If you’re wondering how whistleblower attorney fees work, and how much a qui tam lawsuit might cost you, the short answer is virtually nothing. While we can’t say it will never cost you anything, there is no initial charge to bring a case. In the event you do need to pay costs, it usually comes directly from the money recovered by the lawsuit.
Here is an overview of how the process usually works:
The Start: Filing a False Claims Act Case
The costs to get started on an FCA or qui tam case are relatively small, including a small federal filing fee and possible administrative expenses. However, when you file a qui tam case, your lawyer is likely to ask you to agree to something called a contingent fee arrangement. This means in the event you win your case, your lawyer will both get a share of the recovered funds, as well as the cost of fees and expenses.
It’s also possible the court will order the defendant to pay statutory fees if your settlement or case verdict is favorable. Regardless of which scenario occurs, you can file a case and carry it through to the end without needing to pay any money up front.
Government Intervention: Whether Uncle Sam Decides to Join Your Case
FCA claims are a bit different than the normal court case or civil litigation. When you file, you inform the government of your case, but not the defendant. You must inform them of the particular facts surrounding your case, so the government can investigate the claims. The entire time the government is conducting its investigation, the case is considered “under seal”; this means you can’t talk to anyone about it, except your lawyer.
Based on the results of their investigation, the government will then decide to join (or not). If they join, they will work with your attorney to settle the claims in your case. This also significantly increases the chances the court will find in your favor during the proceedings. The government may decide to take over the prosecution, and determine whether they are willing to settle or take it to full trial. Your portion of the recovery will be between 15% and 25% of the recovered amount, and you will pay your lawyer out of the proceeds.
In most cases, the government decides not join, or intervene, in a case. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t proceed. Many cases have been successfully settled without government intervention. In the event you decide to carry it forward, you and your lawyer will have another conversation about likely outcome and cost burden during the proceedings. Without the government’s help, you may need to cover some costs during the trial, but if you win the recovery, you’ll get as much as 30% of the recovered amount. You can then recoup your costs from the proceeds and pay any outstanding legal invoices.
More Questions on Whistleblower Attorney Fees?
No problem! Contact the skilled attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606, and ask about how we handle whistleblower attorney fees.