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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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. 


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