There is more of a difference in terms of what you can do about the judgment. A default judgment might be able to be vacated if you have a good reason for missing the court date and a viable defense.
Rory Alarcon, Esq., is a New York attorney practicing the areas of Family Law, Matrimonial Law, Foreclosure... more
Rory Alarcon, Esq., is a New York attorney practicing the areas of Family Law, Matrimonial Law, Foreclosure Defense, Consumer Defense and other areas of general practice primarily in Suffolk & Nassau County. His office, Alarcon Law Firm, practices only in New York State and offers the best attorney rates in the Long Island area. His office may be reached at (631) 867-2348.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was... more
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
The rule in New York is that cases should be decided on the merits, i.e. on the facts and legal issues raised. There is no difference between a judgment on the merits and a judgment by default in terms of collection (if you act quickly), but as a prior attorney's answer observed there is a much greater chance that a default judgment will be vacated (thrown out) precisely because it is not a judgment on the merits.