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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Post What to Do About a Civil Judgement I Was Not Aware of for 2 Years

    My question involves judgment recovery in the State of: New Jersey

    I had my wisdom teeth out in 2005 when I was 18 years old. I was home for the summer, as I attended college in Pennsylvania. I was still under my father's insurance at that time and he was claiming me as his dependent. During this time my parents were under financial stress and, without my knowledge, a bill accumulated for over $3,000 from this surgery (insurance wouldn't cover it). It was never paid, and eventually the surgeon sued me for the money...unbeknownst to me.

    In 2010, I had graduated college and moved to Delaware, where I still live. I applied for an apartment in Delaware & was notified by the landlord that I had a civil judgment on my credit report. I had no idea what a civil judgment even was! I called my father panicking, and he explained to me what had happened (He never told me... I never got the summons... etc). He said he had tried to get the judgment to be in his name, as he was the person on the insurance, he was responsible for me, etc, to no avail. I pulled my own credit report & it says the judgment occurred in 2008. I also have been able to locate my case on public record on NJ's courts website.

    Over the last 3 years I have had a lot of personal problems that prevented me from taking care of this, so I am just now realizing I need to take action.


    1. How do I go about settling this debt? The surgeon is listed as the plaintiff. Do I need a lawyer to do this? Can I just contact the surgeon myself and try to work out a payment plan? I'm so lost.
    2. As I mentioned earlier, I live in Delaware now. How does this work going across state lines? If I wanted to try to vacate the judgment (because I was never given the summons & wasn't aware of it), would I have to travel to New Jersey and appear in court? Would I even be able to vacate this judgment after 5 years?

    Help please! Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: What to Do About a Civil Judgement I Was Not Aware of for 2 Years

    Did Dad know you'd received some sort of legal papers and didn't tell you? Or was nothing at all received?

    After 5 years, I think you'd have a hard time challenging the service issue to begin with.

    If Dad says he tried to get the judgment in his name, is there anything preventing him from paying off the debt so at least your credit can start to be repaired?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: What to Do About a Civil Judgement I Was Not Aware of for 2 Years

    Thank you for the reply.

    Correct, my Dad received legal papers and didn't tell me.

    I can talk to him (which I've been meaning to, anyway) and see if there is a way he can start to pay the doctor back...because I certainly don't have the cash right now. However, I have a feeling he won't be able to pay either. So that's why I'm trying to see what my options are to get this resolved.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: What to Do About a Civil Judgement I Was Not Aware of for 2 Years

    You can attempt to negotiate a lesser payoff, with or without the help of a lawyer. You would want the agreement to be in writing, with the commitment that your payment of the agreed amount would wholly satisfy the judgment and would be followed by the filing of satisfaction of judgment. The doctor is under no obligation to negotiate.

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