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Asbestos Trust Funds

A mesothelioma diagnosis will change a person’s life. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that has no cure. Caused by long-term exposure to asbestos, victims of this illness are often left wondering if they can hold someone accountable for what has happened to them. Many victims are not diagnosed until decades after they were exposed to asbestos. At the Williams Law Firm, we want victims to know that there are many bankruptcy trust funds set up to help mesothelioma victims. We have decades of experience helping victims and their families secure the compensation they deserve.

What Are Asbestos or Mesothelioma Trust Funds?

A mesothelioma trust fund is created on behalf of negligent companies that exposed workers to asbestos and have gone bankrupt. These funds are established during the bankruptcy process to set aside money for any future asbestos exposure-related claims. These bankruptcy funds protect victims who deserve compensation for what has happened to them. 

Typically, when companies file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they seek to reorganize their finances in a way that allows them to continue to do business while they pay off their debts. This bankruptcy typically protects them from class-action lawsuits. However, the mesothelioma trust funds make money available to those exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos trust funds are set up when a company files for bankruptcy. If the company cannot afford to pay its asbestos liabilities, it submits a plan to create an asbestos trust fund – and how much it plans to put in the trust – to the bankruptcy courts for reorganization. The courts will estimate how much money should be put into the trust before granting approval for the plan.

What Companies Have Asbestos Trust Funds?

As more became known about asbestos and the health risks that it posed to workers, more companies created asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds to pay for their liabilities to impacted workers. Most of the trusts that currently exist were created in the 1990s and early 2000s, but there are many other recent trusts and new trusts being created each year. The list of companies that currently have asbestos trust funds is long. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • A-Best Products
  • ACandS, Inc.
  • API, Inc.
  • Armstrong World Industries 
  • Babcock & Wilcox 
  • Bondex
  • C.E. Thurston & Sons
  • Celotex Corporation
  • Combustion Engineering
  • DII Industries 
  • Eagle-Picher
  • EJ Bartells Co., Inc.
  • Federal Mogul Corp.
  • General Motors 
  • H.K. Porter Co., Inc.
  • Hercules Chemical
  • J.T. Thorpe
  • Johns-Manville Corporation 
  • Kaiser Aluminum Corp.
  • Keene Corp.
  • Owens Corning Corporation 
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation 
  • Plant Insulation Company
  • Porter-Hayden Co.
  • Turner & Newall
  • UNARCO
  • United States Gypsum 
  • UNR Industries, Inc./Unarco Industries, Inc.
  • W.R. Grace and Co. 
  • Western Asbestos
  • Yarway

This is not an exhaustive list and is constantly changing as companies continue to establish mesothelioma trust funds. To find out if the company that exposed you or a loved one to asbestos has a trust fund, contact an attorney who specializes in mesothelioma claims.

Do You Qualify for Compensation From a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and the company where you used to work or that exposed you to asbestos has a trust fund, you may qualify for compensation through the fund. You may also be eligible to file a trust fund claim if you are the loved one of someone who has lost his or her life due to mesothelioma or who is too ill to file on his or her own. Trust funds have eligibility requirements that limit the number of people who can file a claim. 

The eligibility requirements to pursue compensation through an asbestos trust fund include:

  • Proof of mesothelioma diagnosis or another asbestos-related diagnosis
  • Physician statement confirming the diagnosis
  • Proof of exposure to asbestos from that particular trust
  • Medical documentation describing the extent asbestos contributed to the victim’s disease

Typically, these forms of proof are enough to qualify someone for compensation through an asbestos trust fund. However, some trusts have additional criteria. For example, some ask for the date of asbestos exposure, the workplace where the exposure occurred and information about the product that led to asbestos exposure. An attorney can help you understand the requirements for the specific trust you seek to use and gather the documentation and evidence to prove your eligibility.

How Do You File a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Case?

