If you’re new to the medical industry, you may be wondering what a qui tam lawsuit actually is. Even if you’re an industry veteran, the term “qui tam” is not exactly intuitive, and you might be wondering who this Qui Tam person is. Keep reading for the details you need to know to get some clarification on this important topic.
What Is the False Claim Act, and Where Does Qui Tam Fit In?
The False Claim Act is a law protecting whistleblowers, and aimed at preventing and punishing anyone trying to defraud the government. Qui tam lawsuits are a particular type of civil lawsuit, covered under the FCA, which allow an individual or group to bring suit on behalf of the government.
The term “qui tam” is actually an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur” – or – he who brings a case on behalf of our lord the King, as well as for himself. Perhaps you can see why “qui tam” is the shortened abbreviation?
Protection for Qui Tam Whistleblowers
Under the FCA, whistleblowers are explicitly protected from retaliation and discrimination. This protection begins right from the start, with lawsuits being filed under seal. In other words, only the person filing and the government are aware of the allegations and ongoing investigation.
Once filed, an anti-retaliation provision takes effect. This protects the person filing (also known as a relator) from things such as being fired, harassment or other negative job-related problems resulting from reporting the fraudulent activities to the government. Anyone found to be in violation of the retaliation provision can be liable for double damages, plus additional attorney fees. Damages can include both lost wages, as well as other harm suffered.
Rewards for Favorable Qui Tam Lawsuits
In the event the relator wins their case, they can be awarded as much as 30% of the recovery money. How large the award is will depend on a few factors.
Firstly, whether or not the government decides to intervene, or “join,” your case. Generally speaking, the government is conservative in their case selection for intervention. They make the decision based heavily on how well researched the case is at the start, as well as the size, scope, and impact of the lawsuit. However, this only happens in a small minority of cases. It also significantly increases the chances a court will find in your favor. As a result, your percentage of the award is capped at 25%. If the government chooses not to intervene, you can be awarded as much as 30% of funds.
The lucrative nature of qui tam lawsuits means most attorneys take the cases based on outcome. Put another way? Your out of pocket expenses are likely to be less than other civil lawsuits.
Wondering If Your Case Qualifies?
Contact Bothwell Law Group at 770.643.1606 to find out more about what a qui tam lawsuit is and if your case qualifies.