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Default: The Risk of Failing to Respond to a Lawsuit Brought Against You

The risk of failing to respond to a lawsuit against you is severe. Understanding what a default is, and the implications associated with a default judgment is important when having a lawsuit brought against you.

What is a default?

A default can occur when a party that has been sued fails to respond to the complaint or otherwise defend against the lawsuit in a timely manner. If you are found to be in default, the other side can then request a default judgment from the court. If the court enters this default judgment, you are automatically liable for the full amount requested in the suit, plus fees and costs.

What are the ramifications of a default judgment being entered?

The opposing party can begin collecting the judgment by garnishing your wages, bank accounts, and state tax returns. The opposing party can even seize your property to fulfill the judgment amount. Additional costs/fees/interest may also begin to accrue.

What can I do if a default judgment has been entered against me? 

When a default judgment is entered, the case is technically closed, so it is important to act quickly. A Motion to Set Aside the Judgment should be filed immediately, explaining why you failed to respond or defend against the suit.

The attorneys at Fraser Trebilcock have the experience and knowledge to help you set aside a default judgment that has been entered against you. Contact Amy, Emily, or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Emily M. Vanderlaan is a litigation attorney at Fraser Trebilcock handling all aspects of personal injury and property litigation. Emily has had great success in Michigan and Colorado trial courts and in the Michigan Court of Appeals. You can reach her at (517) 377.0882 or at

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Amanda S. Wolanin specializes her practice in business and tax law, bankruptcy, family law, estate planning, litigation, and real estate law. You can reach her at (517) 377-0897, or at