When a person notices that someone else or another entity is defrauding the government through a Medicare scheme or another type of healthcare fraud, that person may often consider blowing the whistle and filing a qui tam lawsuit. These individuals are important because they help make things right and do not only help the government, but also all taxpayers in the country. If you have noticed wrongdoing and want to file a qui tam claim, below are six important facts you should know.
You Need to Act Fast
Many whistleblowers sit on the fact that they saw wrongdoing for a long time. It is important that you do not. In the False Claims Act, there is a rule known as first-to-file. This means that the first person that files the lawsuit will act as the relator and no other claims can be filed. If someone else notices the same wrongdoing and files a claim first, you are barred from receiving compensation for blowing the whistle.
Patience is Important
Although you have to act fast once you see wrongdoing, you then must be patient. The Department of Justice and other federal agencies will conduct an investigation which could take months, or even years. There is little you can do to speed up this process, but your identity will be protected the entire time.
You do Not Have to Go Through it Alone
Although the first whistleblower that files is the first one that gets to follow through on the case, there can be more than one whistleblower on the case. Whistleblower lawsuits can have multiple defendants, which can be useful when different people have access to different information and evidence.
It is Best to Remain Silent
Being a whistleblower is a big deal and it will likely consume much of your thoughts. However, it is important that you do not speak to anyone about the case. The first reason for this is that others may file the suit first, barring you from securing compensation. Talking about the case, though, may also cause you to forfeit compensation. The False Claims Act prohibits you from speaking about the case while it is still under investigation unless you have court approval. The only person you should speak to about your case while it is ongoing is your qui tam lawyer.
You May Not be a Whistleblower
The purpose of the False Claims Act and other whistleblower statutes is to alert the government about fraud of which they would not otherwise be aware. If you read about the wrongdoing in a newspaper or saw it on the news, it is already public information and so, you are not blowing the whistle by coming forward.
You Need the Right California Qui Tam Lawyer
There are very few San Francisco qui tam lawyers, as it is not a major area of practice for most lawyers across the country. Due to this, you must ensure that your lawyer has the necessary experience to handle these complex claims and that he or she understands the highly technical aspects that come with them.
At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we have helped many whistleblowers find success with their claims, and we want to help you, too. Throughout your claim we will advise you of what to expect, help you gather evidence, and give you the best chance of success with your claim. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 to schedule your free case evaluation and to learn more about how we can help.