I've been told this is a worst case scenario in cases where a person can't be properly located. How could someone find out if a collection agency is attempting to file for a automatic judgement (my wording may not be entirely correct) against someone?
In Cook County or the collar counties, look up the plaintiff or defendant online and see what docket shows is happening in case
a default judgment is merely a specific type of judgment. They first have to file a case and then, if you do not show up (after having been properly served), they can have a default judgment entered against. You are correct in that this is the worst case scenario for you.
Like I said, you should get notice (in theory) because they are required to have you served. Since we don't live in a theoretical world, then Attorney Edelman is absolutely correct in that you should proactively search for court filings.
Speak with an attorney for more specific guidance and good luck.
If you can determine where the defendant or person being sued lives or resides, then call the clerk of the court or maybe go online to the courts website for a docket search to see if there are any lawsuits filed against this person.
This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed based on this answer. It is always advisable to seek the advice of an attorney in your area as soon as possible to determine your legal options and rights.
To expand on Mr. Edelman's response, when reviewing the Court's docket, you might want to be on the look out for any motions to serve the defendant by publication. If a plaintiff cannot find the defendant (after a diligent search) then the Court may allow service by publication. This would negate the need to serve the defendant personally.
This answer is in response to a general inquiry and should not be considered legal advice for your particular situation.
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