Plaintiffs in a teen car accident injury case will have to prepare for trial, after the Alabama Supreme Court reversed a default judgment against defendant.
In most cases, default judgments are not preferred in injury cases. Whereas a summary judgment may be granted prior to trial as a matter of law, default judgments are granted typically when a defendant(s) fails to timely respond to a complaint or appear in court.
Default judgments are often overturned if a defendant can show good cause why he or she did not respond/appear in court. In the case of Hilyer v. Fortier, the issue came down to a misunderstanding between the defendant and two insurance agents – each of whom though the other was handling the claim and civil defense in the case.