Can a Personal Injury Settlement be Garnished?
Personal injury victims receive their settlements and judgments when they’re in a variety of particular circumstances. You may have outstanding debts or obligations at the time you receive your injury settlement. These other obligations can weigh on your mind as you plan for your future.
You may have heard about creditors using garnishment procedures to get money from debtors. You might wonder if you need to work with a personal injury attorney to protect your injury settlement funds from garnishment. Learn more about what you need to know about whether a creditor can garnish your settlement here.
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Can a Personal Injury Settlement Be Garnished in Nevada?
Yes, a personal injury settlement can be garnished in Nevada. But there are some limitations. The first $16,150 of your injury settlement is exempt. However, payment for pain and suffering is not included in the $16,150 exemption. Therefore, your settlement may or may not be subject to garnishment in Nevada depending on the total amount of your settlement.
What Is a Garnishment?
A garnishment allows a creditor to seize assets from a debtor. If you owe someone money, garnishment is a legal proceeding that allows the creditor to take resources that you have to satisfy the judgment. A creditor can’t just claim that you owe them money and start taking your assets.
Instead, they have to have a legal judgment against you. They must also take the right steps to file a garnishment and serve it properly. A garnishment is a way that someone with a lawful judgment can collect the judgment from the debtor’s assets.
Nevada Law on Garnishment of Personal Injury Settlements
Nevada law Chapter 31 states the law for garnishments. Nevada law allows for garnishment as a method of collecting a debt. Nevada law 31.249 says that each person who wants to garnish property must have the order of the court. The person who seeks the garnishment must follow a specific procedure to comply with the law and make the garnishment effective.
Nevada law Chapter 21 is another Nevada law about enforcement of judgments including garnishments. Nevada law 21.090 gives the list of property items that are exempt from garnishment. A personal injury settlement is one type of exemption from garnishment.
The Personal Injury Garnishment Exemption Is Not Automatic
Even if you have a valid personal injury settlement exemption to a garnishment, you must take certain steps to protect your settlement. You must make a claim of exemption. In fact, you have only ten days from the date of the garnishment notice to claim your exemption. You must file the notice with the court, the sheriff, and the party trying to garnish your settlement.
If there’s a dispute about whether the creditor can garnish your settlement, you may need to attend a hearing in court. The judge can make a final decision. Here’s an example of what a garnishment exemption claim form looks like.
Garnishment Laws Depend on Each State
Nevada law allows garnishment of personal injury settlements above a certain amount. Other states have different requirements. Some states don’t allow garnishment of injury settlements at all, but you might find yourself in a jurisdiction that allows garnishment of 100 percent of a settlement. It’s essential to determine what state law applies to your case to determine whether your settlement is subject to garnishment.
Other Exemptions in Nevada Garnishment Laws
The first $16,150 of your injury settlement is exempt from judgment. There other types of property that are exempt from garnishment, too. Nevada law 31.045 gives a complete list of exemptions to garnishment. If you’re facing a garnishment, you should examine the entire list to see what applies to you. For example, Social Security payments are exempt from garnishment along with disability payments and unemployment benefits. Your home is also exempt up to a value of $550,000.
How to Structure Your Injury Settlement to Avoid Garnishment
If you’re about to receive a settlement for a personal injury claim, it’s important to look at your entire financial picture as you prepare to accept the settlement. If you have outstanding debts, you should let your attorney know.
If you keep the debts in mind as you receive your settlement, your attorney can help you structure the settlement in a way that’s advantageous to you. It’s your attorney’s job to help you handle all of the relevant aspects of your claim, and that includes addressing any garnishment that might attach to your settlement.
Wage Garnishments as Part of a Personal Injury Settlement
Wage garnishments are one thing to take into account when you’re considering whether to accept a settlement and how to structure a settlement. There are many ways that you can structure a settlement that you or a loved one is about to receive because of a personal injury accident. It’s important to talk to your attorney about your options for how to set up your settlement in a way that benefits you.
Your attorney should have a complete picture of your circumstances so that they can help you structure your settlement. An attorney is a professional, and they offer expert advice without judgment. The more information that you can give your attorney about your circumstances, needs, and goals, the better your attorney can help you create a plan that works best for you.
Our Attorneys for Personal Injury Settlement Garnishments in Nevada
Do you have questions about an injury settlement? Are you wondering how to structure your injury settlement or worried about a possible garnishment? Our skilled personal injury attorneys have experience helping injury victims address garnishment issues that might arise in their claim. It’s our goal to help you solve all of the problems and questions that might come up in your case in the best way possible.
Contact our team to talk about your case. We offer free consultations with no obligations, and we’re happy to answer all of your questions.
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Adam S. Kutner
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
With more than 31 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas valley, Attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.
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