Just like when filing any lawsuit, whistleblowers are often hesitant to file because they are concerned about attorney fees. Many people think filing a qui tam lawsuit is going to cost a lot of money, and that is enough to prevent them from doing it. This is particularly true when a whistleblower is unsure of the merits of the case. Fortunately, qui tam cases typically do not cost the whistleblower that much, if anything at all. Below are a few of the most common costs whistleblowers think they will face, and how these fees really work.
The Contingency Fee
When you meet with an attorney for the first time to review your case, that consultation will usually be free. This consultation is simply to determine if your case has merit. If it does not, you are not charged anything for that meeting. If it does, the attorney will likely take the case on a contingency fee basis. This means that when the case is over, the attorney will receive a percentage of the compensation you are awarded. You do not have to pay for anything out of pocket. While working your case, the attorney will pay for all expenses including reaching out to expert witnesses, traveling, and completing and filing documentation.
Filing the Case
If you decide to start a qui tam case without the help of an attorney, it will still cost you very little. There is typically a filing fee and some minor administrative costs, but it will not cost you much more than that. Although no one should file a qui tam case without the help of a lawyer, if you do, the expenses will be very low.
If the Government Intervenes
When you file a qui tam lawsuit, you are actually filing on behalf of the government. After filing, you will need to tell the government the facts of the case. If they decide to intervene at that point, you will likely not need to pay any attorney fees because your attorney is no longer trying the case; the government is.
If the Government Does Not Intervene
The government can always decide not to intervene in the case. In this instance, you may incur some costs once the case is over, but if you win, you will also receive a larger award because the government decided not to be a part of it.
Recovering Attorney Fees
Both the federal False Claims Act and the California False Claims Act have provisions that allow whistleblowers to recover their attorney’s fees and other expenses. This means if you are successful, the defendant, or the person or company you blew the whistle on, is responsible for paying your attorney’s fees.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Qui Tam Lawyers in California
If you have noticed wrongdoing and want to make it right by blowing the whistle, do not let the fear of attorney’s fees stop you. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, our California qui tam lawyers will hold defendants responsible for paying damages for their misconduct, and for providing any fees you incurred while going through the process. When you need to blow the whistle, we are here for you. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.