FAQs About Personal Injury Representation in NJ
Q: Why should I retain Jack Hoyt when he is not the only injury attorney out there?
A: Because, unlike many other attorneys, we have been doing nothing but personal injury work for decades, and he is an experienced, trained professional who will be in your corner personally every step of the way.
Q: Why is it important that Jack Hoyt has been included on the New Jersey Super Lawyers* list by his fellow attorneys?
A: Each year, attorneys practicing in New Jersey are asked to nominate lawyers they believe are in the top 5 percent of all attorneys in the state. Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis, and the results are published in New Jersey Monthly magazine. Jack Hoyt has been included repeatedly on the New Jersey Super Lawyers* list by his fellow attorneys statewide.
Q: What does it mean that Jack Hoyt is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney?
A: Only about 2 percent of all New Jersey lawyers are awarded this distinction. Ninety-eight percent of New Jersey attorneys are not certified civil trial attorneys (CCTAs). The designation indicates that attorneys such as Jack Hoyt have extensive training, education, and experience and meet certain high standards of legal competence and ethical history. They must also pass a rigorous written examination administered by the Supreme Court to be certified.
Q: What does it mean to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum?
A: It means that the attorney has been entrusted to handle significant cases that have resulted in verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more.
Q: Why is it important that Jack Hoyt used to represent insurance companies and now he represents injured people against them?
A: Your case will likely be against the responsible party’s insurance company. For the first 10 years of his career, Jack Hoyt represented insurance companies and knows their methods, the way they handle cases, what they are thinking, etc. This is an enormous advantage that many other attorneys don’t have.
Q: Who will actually handle my case?
A: Many law firms have you meet initially with a senior attorney and then give your case to a junior associate to handle. This will never happen at our firm. If we agree to represent you, the attorney who initially meets with you will be your attorney throughout.
Q: How does a contingency fee agreement work?
A: Contingency fee agreements mean that we are paid for representing you only if we win (settlement or verdict). You pay no retainer or money upfront or during the case. At the end of the case, you pay a percentage (set by Supreme Court rule) of the settlement or verdict out of the money recovered. Contingent fee agreements allow people who do not have much money to hire a very good lawyer anyway. They can also be beneficial because they encourage the expeditious conclusion of the case (the attorney does not get paid until you do.)
Q: I don’t like the idea of suing another person, even though I was badly hurt. What about this?
A: Fortunately, most people are smart enough to buy insurance, and that protects them when they injure someone else such as you. If Mr. Jones causes a car accident with you and you are injured, his insurance protects him and pays your claim. Mr. Jones does not. If Mrs. Smith’s dog bites you, her homeowners’ coverage likely will protect you and pay your claim. If a doctor injures you by malpractice, he almost certainly has coverage and the claim will not be paid from his pocket. All of these people have paid large premiums to their insurance companies and when you make a claim, the insurance company is simply being required to do what it was paid to do and it agreed to do: pay your claim.
Q: Do you always file suit against the person who caused an injury or is there some other way to handle it?
A: We have successfully resolved personal injury cases without ever having to file suit. If your injuries have clearly been caused by the fault or negligence of another person, we are sometimes able to negotiate with that person’s insurance company and settle the case without a suit. This makes it faster and more agreeable for everyone concerned. It is only when the insurance company is unreasonable in its settlement response or the case has complicated liability issues, medical issues or other issues that suit must be filed.
Q: I think there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there, like the McDonald’s hot coffee case, and I don’t want to be thought of as one of those people.
A: In reality, while some frivolous lawsuits are filed, they are very rare, and we do not handle them. We never have and never will. They are an embarrassment to us as ethical, well-established attorneys. Insurance companies in particular and people, in general, know that if someone is represented by our firm, the claim is legitimate and serious.
Q: If you handle my case and we win, won’t most of it just go to attorneys fees and taxes anyway?
A: No. Personal injury awards and recoveries are, by and large, free of federal and state income tax. It is probably the largest amount of tax-free money you will receive in your life and must be handled carefully because of that. On the other hand, you do have to pay attorneys fees, which are generally 25 percent of the net recovery for children and 33 percent of the recovery for adults. If you do not win, you pay nothing for your attorney.