Can insurance companies garnish my wages? 18 Answers as of June 19, 2015

I got a DUI and got in a car accident, totaling my car and the other person's. I am a full time student and also work five days a week. I make enough monthly to just pay rent but the insurance company of the other driver has been threatening to garnish my wages (nearly half of what I make in a month) which would cause me to not have enough to live on. Can they do this, regardless of the offender's financial circumstances?

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Your money will be garnished, because you caused the damage, and you will pay for it.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/19/2015
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Yes, they can do that. You should look into a ch13 case which would give you 60 months to pay it off. that might be better, Also most states have a process whereby you can reduce the amount of the garnishment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/16/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Unfortunately, yes. And discharging this debt in bankruptcy may be difficult. For example, if you plead guilty (or are found guilty) of an alcohol offense, the creditor can object to this debt being discharged in a bankruptcy. Pay a nominal fee to an experienced BK lawyer to get all your questions answered. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/15/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Probably not. ?In Ohio, your wages can't be garnished unless your take home pay is more than $217.50 per week (other states may have different limits. ?Most part-time jobs don't pay more than that. Even if you have a large income the limit on garnishments is 25% of your take home pay. ?For example, Fellony Clinton has a tax free income of $2,000,000 a week, so the 25% rule means that only $500,000 a week could be garnished. ? (Note: garnishing the wages of someone who's tight with Russian gangsters and various 3rd world dictators is hazardous to your health)?
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/15/2015
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Unfortunately, they can, although there are various exemptions from garnishment which you may or may not qualify for. I strongly suggest that you contact an experienced debt collection or consumer rights attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation. (S)he would then be in a better position to analyze your case and advise you of your options.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2015
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Oh, you violate the law and still dictate the terms? Do you think you are Iran negotiating a nuclear deal? In the grown-up world, if you do the crime, you do the time. Just thank God that I am not the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    Not exactly. Before they can do a garnishment, they must obtain a judgment against you. You did not mention one, so I assume none has been entered. Even if they have a judgment, if they file a garnishment complaint you have a chance to respond to the complaint, and the small claims court which processes garnishments will give you (or you may have to request it) a form to calculate your exemptions. It is entirely possible that if your income is low enough, you are protected from the garnishment.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    They can if they have a judgment against you. However, you can file a claim of exemption. Many of our courts have someone to assist people representing themselves.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Has the insurance company filed a lawsuit against you yet? If they obtain a judgment against you then they CAN and most likely WILL garnish your wages. You should consider hiring a lawyer to help you defend against such a lawsuit. Damages that are caused as a result of a DUI will not be dischargeable in bankruptcy so you will have to find some other way to deal with the problem.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    State laws called exemptions describe what a creditor with a court judgment can take from your pay. Typically that is 25 percent of your check, unless you wages are so low that they fail to meet the minimum amount required by state law. If you are working for minimum wage or less than full time, you may be protected.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    They have to sue you first. If they win, then they can enforce a judgment and garnish your salary.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Law Offices of Robert Burns
    Law Offices of Robert Burns | Robert Burns
    You cannot bankrupt out of losses caused by drunk driving (D.U.I. isn't necessarily that), but you do have exemptions to avoid becoming a slave.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    If they have a judgment they can garnish your wages but to a maximum of about 15% I assume since they are threatening you you did not have auto insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq.
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq. | Stacy Joel Safion
    Yes they can. There is probably a judgment against you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes, but they have to get a judgment first. Turn the claim over to your insurance company and let them handle it. That's what you got insurance for. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    If your insurance company didn't cover it, then, yes, they can garnish your wages. There are limits to the amount, but yes. If the accident was a result of a DUI, you probably won't be able to eliminate it in a bankruptcy, but you might be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to make more manageable payments.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Of course they can. You owe the money.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/12/2015
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    They can get a judgment and garnish an amount equal to 15% of your wages with a carve out representing minimum wages. A judgment is enforceable for up to 27 years, and must be revived after 7.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/12/2015
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