60 Seconds of Law

Short videos containing useful information about personal injury and bankruptcy.

Hello, I’m Chris Layton and I’m a personal injury and bankruptcy attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our firm has built a reputation for effective representation for our clients, combined with a very personalized experience for the client throughout the process.

When you work with The Layton Law Firm, you’ll get to know your paralegal and your attorney, and you’ll stay informed as your case progresses and develops.

When deciding which law firm to hire for your personal injury or bankruptcy, we know it’s an important decision. If you would like a consultation to discuss your legal questions, we’re here to help. All consultations are absolutely free and can be done over the phone or in person. You can request one by calling us or by requesting one through our website. Answering questions is part of our job and we’re happy to do it. That’s true even if you don’t end up moving forward with our firm.

We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

This video helps you understand how a bonus works in Chapter 13. The Layton Law Firm PLLC routinely represents bankruptcy clients who receive annual bonuses or commissions. We have been able to successfully assist clients in keeping those bonuses and commissions in Chapter 13. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, we are here to help.

Can I Keep My Bonus In Chapter 13?

You can keep your bonus in Chapter 13 provided you account for it in your Net Disposable Income allocated to creditors. When you file Chapter 13, your payment is partly based upon your “Ability to Pay” your creditors. Your ability to pay your creditors is determined by providing the court with a monthly budget: income minus expenses.

Generally speaking, additional funds that come into your ownership during Chapter 13 are property of the bankruptcy estate. As such, your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney will seek approval for you to keep those funds if possible. In the case of a bonus in Chapter 13, so long as you have already accounted for the bonus in your monthly income and expenses calculations, you can keep the bonus. Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will work with you to do this. Lastly, the way to account for the bonus is to simply take the average bonus, divide it by 12 (months in the year), and add that amount to your gross income calculations.

Can I Keep Tax Refunds In Bankruptcy?

Tax refunds are not “income earned in the last sixty days,” and as such, they are not exempt assets under NC sec. 1-362. If you have exemptions remaining under NC sec. 1C-1601(a)(2), you can protect your tax refund with that exemption. That exemption is commonly known as the “Wild Card” exemption and can be applied to any assets.

In Chapter 13, you must petition the court to keep your tax refund. Generally speaking, each debtor will be able to keep the first $1,000.00 of a tax refund. If your refund exceeds this amount, you will need approval from the court to keep it. Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will assist in notifying the trustee of your refund, and providing an explanation as to why you should be able to keep it. In most cases, if you have a list of home improvements or vehicle repairs that need to be done, you can allocate the funds to those items. It is quite common that you can keep your entire refund in Chapter 13, based on this analysis.

Bonus Not Yet Earned

You may be wondering if you can keep a bonus in Chapter 13 if you have not already earned the bonus. If you have a potential bonus that you have not yet earned, there is good case law that supports the contention that those funds are not part of the bankruptcy estate and therefore they will be yours to keep. Our firm, together with The Law Offices of Kevin Radey, won a case on this very issue, in the Western District of North Carolina. You can read that case summary on Bloomberg Law.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If you’re considering filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, speak with an attorney today. Bankruptcy is a powerful solution that immediately affects your life for the positive. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to you.


This video helps passengers in a car accident determine who to sue for their injuries. The Layton Law Firm PLLC routinely represents passengers and helps them wade through the insurance policies involved in the possible settlement or lawsuit for their injuries. If you have been in a car accident, we are here to help.

If you are a passenger in a car accident, you sue the at-fault party or at-fault parties. This will require a review of the police report, which a personal injury attorney can assist you with. You may be able to sue both the driver of your vehicle and the other driver, depending upon the facts of the car accident, as well as how much insurance each party has.

If you’re a passenger in a car accident, and if you suffer injuries, you most likely have a right to a personal injury passenger claim. Your personal injury lawyer will work to establish liability with an insurance carrier for either your driver or another driver. Once liability is established, your personal injury lawyer will negotiate the claim based upon your injuries, medical treatment and billing, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our firm routinely files personal injury passenger claims and we hope this article is helpful.

Am I Responsible As A Passenger?

Generally, unless they contributed in some way to the accident, passengers are not responsible for the accident. An exception would be where the passenger contributed to the accident in some manner. North Carolina has a rule of law known as Contributory Negligence. Under Contributory Negligence, if you were deemed to contribute to the accident by as little as 1%, a jury would be instructed to award you nothing for your personal injury passenger claim.

