Civil Judgement on Credit Report! How much is it hurting my score?

8 Replies

I am shopping around for loans, and recently checked my 3 Fico scores.

I was alarmed to see that my 3 scores were 698, 709 and 752.

I take great pride in paying everything on time, and having a good score. I had assumed all my scores were 740 and above.

Heres the story, anyone who can help, or advise I would greatly appreciate it!

The civil judgement from 2011, is only listed on the two low scoring accounts. So I am going to assume that is the reason for the lower scores. Could it really affect it by 40-50 points?

The judgement was due to a car accident involving my car that I wasn't even involved with! My sister in law was borrowing my car. My insurance company paid the amount immediately after the court case. I am listed on the case along with, my sister in law and my ex-wife (perhaps she was co-owner of the car, or just listed on the insurance?).

Transunion account shows it as paid

Experian just says N/A.

It doesn't appear on Equifax.

What to do?

I'm not sure what steps to take.

1. I could report to Experian that it was paid, but I'm not sure if that will help anything or not (they say that don't even know if it would change anything)

2. I could try disputing it altogether, maybe I get lucky, and it doesn't reappear. It technically does have my name on it though.

3. Or can I make a big stink. My banker said I should sue the sister in-law to get it taken out of my name (so it goes against her insurance). But I don't really want to do that, it sounds like a terrible thing to do.

4. I could sue my insurance for not taking care of it properly, and for carelessly allowing it to go on my record. (Claim the damages and extra cost in increased mortgage payments). But I've never sued anyone, and really don't believe in doing that sort of thing, it just sounds terrible to have to go that far.

5. Or is this not really hurting my credit that much? The only other downsides I have are the $8000 I owe on my cards (with a 25% usage of credit). All my accounts are marked in good standing and nothing was ever late!

Thanks to anyone who responds.

Can you get a letter of satisfaction from the insurance company and submit it to the credit bureau & the courts so at the least it can show up as paid?

Try to get it shown as paid, and include a letter of explanation. The sister can't have it removed. The insurance co. is Not at fault as they are only liable to pay for a legitimate liability, which they did. The scores are still high enough that they shouldn't affect your borrowing. A letter of explanation should accompany any loan applications, as this wasn't a non payment issue.

You can dispute the item on your credit report and it may just come off. That may take 20 - 30 days but it works sometime.

You could ask the insurance company to take it off. They may or may not do it depending on who you talk to and their mood at the time and even if they say they will they might not.

Or you could leave it. It's not hurting your score so much that you can't do business. A quick explanation if anyone ask is sufficient. If I was investing with you I wouldn't think twice about it.

Hope this helps and good luck.

She wasn't really at fault, the case was a little bit of both at fault, but the case basically concluded in the other driver's favor. I just don't understand why it should count on my credit report.

Yes, sadly. I didn't understand that this would do anything to me at the time. I would have handled it differently had I known. I assumed it was no big deal, that if my sister-in law didn't win, the insurance would pay anyway.

I had a client who had a tax lien and I remember calling because it appeared Experian wasn't reporting correctly. They told me they don't necessarily report the judgments / liens as paid, that they only report its existence.

Unfortunately since it's under your name and reporting, I imagine it would be quite difficult to have removed, since it's legitimate.

Like the other responses say, a 709 credit score is still going to get you favorable rates, but you would get slightly better pricing with a middle score of 720, and a little bit better with 740.

Unless you're looking at a jumbo loan, you should be fine getting a great loan with a 709. You could ask your loan officer to run a What If simulator to see how much of a score boost you would get by paying down your balances even further. They could also simulate what your score would be without the judgment. They have to pay a fee for this service - I think it's about $6-8 per bureau.