The Motor Liquidation Company (MLC) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust was created in 2012 and has over $625 million set aside for injured workers and their families. The MLC Asbestos PI Trust has an average settlement amount of $175,000 and a payment percentage of 18.7%.
As one of the Big Three automakers in the United States, General Motors manufactured scores of vehicles with asbestos-containing clutch facings and brake linings that put workers at risk for asbestos exposure.
GM, based out of Detroit, Mich., used asbestos-containing parts that included heat seals, gaskets, engine components and insulation in its vehicles despite the known dangers. From the earliest years of the company, asbestos was used in the vehicles. By the 1970s, scientific studies found working with brakes exposed workers to dangerous levels of asbestos.
Asbestos was also used in GM engine and brake plants nationwide, putting assemblers, fabricators, assembly line workers, skilled trade works and others at risk for exposure. Even today, GM may be one of the many car parts manufactures that still use asbestos. The deadly fibrous mineral is not banned in the United States.
By 2009, GM faced more than $636 million in asbestos claims and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The GM asbestos bankruptcy trust was established in 2012 and funded with $625 million for asbestos personal injury claims.
Through the 1980s and despite repeated warnings about health hazards, asbestos was used in GM brake and clutch systems to prevent overheating from friction. Later the company purchased appliance companies including Frigidaire and Delco-Heat, which used asbestos in its products as well. Some of the asbestos-containing materials used or manufactured by GM include the following:
Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos and developed any asbestos-related disease has the right to make a trust claim. The funds can be used to pay for anything from medical bills to living expenses. Contact us today to find out how we help asbestos victims get the compensation they deserve.
There are several occupations both inside the General Motors plants and in outside employment that are at risk for exposure to asbestos, as follows:
GM was founded in 1908 by auto industry pioneer William C. Durant, who grew the company through acquisitions and branding. In the years that followed, Durant twice lost control of GM to investors who were unhappy with his work.
GM grew through the 1930s and 1940s to acquire auto parts companies such as Hyatt Roller Bearing and appliance manufacturers such as Frigidaire. GM also played a major role in World War II by halting vehicle production to produce weapons, tanks and ships. The prosperity of the 1950s brought a surge in car sales, providing an economic boom for the company.
Despite warnings for decades about the dangers of asbestos, GM used asbestos-containing products in the parts and products that went into its vehicles. GM plant employees and their families were exposed along with mechanics outside the company who worked on GM brakes and parts.
By the time GM filed for bankruptcy, the company faced thousands of legal claims due to its asbestos use. The Motors Liquidation Company Asbestos PI (personal injury) Trust began accepting claims in April 2012.
The GM trust, like asbestos trusts, only pays a fraction of the requested amounts to allow for an even distribution of funds across all claimants. As of November 2016, the trust pays 18.7 percent.
In the 1930s, an internal survey of GM brake plants found airborne asbestos concentrations were the highest in areas where asbestos cord was unwound for use in clutch manufacturing, areas where clutch facings were sanded, and areas where dry ingredients were mixed for brake lining composition. Industrial hygiene experts recommended better ventilation for the areas. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the company installed industrial ventilation in some plants.
GM used auto parts that had heavy concentrations of asbestos. When GM received these products from the manufacturers, employees were ordered to vacuum the asbestos dust from the shipping containers, package the dust in plastic bags and ship the bags to the landfill. Today, dozens of former GM plants are considered environmental hazards from the use of dangerous toxins including asbestos.
In 1986, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) passed regulations that required warnings on brake products, but GM didn’t begin applying the warnings until 1989. GM, along with automakers Ford and Chrysler, have paid more than $43 million to scientific experts who testified in court that the amount of asbestos used in brake shoes and pads was harmless.
Similar to other asbestos-related bankruptcy trusts, the GM asbestos trust distributes funds in one of two ways: expedited review or individual review.
Asbestos victims who are gravely ill or in need of fast access to funds can choose the expedited review, which provides quick access to a settlement based on predetermined sums per disease type.
The GM trust provides settlements based on the severity of disease and the means of exposure. In all cases, claimants who were exposed to asbestos as a result of their work as auto mechanics may receive higher settlements.
|Asbestosis/pleural disease||Up to $4,000|
Claimants who opt for an individual review typically receive larger settlement amounts over the expedited review. However, the claims take much longer to process.
In making a determination for an individual review, trustees take several factors into account including the claimant’s age, level of disability, employment status, the number of dependents, the amount of pain and suffering, the disruption of the household and typical family recreational activities.
For non-mechanics who make an individual claim, the GM trust allows for the following level of compensation:
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