Mesothelioma and Asbestos Trust Funds
A mesothelioma trust fund has been established for the benefit of negligent asbestos corporations that have filed for bankruptcy. The trusts’ main goal is to lay aside funds for potential asbestos claims. These trust funds protect mesothelioma victims who are owed money from asbestos companies that can’t pay.
What Is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?
Large sums of money have been set aside by asbestos corporations to cover mesothelioma lawsuits. If a patient or family member is eligible, they can ask for money from the trust.
Numerous mesothelioma litigation over the last few decades has resulted in thousands of claims against asbestos businesses, leading to significant settlements and jury judgments. Many of these businesses reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to reduce the amount of money they would have to pay to mesothelioma patients. This compelled businesses to establish trust funds to compensate victims who had been exposed to their products in the past, present, and future. These trusts are also known as asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, asbestos trust funds, or mesothelioma trust funds.
Before the usage of asbestos became widely known in the late 1970s, it was a common material. Despite being aware of the health concerns, many asbestos companies nevertheless used asbestos. Companies that work with asbestos include both those that mine and produce the mineral as well as those that use asbestos to create products that contain asbestos.
Numerous individuals who have been exposed to asbestos run the danger of contracting illnesses like mesothelioma. Asbestos can be ingested by people in the following ways:
Each year, there are more diagnoses involving asbestos. Victims are still suing the businesses that unjustly exposed them to asbestos for compensation. From these trust funds, victims may get money to pay for medical bills and lost wages.
Why Are Asbestos Trusts Created?
To give exposed victims and their loved ones recompense, asbestos trusts were established. Trust funds gave businesses a way to handle asbestos lawsuits and claims that were still to come.
Many businesses declare bankruptcy in an effort to reduce or get rid of their obligations. Some were left with no choice because they lost all of their profits covering asbestos lawsuits. Companies that deal with asbestos file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 or Chapter 7.
Bankruptcy Types and Asbestos Companies
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation bankruptcy)-He demanded that asbestos corporations sell all of their assets. The proceeds from these assets were then awarded to victims by the courts.
- Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization bankruptcy)- This allowed asbestos businesses to restructure and continue operating. These businesses established trust funds.
Businesses that file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy must restructure. Reorganization shields businesses from mesothelioma litigation. Instead, all claims are handled by their trust funds.
In court, the businesses must produce a business plan that includes an estimation of the trust’s initial funding. A judge names a trustee and decides whether to approve or reject the reorganization plan. The trustee is in charge of trust appraisal.
The asbestos trusts with the longest histories right now belong to Johns-Manville Corporation, Celotex Corporation, Eagle Pitcher, and UNARCO. The number of businesses concluding legal actions and creating active trusts is increasing.
Who Can File a Claim with the Asbestos Trust Fund?
Most people who were exposed to asbestos and later got mesothelioma or another disease linked to asbestos are eligible to file a claim.
Employees who were exposed to asbestos at work, employees who used asbestos-containing products, household members who were exposed secondhand, people who were exposed to asbestos in the environment, and family members who lost a loved one because of asbestos exposure can all file claims to the trust fund.
What Amount Remains in Asbestos Trust Funds?
There are over 60 asbestos trust funds that are active, with $30 billion slated for potential claims.
Since the late 1980s, these trusts have distributed nearly $20 billion to claimants. This sum includes the $15 billion in projected payments made between 2006 and 2012.
Asbestos-related diseases take a long time to show symptoms, so new claims are likely to come up for a long time.
Trusts are created following meticulous estimation procedures. The amount of money that ought to be set aside for existing and future asbestos claims is decided in these proceedings. To make sure the money lasts long enough to compensate future claimants, management processes are devised.
Claimants often receive a portion of the amount their claim is worth in order to ensure that there is adequate money available for subsequent claims. This keeps funding from running out too quickly, but it also means that most victims receive less aid than they otherwise might.
Filing an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
A trust fund claim must be submitted after completing a number of processes, such as satisfying the fund’s requirements and obtaining supporting documentation. A mesothelioma attorney will walk you through these steps in order to provide you with peace of mind and allow you to concentrate on your rehabilitation.
The structure of how a claim from an asbestos trust fund moves forward includes a claim review process.
Step 1: Meet Trust Fund Criteria
Each asbestos trust fund establishes its own standards that must be satisfied in order to submit a valid claim. Usually, the conditions are posted on the trust fund’s website.
The requirements often consist of :
- When your asbestos exposure occurred
- Where the exposure took place
- Proof of an asbestos-related diagnosis
- Information or evidence about the asbestos products you were exposed to
- Statute of limitations for filing a claim
Step 2: Gather Proof to Back Up Your Claim
Together with your attorney, you will compile proof to back up your claims.
Evidence often needed to submit an asbestos trust claim includes:
- Patient’s Diagnosis: such medical evidence as a pathology report and imaging scans that support an asbestos-related diagnosis.
- Physician Statement: A written confirmation of the diagnosis from a licensed medical professional, such as a doctor or oncologist.
- Exposure Site: Documentation proving exposure to asbestos, such as witness testimony, job records, and invoices.
- Asbestos Involvement: Medical records outlining the degree to which asbestos caused the claimant’s illness.
Step 3: Submitting Your Claim
Your attorney will submit the evidence in accordance with the trust’s procedures after they have gathered it. While some trusts may require mailing in a written claim, the majority of trusts accept claims made online through their websites.
Your lawyer will choose the most effective way to submit your claim in order to guarantee a speedy approval procedure.
Step 4: Reviewing the Claim for Approval
When asking a trustee of a fund to consider your claim, you typically have two alternatives. However, you should first consult the trust’s administrators or ask your lawyer to walk you through the procedure.
The trust administrators will assess the evidence in your claim in one of two ways:
- Based on your diagnosis: your claim will be bundled with similar claims so that trust administrators can review claims more quickly. An expedited review carries a fixed payment amount, and payment is often processed more quickly than with an individual review.
- Individual Review: As opposed to an accelerated review, your claim will be examined on an individual basis. Through an individual evaluation, other criteria are taken into account, such as the severity of your illness and the number of dependents you have. The payment amount may differ from the fixed fee for an expedited review by more or less.
The form of asbestos trust fund review that is most likely to improve the outcome of your case can only be determined with the assistance of a seasoned mesothelioma lawyer.
Filing a Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Patients with mesothelioma and the people they love can pursue compensation in a number of different ways. People may seek to launch a mesothelioma lawsuit or pursue veterans’ benefits in addition to a trust fund claim. A mesothelioma attorney can assist people in selecting the best course of action.
Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Trust Fund Claim
- Victims file a claim against a specific trust fund.
- Claimants must meet trust fund eligibility requirements.
- Claims must go through review and approval.
- Compensation is subject to trust fund payout percentages.
- Victims file a claim against asbestos manufacturers for wrongful exposure.
- The claimant may reach a settlement to avoid further court proceedings.
- If the case goes to trial, claimants may pursue a jury verdict.
- Lawsuits may have a higher payout but often take more time.
Veterans may be able to submit a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States (VA). There are numerous VA claim types that can be filed for compensation and extra benefits.
Can Trust Fund Claims Affect Legal Proceedings?
Federal laws and regulations set most of the rules for trust funds. Some states, however, have extra regulations in place. Some states, for instance, permit setoffs. Setoffs take a claimant’s pay from a trust fund that will be paid out of future jury verdicts or settlements.
Additionally, certain states allow attorneys to use information from trust fund claims to back up their legal arguments. Claimants should talk about the best compensation alternative and how it can affect upcoming legal actions.