When handled correctly, whistleblower cases can prevent fraud from occurring against the government, help make things right, and even compensate the whistleblower. However, too often these cases fall apart simply because mistakes are made during the process. This is largely because state and federal whistleblower laws are complicated. If you do not understand the laws, it is easy to not follow them correctly and this can lead to mistakes in your whistleblower claim. Below are the most common mistakes made in these cases, so you can avoid making the same ones in yours.
Not Understanding if You Have Protection
The federal False Claims Act and California’s False Claims Act both provide protections for whistleblowers. However, to enjoy that protection, the action that you are reporting on must fall into certain categories. For example, upcoding, kickbacks, billing for services not rendered, and billing for unnecessary medical procedures are all considered actions that may lead to a whistleblower claim. If the actions are not stipulated within the law, you may not have a valid claim.
Not Getting the Technicalities Correct
There are many technicalities involved in a whistleblower lawsuit. For example, you will likely have to report the wrongdoing internally before taking your case to court. If you fail to do this, or fail to follow any other technicality the law requires, you could ruin your case even before it has started.
Not Understanding Public Policy
Whistleblower laws are in place because they are meant to protect not only the government, but the public, as well. When the government is defrauded out of funding, it is ultimately the taxpayers who are affected the most. As such, you must understand if your claim violates public policy. That is, is the wrongdoing hurting the general public? This is often easy for employees who work in the public sector because they essentially work for the general public. Employees in the private sector may find proving public policy violations more difficult.
Having Unclean Hands
Having unclean hands means to have been involved in the wrongdoing somehow. Although whistleblowers can still often file their claim when they have unclean hands, the compensation they receive will be much less. They will also be questioned at length about their involvement, which can hold the process up and make a successful outcome more difficult. It is always better to report any wrongdoing immediately so this does not hurt your case.
Not Speaking to a California Qui Tam Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Whistleblower lawsuits require the support of a San Francisco qui tam lawyer. These lawsuits are some of the most complex, and an attorney can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. If you think you have a whistleblower claim, contact our qui tam attorneys at Willoughby Brod, LLP. We have the experience necessary to help with your claim, and to give you the best chance of success with it. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 to schedule your free consultation so we can advise on your case.