How Much Will a Whistleblower Case Cost?

The short answer is nothing, initially. Not to file a Whistleblower case, and most of the time not ever. Unfortunately, we cannot say it will never cost anything, but even when it does cost you money those costs you pay usually come out of any recory you earn. Here is how it works:

Starting a False Claims Act Case

First of all to initiate a False Claims Act case (or another kind of qui tam too), the expenses are relatively small. Yes there is a federal filing fee, and yes there are minor administrative expenses.

Usually, when you file a qui tam case your lawyer will ask you to agree to a contingent fee arrangement.  That means, if you win your qui tam lawyer will get a share of whatever you recover and take expenses from that recovery as well.  There is also the possibility of statutory fees to be paid by the defendant, again in the event of a successful settlement or verdict.  So, you can file your case and take it quite a considerable distance without having to pay money up front.

Government Intervention in a Whistleblower Case

False Claims Act procedure is unique as far as we know under U.S. law and you should discuss the special procedures involved with your whistleblower lawyer.  They can work to your advantage.  The do require that when you file the case you have to inform the government about the facts of your case.  This is so the government can conduct an investigation of your claims.  During this investigation your case is kept “under seal” or in secret by the government.  You should not discuss it with anyone but your lawyer and with the government through your lawyer.

The government’s investigation can work to your advantage, of course.  If the government joins your case, or if they work with your attorney to settle the claims in your case, there are not likely to be very many expenses and more importantly, you are likely to earn a recovery.  The government can take over the prosecution and work with your lawyers to arrange a settlement or pursue the case in Court. You will pay your lawyer out of any recovery you win.

On the other hand, if the government declines your case you do still have the option of pursuing the matter without their support. Then it can get tricky.  Then you will have to have a long discussion with your lawyer as to whether or not such an action is advisable and if you are determined to proceed with the case at this point, there may be costs involved.  This can be risky but the law does give you a greater share of the recovery if you proceed and win after the government declines the case.

That decision if it comes at all, comes later. You may decide to pursue the case or you may decide not to pursue the case, but at least up until the point of the government’s decision as to whether or not to support your case, you should not have to pay up front, your attorney fees or costs.

For more information about Whistleblowers and Whistleblower law, see our Whistleblower page.