Below, are some examples of Contributory Negligence of passengers in a personal injury passenger claim:

  • Voluntarily riding with a driver you know or should know is impaired. An example would be getting into a vehicle with a friend whom you had been drinking alcohol with at a bar.
  • Awareness that your driver is violating the law or has a history of doing so. An example would be that you are aware your driver has been cited for reckless driving numerous times, and you choose to ride in their vehicle. However, you will not be made responsible to warn an otherwise reasonable driver who is driving above the speed limit.
  • Continuing as a passenger in a vehicle with a reckless driver after being given a chance to exit the vehicle. An example would be a driver is driving recklessly and at an excessive speed. The driver stops for gas. At that time you have an opportunity to exit the vehicle. If you remain a passenger in the vehicle and the driver later injures you, Contributory Negligence may bar your recovery. Bell v. Maxwell, 246 NC 257, SE 2nd 33 (1957).

Which Driver Is Responsible For A Passenger’s Injuries?

Whichever driver is the at-fault driver will be held responsible for the injuries to a passenger in a car accident. Additionally, if you exhaust the at-fault driver’s insurance policy proceeds, you may recover under your own auto insurance policy. Your under-insured motorist coverage will serve as a potential source of additional funds in this scenario.

Personal Injury Passenger Claims In Multiple Car Accidents

If you are a passenger in a multiple car accident or a “pile-up” accident, you may recover from multiple drivers. For example, suppose your vehicle rear-ends the vehicle in front of you. Then, the vehicle behind you rear-ends the vehicle in which you are traveling. Most likely, your injuries from the accident will be a result of both the first and the second collision. Your personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies for both your driver and the driver who hit you. Your driver is responsible for a failure to maintain a safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead. The driver behind you is responsible for the same, as in most rear-end auto accidents. Typically, the two insurance companies will agree upon a percentage of your injuries for which each insurance company is responsible. Your personal injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement with each insurance company, or file suit in the alternative.

Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have a personal injury passenger claim, speak with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer today. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. You will speak directly with a personal injury lawyer. Part of our job is helping you understand your rights. We know you have choices, and we hope you choose to Recover With Us. Want to see what our clients have to say? Click HERE.

 

This video helps you understand how your creditors are provided notice about your bankruptcy filing. The Layton Law Firm PLLC routinely represents bankruptcy clients in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Who Notifies Creditors About My Bankruptcy Filing?

The Bankruptcy Court notifies your creditors about your bankruptcy filing. The most common way that creditors find out about the bankruptcy filing is from a letter directly from the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court.  All creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules will receive notice of the filing. The form of the letter is known as a B-9A and it contains all kinds of detailed information about the filing.  It lists the debtor, the debtor’s address, and the last four digits of the Social Security number.  It names the attorney for the debtor as well as the address and the phone number.  Of course, it has the case number.  It has the jurisdiction in which the case was filed and most importantly, it has the trustee as well as the date, time, and location of the Meeting of Creditors.  There is also some information on the B-9A regarding what actions certain creditors can take or not take now that a case has been filed. Sometimes, the debtor may not want to wait for letters from the court to reach creditors. According to long time Chicago bankruptcy lawyer David Siegel:

In some situations, you don’t want to wait for the clerk to notify your creditors but you want to have your attorney send an Automatic Stay to the creditor in advance of receiving notice from the clerk.  This would be common if there is a garnishment or other type of court proceeding and you want the creditor to get notice immediately about your bankruptcy filing.  The Automatic Stay is a one-page document that gets sent to creditors either by fax or email notifying them that a case has been filed on your behalf and that certain actions cannot be taken.  Those actions include any type of effort to collect on a debt including sending statements, making phone calls or trying to attach bank accounts or wages.

Only Listed Creditors Will Receive Notice, So be Thorough

It is important to emphasize that only creditors listed on your schedules will receive notice of your bankruptcy filing. If you leave a creditor off your filing, they will not be bound by the discharge.

Having said that, if they do receive notice, they should immediately stop harassing you. If you are having problems with a particular creditor, notify your attorney.  He or she has the ability to send additional notices and motions to take that creditor before the bankruptcy court for sanctions.  Creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect on debts once they receive notice that a bankruptcy case has been filed.

The Bottom Line

As long as you follow the rule of full disclosure, and list all debts and assets, your attorney, as well as the clerk, will help make sure that each creditor is notified about your bankruptcy filing.

Further Reading

Can I Keep Credit Cards In Bankruptcy?

How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?

Speak With A Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Call us at 704.749.7747 to get your questions answered and take the next steps toward filing bankruptcy in Charlotte, North Carolina. Or, click for a FREE BANKRUPTCY CONSULTATION and we will reach out to you shortly. The call is free and we’re here to help. We know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.