Is there any way to fight a 6 year old default judgement for a car accident?

UPDATED: Apr 11, 2012

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Is there any way to fight a 6 year old default judgement for a car accident?

I was in a car accident 6 years ago and did not know I was sued for it. They have been garnishing my wages for a year now but I have not been able to afford a lawyer to fight it. Can I still fight it or am I stuck with it now?

Asked on April 11, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since you did not know that you had been sued, you did not have an opportunity to timely file an answer to the complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons) with the court and serve a copy of your answer to the complaint by mail on the opposing party. The opposing party obtained a default judgment against you.  A default judgment means that you lost the case; however, you can file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants your motion, that would stop the wage garnishment and the case would be back on track and litigation would continue.  The court may or may not grant your motion to set aside the default because the wage garnishment has already been in effect for a year.  The judge will ask why you didn't file the motion to set aside the default sooner.

If the court denies your motion to set aside the default, another option for stopping the wage garnishment would be to file bankruptcy.  If you are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy which depends on your income and other factors, Chapter 7 is straight liquidation which eliminates your debts.  If you are not eligible to file Chapter 7, you can file Chapter 13, but Chapter 13 requires a plan (budget) for repayment of creditors. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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