Asbestos trust funds were developed as a way for asbestos victims to access fast compensation for medical bills and living expenses, but the process for determining eligibility can be time consuming and complicated.
It is important for mesothelioma patients and their families to move quickly to determine eligibility for asbestos trust claims. Most states limit the amount of time from a mesothelioma diagnosis that a legal or financial claim can be filed against an at-fault asbestos company.
Asbestos trust funds, also called asbestos trusts or mesothelioma trusts, were established as a way to compensate anyone who was injured by asbestos, whether it was on the job, at home or during military service. A majority of asbestos-related injuries can be traced back to companies that blatantly ignored numerous warnings about asbestos dangers and continued to manufacture and distribute asbestos-containing products.
People who are eligible for funding through mesothelioma trusts include:
Every asbestos-cancer victim has a different set of circumstances that require different forms of financial compensation. Some require funds quickly, so they opt for bankruptcy trusts, while others choose to file lawsuits. Others still choose to depend on VA benefits for help.
- Workers – Including anyone who worked in asbestos mines, companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products and companies or government agencies that used asbestos-containing products. This can include miners, factory workers, construction workers, homebuilders and firefighters.
- Homeowners – Includes anyone who used asbestos-containing products (such as sheetrock, insulation and ceiling tiles) in their homes.
- Veterans – Includes servicemen and women who were exposed during military service in occupations that include shipbuilders, welders, mechanics and pipefitters.
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What is the Eligibility Criteria?
Asbestos victims who plan to file a trust fund claim must detail the circumstances of the medical claim and connect the illness to an asbestos-containing product. Companies that produced asbestos-containing goods are wholly responsible for asbestos exposure. Some asbestos victims have claims against multiple companies. Attorneys look at three main criteria when reviewing a client’s eligibility for filing a claim on a bankruptcy trust:
- Proof of Disease – For a valid mesothelioma claim, medical records must show mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer as the primary cancer. A board-certified physician must sign a pathology report that provides a detailed description of the cancerous cells and tissues. Other medical documentation, such as X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and blood work results, must also document a mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Proof of Exposure – There must be a connection between the mesothelioma victim and the at-fault company’s asbestos-containing product. Since mesothelioma and other asbestos cancers take decades to appear, making the connection can be difficult. The leading asbestos attorneys make these connections by seeking out former employees of the at-fault companies, public records and other information that ties the victim to the company. Individual asbestos trusts each have criteria for proof of exposure, including approved lists of work sites where the company’s products were used. In cases where the exposure happened at a site not on the approved lists, companies use other documentation to prove exposure.
- Statute of Limitations – Every state limits the amount of time a legal claim for mesothelioma can be processed. This is typically between one and three years of an initial diagnosis. The statute of limitations usually begins immediately following an asbestos disease diagnosis. If the victim dies, the statute of limitations for a trust claim begins immediately after the death.
Eligibility Criteria for Family Members
If a mesothelioma patient dies prior to completing a mesothelioma claim, the family members may be able to file a claim. Such a claim allows close family members (including spouses, children, parents and other financial dependents) to seek financial compensation from a trust fund. There are several factors that contribute to successful asbestos claims for family members:
- Proven Exposure – Family members must provide a link between the asbestos and the disease. Family members might have a difficult time recalling the dates and places associated with the asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma attorneys research the possible places of exposure and can help make connections to asbestos-containing products.
- Corporate Negligence – A majority of asbestos manufacturers knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure while they continued to distribute dangerous products and put workers at risk. Skilled asbestos attorneys help patients determine the negligence of asbestos companies.
- Substantial Impact – Family members must show their loved one’s death had a substantial impact on their lives, finances and overall ability to live a stable life.
Determining Your Eligibility Status
To qualify for an asbestos trust claim, claimants must fulfill requirements that provide a link to asbestos or asbestos-containing products. To do this, mesothelioma patients depend on skilled attorneys who provide a clear path through the process of a claim and address the legal concerns. This assistance allows patients to focus on medical problems instead of the legal and financial concerns.
Contact our Patient Advocates today for more information about the eligibility requirements for asbestos trust claims.
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