.

Common Examples of Improper Service:

  • Sending the Summons and Complaint to you by mail only.
  • Leaving the Summons and Complaint with your neighbor, who lives in a different apartment.
  • Sending the Summons and Complaint to an old address where you no longer live.
  • Throwing the Summons and Complaint on the floor in the lobby of your apartment building.
  • Leaving the Summons and Complaint in your yard.

What can a judgment Creditor Do To Collect?

If one or more default judgments have been entered against you as a result of either an unpaid debt, forgotten debts, or even issues relating to identity theft, then your assets may be at risk.  This judgment gives the creditor or collector the ability to collect in ways not available to a creditor without a judgment by granting the judgment creditor the ability to put a levy on your bank account, a lien on your home, or even to garnish your wages.  You can find out more about each of those remedies available to your collectors by clicking on the one you’d like to know more about.

DO NOT let those happen to you without putting up a fight. If you have been sued do not ignore it or avoid the issue thinking it will go away.  THIS WILL NOT GO AWAY! When ignored these situations get worse.  You need to deal with the lawsuit as soon as possible.  You will not be able to defend yourself properly without the knowledge of the court process and lawsuits and trying to do so would be a great injustice to yourself.  A debt lawyer will be able to assist you and bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the table.  If your business was sued you will not even be able to defend yourself as the judge will force you to hire an attorney so stop wasting time now and call us!

If you were served improperly our debt lawyers can help vacate the default judgment!

In order to vacate or remove a default judgment for you, we need to be able to prove there was improper service and we need to have a defense with merit.   Not being served is not reason enough to vacate a default judgment.  We need to not only prove you didn’t get served but in addition state our argument as to why the judgment would have not been entered if you were able to defend yourself had you received the summons and complaint properly in the first place.  It needs to be a valid defense.  Not being able to pay due to a financial hardship is not a legal defense for not paying.  The court’s role is not there to decide if you can afford to pay or not but rather if you legally are responsible to pay or not.

By fighting to vacate the default judgment and force the collection attorney to start the case all over again, thus allowing ample time for us to defend, postpone, arrange payments, settle for less, or even help file for bankruptcy.  The key is having the proper legal defense counsel on your side that can help with any aspect of the case not just one!

Instead of letting your creditor take advantage of you and seize your assets or garnish your salary only to apply the amount taken towards the balance owed on a dollar for dollar basis, we can negotiate a settlement with the creditor or collector for less than the judgment amount owed and have the amount paid considered full payment thereby unfreezing your assets and saving you thousands in the processThe longer you wait, the more likely the creditor will be to go from FREEZE to SEIZE!!!  Don’t delay…call 1-888-314-1722 today!!!

At The Law Offices of Kenneth H Dramer PC, our debt lawyers can help vacate default judgments against you by either litigating, negotiating for affordable payment arrangements for you or even better by settling for less than the amount that is owed, potentially saving you thousands!  If there is no room in your current or monthly budget for payments or settling, then another service we can help to remove the lien with is to file for bankruptcy if you qualify.  One way or another we will be able to help!

Contact our Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorneys TODAY at 1-888-314-1722!!!

The Law Offices of Kenneth H Dramer PC helps people that are experiencing financial difficulties with paying their bills.  We serve the New York City and Long Island area as well as Upstate NY and many states throughout the country.  If you have been sued one of our debt lawyers can help to clearly organize and explain the different options so you know how to proceed. There is absolutely no obligation, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888-314-1722 or visit our Contact Us page to learn how you can get out of debt and return to a healthy financial future.

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*Individual results may vary based on consumer’s ability to save sufficient funds, the circumstances of the lawsuit and multiple other factors.  Our law firm does not assume or pay any debts, nor provide credit or tax advice on forgiven amounts. Process is not available in all states, and does not obtain immediate repayment arrangements until consumer saves sufficient funds and creditor(s) make offers.

*Be  wary of any company that tells you not to pay your bills as certain debt relief options may have a negative impact on your credit report and other consequences.  For example, your debts may continue to accrue late fees and penalties, you also may receive calls from your creditors and/or debt collectors, you could even be sued for non-payment.  If a creditor obtains a judgment against you they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home.  Make sure you choose company that explains the benefits and consequences of each debt relief option.  Please read and understand all process terms prior to enrollment.

*The information provided on this site is for general information and educational purposes only.  The information presented should not be considered legal advice, and should not be misconstrued as such, and should most definitely not be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. The information is subject to change without notice. Consult a debt relief lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for specific advice.

*We provide Debt Relief services and are a debt relief agency, as defined by the U.S. Congress. We proudly assist people filing for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code as well as various other services to help avoid bankruptcy.