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How to Apply for Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds were formed exclusively to provide financial compensation to people who developed asbestos-related diseases after being exposed at work, in their homes and from family members. Anyone who has developed an asbestos disease, including mesothelioma, should consider filing a claim.

Trusts were started as an easier way for victims to get compensation for asbestos injuries, so they are less complicated than lawsuits. Mesothelioma trust funds allow patients and their families to obtain compensation without having to go to court.

All asbestos trusts have individual trust distribution procedures (TDPs) and are privately managed. Each trust is overseen by at least one trustee, a trust advisory committee (TAC) and a future claimants’ representative (FAC).

Determine Sources of Injury

Do what it takes to uncover former workplaces for clues regarding asbestos exposure. Talk to family members, friends and former co-workers. Look in photo albums and go through old documents for information about former jobs. Check the Internal Revenue Service for a job history.

For many people there are also several places where asbestos exposure could have taken place besides work. This could include the hairdresser, the auto repair shop or while doing a loved one’s laundry.

Review the Trust Criteria

A majority of the trusts have websites that detail the criteria needed to apply for compensation. In general, they all need the following:

  • Dates and locations of exposure
  • Information about the asbestos-containing products
  • Medical documents that prove illness

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Collect and Document Evidence

Each trust has different standards of evidence necessary to prove exposure and the level of illness. Generally, trust administrators, also called trustees, want the following:

  • Employment documents
  • Military records
  • Written and signed witness statements
  • Detailed medical records showing diagnosis
  • Confirmation of illness from a board-certified physician

File the Claim

At this point, asbestos-disease patients must determine if they will file for an expedited or individual review.

For an expedited review, the trustees review the documentation to determine the level of exposure and extent of illness. The more grave the prognosis the greater the chance for an expedited determination.

Individual reviews are examined by the trustees more thoroughly and can often result in higher payouts. Anyone denied an expedited review can file for an individual review.

Most asbestos patients and their families prefer to have qualified mesothelioma attorneys gather and send the appropriate documents, since they are well versed in trust fund procedures.

Claims Review and Payment

All claims are typically reviewed by claims processing companies or internal claims reviewers. At any point during the process, the claim can be returned to the claimant to fix errors or request more evidence.

If the trustee finds the claim meets the criteria, the trust makes an offer to the claimant.

Each trust pays only a percentage of the scheduled disease value to ensure there is enough funding for everyone in need and the more seriously injured claimants are justly compensated. The average payment is 25 percent of the scheduled value, but can be higher based on the severity of the disease.

If the claim is denied, the claimant can pursue arbitration or civil action.

If you are considering pursuing an asbestos trust claim, don’t go it alone. Contact our Patient Advocates for more information about how we can help you successfully file an asbestos trust claim.

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