Default Judgment Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Default Judgment.

Default Judgment (noun)

A Default Judgment refers to a court's decision in favor of the plaintiff (the person who started the lawsuit) when the defendant (the person being sued) does not respond to the lawsuit within the required time period, typically 20 or 30 days. This type of judgment might happen when a defendant fails to respond to a complaint, act on a court summons, or attend a court hearing. If the damages are simple to calculate, such as a specific amount of money owed, the court clerk can enter a default judgment. If determining the damages is more complex, a hearing may be needed. To reverse a default judgment, the defendant usually has to show a valid reason why they didn't respond and provide a strong defense to the lawsuit.