If you have been sued by a creditor and you did not appear or file a timely answer with the court, it is likely a default judgment has been entered against you. Many people just “give up” when this happens and believe there is nothing that can be done about it. However, many times there are good excuses for why you failed to appear or file an answer. If this is true for you, we can help you seek to have the default judgment set aside.
There are two primary types of “good cause” for failing to respond to a lawsuit, which are (i) there was a defect in the process that led to the default judgment, or (ii) you have a “reasonable excuse.” Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that you have valid defenses to the plaintiff’s claims against you.
If there was a procedural defect or an irregularity in the proceedings which caused the default, it can constitute sufficient good cause for failing to appear. For example, if you were not properly served with the summons and petition or complaint. Common examples of improper service include leaving the court documents with a minor at your residence who fails to give them to you, serving somebody with your same name and you never receive the papers, or mailing the papers by certified mail to an improper address.
There are a variety of reasonable excuses that may have prevented you from participating in the lawsuit against you. For example, if you were in a serious car accident on the way to attend your hearing, the judge will find that to be a reasonable excuse for setting aside the default judgment against you.
You must also be able to inform the court that you have valid defenses against the plaintiff’s allegations in order for the default judgment to be set aside. This means that you must be able to explain why you should be granted another day in court. Let one of our attorneys help you determine if you have valid defenses to the collection case.
Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.