What Is a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
If you are familiar with a qui tam lawsuit, then you are aware of one of the strongest whistleblower protect laws in the United States. Qui tam is a shortened Latin phrase that translates to “he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself.” Qui tam is covered under the False Claims Act which allows an individual with evidence of fraud against a federal program to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the U.S. Government. The Government also has the option to join in. Qui tam lawsuits are equally as complex as they are powerful, helping the government recover billions of dollars lost in fraud.
Who Can File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Although a qui tam lawsuit is as top secret as lawsuits come, any individual with evidence of fraud against a federal program can file. These cases are kept completely under seal, not even the entity being accused of fraud will know. During this time, the Justice Department will investigate allegations to see if they are correct. If the government has already filed a False Claims Act against the same entity, based on the same evidence, you will not be permitted to file a lawsuit.
What Is the Safest Way to File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
A qui tam lawsuit is not like any other lawsuit. Whistleblowing is risky and must remain confidential. The safest way for an individual with evidence of fraud to file a qui tam lawsuit is by hiring an experienced attorney. Hiring a lawyer that specializes in qui tam cases can be the key in determining the success of your case and if you will receive an award of what amount. In addition to legal assistance, individuals may want to familiarize themselves with as much information as possible on the False Claims At and qui tam lawsuits. Several guidebooks have been written providing this information.
Rewards and Protections for Qui Tam Lawsuits
A qui tam lawsuit is not for the faint of heart. There are serious rewards, but also serious consequences. The government and the False Claims Act itself provides individuals job protection if their case helps the government recover funds. Whistleblowers take professional and personal risks to expose fraud against the government, while the fraud itself can endanger patients, U.S soldiers, and others. Protection for whistleblowers can also come in the form of experienced legal representation. If you believe you have evidence for a qui tam lawsuit, seek legal help immediately.
The reward a whistleblower receives depends on the type of case. Some factors that determine the amount of the reward are the quality of the case as originally presented to the Justice Department and the amount of work the whistleblower’s attorney performed to help the case succeed. If the government has to intervene and come to a settlement or trial, the whistleblower will receive 15 to 25 percent of the recovery. If the government does not have to intervene, the whistleblower will receive 25 to 30 percent of the recovery. Qui tam lawsuits and individuals who successfully serve as whistleblowers have seen lucrative payouts, some firms successfully winning over $1 billion in rewards for their clients.
If you are seeking justice for fraud against a federal program and have evidence against an individual or entity, you need to file a qui tam lawsuit. Keep in mind that the government still has the ability to join or decline based on how substantial your evidence is, but even then individuals have the option of still pursuing qui tam cases on their own.