Can I Collect That Judgment? What is a Garnishment?
We’ve discussed in other chapters the bane of Baltimore personal injury litigation, for victims and lawyers alike– the uninsured defendant. The same sort of frustration can set in where there is limited insurance, and a sizeable excess judgment above the policy limit. As Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.
There are more than a few lawyers who’ve obtained large judgments for the victims of car and automobile accidents, but can’t collect because that defendant has no insurance, no job, and no assets.
The availability and amount of insurance is a significant factor in determining the value of a case, as a case against an uninsured person may have no value at all. Maryland law allows for a garnishment of a judgment debtor’s wages, generally up to 25% of the “disposable wages”, and obligates employers to make the deductions and forward the payments to the judgment creditor. Ther are certain exemptions and other defenses the judgment debtor can raise. While the garnishment procedure is a matter or relatively straightforward compliance with a statute, investigating and determining who the appropriate garnishee is can be daunting.