Asbestos Trust Funds
Nationwide, over 58 companies have put aside more than $30 billion in asbestos trusts to compensate injured workers and their families. These companies have acknowledged their disregard for worker safety and have been compelled during bankruptcy proceedings to create asbestos trust funds.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows struggling businesses to reorganize their finances and continue operating to maximize profits. For companies facing asbestos litigation, it is a way to stop legal proceedings and protect the company from future liabilities. U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires companies involved in asbestos litigation and seeking bankruptcy protection must establish asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
Similar to filing an asbestos lawsuit, claimants are required to provide evidence of asbestos exposure. In many cases, evidence points to negligence from several companies. At-fault companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection can be held responsible through trusts while other companies can be sued in court. It is not uncommon for one claimant to have claims on several companies.
Asbestos Trust Fund List
Asbestos trusts were created by negligent companies that knowingly exposed their workers to asbestos. The following trusts were created to provide compensation for injured workers and their families:
Trust Fund Claim Process
- File a Claim – The claimant submits supporting documentation regarding the injury.
- Claim Review – Trustees review the claim for accuracy to determine if the claimant meets the medical requirements.
- Claim Liquidation – Claimants are offered a financial settlement amount that can be negotiated.
- Payment Disbursement – In some cases, large settlement amounts can be broken into payments.
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Asbestos Trust Fund FAQ’s
- What are the criteria to file an asbestos trust fund claim? Bankruptcy trust procedures require asbestos-exposure victims and their families to submit documentation that confirms an asbestos-related illness diagnosis. This includes employment records, medical documentation and a death certificate, if applicable. Anyone who files an asbestos claim must meet medical requirements set by individual trusts. Each trust has lists of compensable diseases, including asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Claimants who choose an expedited review, which offers quicker payments, must meet a minimum set of presumptive exposure and disease levels. Individual claims require more detailed information but may provide higher payouts because they are considered based on individual merits. Anyone seeking funds from an asbestos trust should contact a qualified asbestos lawyer for assistance through the complicated procedure.
- Who is eligible for compensation from asbestos trust funds? Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any asbestos-related disease is likely eligible for compensation from asbestos trusts. This includes workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job and their family members, who were exposed to second-hand asbestos. Claimants must be able to prove the exposure, through a combination of employment documents, medical records and, in some cases, witness testimony. If the victim has died, close family members, including a spouse, children and parents, can file a claim to receive compensation from trusts. The best way to determine your eligibility is to contact our qualified asbestos attorneys today for a free consultation.
- How much is the average settlement amount from asbestos trust funds? On average, asbestos trust claimants with mesothelioma receive $180,000 per claim, with an award range from $7,000 to $1.1 million. Other asbestos-related diseases offer different settlement amounts. The amount of individual trust fund settlements are determined by a number of factors including the type of asbestos-related disease, progression of the disease and amount of exposure. Overall, the 30 largest asbestos trust funds contain some $30 billion to compensate victims. Most trust funds pay only a percentage of the requested amounts to ensure there is enough money for all victims. The compensation percentage amounts periodically increase and decrease, depending on the amount of claims made on the trust.
- How are claim values calculated? Each trust has individual guidelines for payments based on a list of occupation and compensable diseases, including asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The amount of compensation depends on a number of factors, including type of exposure and severity of the disease. Those with the most severe disease, such as mesothelioma, receive the highest claim amount. Claimants diagnosed with mesothelioma receive about $180,000, on average. The award amounts over the some 60 available trusts range from $7,000 to $1.1 million, depending on the total funding in the trust and the amount of claimants. In general, claims submitted in an expedited review receive a pre-determined amount, while claims submitted under individual review receive compensation based on personal circumstance.
- How long does the trust fund claim process last? The time to process a claim varies greatly depending on the information provided when the claim is filed. Those with limited or inadequate documentation are deemed deficient and sent back to the claimant for more information. Claims that are complete and in order generally receive an offer letter within six to eight weeks. All claims are paid on a first-in, first-out basis, except for claimants with severe financial hardship or exigent health claims, where there is medical doubt the claimant will survive six months or more due to an asbestos-related illness. Those claimants are put to the front of the line. An attorney experienced in trust fund claims can provide guidance and help submit the trust claim to expedite the process.
- Can a claim be filed if you do not know which company is responsible for the asbestos exposure? It is not uncommon for asbestos-injured claimants to be unable to pinpoint the company responsible for the exposure. In many cases, there is more than one company responsible. Federal bankruptcy code does not limit the number of trust claims an individual can file. There is also no limit on the total allowable compensation. It is not unusual for an asbestos-injured claimants or family members to file claims and receive compensation from multiple asbestos trusts. The best way to identify at-fault companies is to hire an asbestos attorney. Our skilled attorneys will review your work history and other details to help narrow the companies responsible for your exposure.
- How do I file a claim against an asbestos trust fund? With a confirmed diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness, claimants must determine which company or companies are responsible for the disease. From there, work records, medical documentation and witness statements must be obtained to prove your claim. The appropriate documents must be filed accurately and, in some cases, within a three-year statute of limitations from the diagnosis date. If any of the documentation is deemed incorrect or inaccurate, claimants must correct the mistakes, further lengthening the process. The simplest way to file an asbestos trust claim is to contact an attorney who can walk you through the complicated process. Our skilled asbestos attorneys can help uncover your work history to determine the at-fault company or companies.
- Dixon, Lloyd et al. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation. Retrieved From http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1104.html
- FundingUniverse. Johns Manville Corporation History. Retrieved From http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/johns-manville-corporation-history/
- U.S. Government Accountability Office. “Asbestos Injury Compensation: The Role and Administration of Asbestos Trusts.” Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-819
- Environmental Working Group. “When Bankruptcy Means ‘Business as Usual.’ Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/asbestos/facts/fact2.php