Default Judgment Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Default Judgment, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Default Judgment?

n. Plaintiff (the suer) has the right to receive a default judgment after requesting a default to be entered into the court record by the clerk because the defendant in a lawsuit failed to respond to a complaint in the predetermined time (typically 20 or 30 days). If the amount due is easily calculated because the complaint was for a specific amount of money owed on another, other money due, or a specific contract price, the court clerk can enter a default judgment. A hearing will take place to determine the terms of the default judgment if proof of damages or other relief is necessary. The defendant must show a legitimate excuse and good defense to the lawsuit in order to have the default set aside.