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Default Judgments Emerging from COVID

Medical Mask and Judge's Gavel

COVID-19 brought devastation with it on so many levels. Worldwide, people became ill and struggled to get well—especially before vaccines were available. Hundreds of thousands of people in the US died while millions of others will still be dealing with long-term effects from surviving the illness, not to mention mourning those who they lost. To say the least, it has been a difficult time for the human race.

Sadly, once health issues enter the picture, so do finances. And unless you are wealthy, most likely any major illness or injury is going to hurt the checkbook too. In terms of medical debt, however, expenses often go way beyond what can even be contained in a checkbook or a wallet. They may soar to astronomical sums that seem impossible to pay, ever. While filing for bankruptcy may be the best option in the end, there are other avenues—like negotiating with a doctor’s office or hospital.

You may find that other debts are emerging as stressors right now too. While medical debt is certainly at the forefront due to COVID and millions laden down with bills from hospitals and doctors, that could lead to an escalation of nearly every other debt. Unfortunately, debt incurred prior to 2020 could also be playing a role in financial challenges. This is not uncommon, and especially as debt collectors and creditors played it extremely low-key in 2020, with many of them just returning now to call and send letters requesting that debts be satisfied.

Overall, most of the enormous debt accrued is related to illness or unemployment, or both. That could mean delinquencies in rent or mortgage payments, auto debt, private student loan debt, and more. If you are currently being sued over one or more debts, speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to deal with the matter. This includes replying to the lawsuit, with 20 to 30 days usually allotted. Along with that, speak with your attorney about a defense in court. 

Without any attention to such legal action, you could find yourself dealing with a default judgment—and it could follow you for up to 20 years. In California, the initial default judgment is good for 10 years and it can be extended for another 10 after that. During this time, the creditor is imbued with the power to see your paychecks garnished (up to 25 percent of your disposable income), property seized to be sold at public auction, and checking accounts frozen until the debt is satisfied.

Contact Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC now. Let us review your case and discuss what would work best for you. We are here to help! Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include collection lawsuits, default judgments, and more. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, or call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at

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