Q & A

What does it cost to hire a Questioned Document Examiner, also known as a Forensic Document Examiner, or Forensic Handwriting Analyst?

There is no set fee schedule for QDE services. The fees for QDE cases are set by each examiner. The QDE will ask questions regarding the case and determine what the charges for that particular case will be.

Can I pay after my case settles? Can I pay in installments?

No, the role of a QDE is to present a totally unbiased professional opinion. If the QDE is waiting until after the case is settled or is accepting installment payments, the QDE’s testimony will not be accepted by the court. It is not possible to be unbiased if waiting for payment until the outcome of the case has been decided. Payment must be made at the first meeting. If you cannot pay the fee sometimes a family member or lawyer will pay the fee and settle later.

Do I have to have an attorney before working with a QDE?

I do not work pro se. Meaning I do not work cases where there is no attorney involved. Some QDEs do so, you would have to check and find one that is willing to work directly with you if your case goes to court without an attorney.

How do I find an attorney?

The best way is, of course, to ask friends and family. If you are unable to find an attorney that way, you can call the state legal board for your state. The Board will be able to give you the names of attorneys in your area of the state. They can sometimes, not always, tell you if the attorney will work the client fees depending on the outcome of the court decision on the case.

Do I have to sign a contract?

If you are working with me, then yes. It will state exactly what will be expected from the QDE and also what is expected from you the client. It is a protection document for both parties.

If a client pays the fee and signs the contract and the QDE does not determine that the client’s deductions regarding the documents, signatures, etc. are valid; in other words, the client does not like the QDE report can the client get his money back?

No, you are paying for a professional opinion regarding the documents submitted. The QDE is an unbiased professional. Whatever the outcome, there is a long list of procedures to determine the authenticity of questioned documents. So the contracted payment covers those fees and time spent preparing any affidavits or exhibits for court.

After the QDE reaches a professional opinion from the documents submitted, how does the client get the results?

If you are working with me, I will give you and your attorney an oral report of my findings. If the attorney wishes me to submit written affidavits, exhibits, or other court related material, I will do so according to his wishes.

After hiring the QDE and giving him or her my attorney’s information do I still stay in direct contact with the QDE?

After initial contact with the attorney, I will usually be working with the attorney rather than direct contact with the client. By allowing the attorney to be the contact for the case documents, the attorney, QDE, and client all have the same information and understand the requirements of the court.