If You Have No Defense

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Now let's assume that you were properly served with the plaintiff's papers in a proper court before the deadline, you have no valid defense to the merits of the case, and neither you nor the plaintiff want to compromise. Perhaps you borrowed money under the terms of a written contract and haven't been able to pay it back. Because you know you'll lose, you may conclude that it makes little sense to defend yourself in court. Your decision not to show up will very likely result in a default judgment against you. This judgment will most probably be for the dollar amount demanded by the plaintiff, plus the amount of the filing fee and any reasonable costs to serve the papers on you. (In Chapter 15 you can read about default judgments and how you can probably get one vacated if you act immediately.)

Even if you owe 100% of the plaintiff's demand, it never hurts to make an offer. Especially if you have the money, why not offer to pay 75%-90% of what the plaintiff requests. To save the trouble of going to court–or for some other reason you may never guess–the plaintiff may accept, even though it is almost certain that the person would win a judgment for the whole amount by going to court.

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