These cases require assistance from a New York asbestos attorney because the process can become complicated. Your attorney will work to ensure all of the proper documentation is gathered. Your attorney will gather your medical and employment records and fill out all documentation required by the mesothelioma trust. Then, your lawyer will help you complete the multi-step process: 

  1. Identify the trust or trusts that you have the right to use. You may be able to file claims against more than one asbestos trust fund. Your attorney will work to determine how many funds you may have a claim against.
  2. Check the statute of limitations. Each trust sets its own statute of limitations, but most are around two to three years. The clock starts ticking on the date that the individual was diagnosed with mesothelioma or the date that the victim died of an asbestos-related disease.
  3. Collect the evidence and information necessary to prove your eligibility for compensation from a specific trust. Gathering information and paperwork from many decades ago can be difficult, but an attorney can help you with an in-depth investigation.
  4. File the trust fund claim by submitting the required documentation in paper form or uploading it digitally through the company’s designated website. This may include employment records, military service records, medical records, witness statements and affidavits.
  5. Wait for your claim to be reviewed. These claims are submitted to a bankruptcy trust administrator, not a judge or jury. The trust administrator will review the claim and all of the documentation submitted to verify that the claimant qualifies.
  6. The administrator determines the amount a mesothelioma victim should be paid. Your attorney will work to resolve any disputes in the amount the trust administrator approves and how much you think you should receive.
  7. You receive a check. Once a trust fund claim has been validated, the agreed-upon amount of money will be liquidated and assigned. Then, you will receive the compensation owed to you through a check. Typically, you are not required to pay taxes on compensation from an asbestos trust fund.

Each trust has a different process, and they each set their own timeline in which cases must be filed. The trust fund process is very different from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit filed for an asbestos-related illness in New York. With a lawsuit, you or your lawyer will present your case before a judge or jury for the courts to decide if the defendant is at fault for your condition. If so, you will be awarded a judgment that the defendant must pay.

What Is the Average Compensation From an Asbestos Trust Fund? 

The purpose of an asbestos trust fund is to help a patient who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness pay for the hardships caused by the diagnosis. A settlement obtained from an asbestos or mesothelioma trust fund can help a patient and his or her family pay for treatment, cover associated travel costs, replace lost income from the inability to work and provide some future financial security.

Based on the most recent numbers available, the average payout from an asbestos trust fund is around $180,000. Six-figure settlements are the most common. However, settlements have ranged from $7,000 to over $1 million. The value of your case is based on factors that are unique to you. The only way to accurately gauge the value of your asbestos or mesothelioma trust fund claim is by consulting with an attorney.

Determining factors for trust fund claim values include the type of asbestos-related illness diagnosed, the payment schedule initially established by the trust and the current payment percentage. Each asbestos trust assigns values to different types of diseases – referred to as a “schedule.” The payment percentage is a set percentage of a claim’s value that is used to preserve money for future victims. 

For example, if a victim receives the median value of $180,000 and the trust fund has a payment percentage of 25 percent, the payout would be $45,000. Every year, each trust’s designated trustee evaluates its funding to determine if the percentage needs to be adjusted, such as lowered to ensure that future claimants receive compensation. You may also be entitled to compensation from Social Security Disability Insurance, veterans benefits, personal insurance or an asbestos lawsuit.

Can You Sue a Bankrupt Company? 

No, mesothelioma victims cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against a company that successfully files for bankruptcy protection. These companies are protected from asbestos-related lawsuits. That is why the law required them to establish mesothelioma trust funds.

Claims made with these trust funds are not lawsuits, but they can still pay out a significant amount of compensation to workers injured by negligent companies that exposed them to asbestos.

However, if your asbestos exposure was caused by a solvent company, you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. These companies are not afforded bankruptcy protection. A personal injury lawsuit will have an entirely different process, and you will need a skilled mesothelioma attorney to help you. 

Regardless of how you pursue compensation, the Williams Law Firm is ready to help. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling (855) 575-6376.

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