Is There a Default Judgment Against You (civil cases)

There may be a default judgment against you if:

  • You received a Summons (in person, in the mail, etc.) and you ignored it
  • You never went to Court to file an Answer even though
  • It has been more than 20 days since you received a Summons and Complaint in person
  • it has been more than 10 days in person within the county for cases in City Courts outside New York City), or
  • it has been more than 30 days since you received the papers in some other way
    • You answered the Summons, were given a Court date and you missed the Court date

    If you ignored the summons, never filed an Answer, or you missed your Court date, you should contact the Court to find out if the plaintiff already got a default judgment against you.

    If there is no judgment yet, you may still be able to answer the Summons and Complaint or put the case back on the Court’s calendar if you act fast. Speak to the Court Clerk or visit a Court Help Centerfor assistance.

    Even if you have never seen any Court papers, a plaintiff could have gone to court and received a judgment against you. There is a good chance a default judgment has been entered against you if:

    • your bank account has been frozen;
    • your salary is being garnished;
    • your credit report says so.

    You will need to find out which Court made the judgment against you. You can contact your bank, employer, or credit reporting company to find out which Court made the judgment. You can use the Court Locator on this page to find a Court. Then contact the Court and get a copy of the court file, including the Affidavit of Service for the Summons and Complaint. Continue reading about how vacate a default judgment.

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