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Asbestos Trust Funds

Set up by liable companies which entered bankruptcy protection, asbestos trust funds represent a very important source of financial compensation to people who were injured by occupational exposure. At the moment, there are 60 operating asbestos trust funds in the U.S. from which asbestos victims can request payment by filing a claim. Over $18 billion has been recovered so far, while approximately $37 billion is currently available for future claimants.

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Nearly one hundred other companies sought bankruptcy reorganization under section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code afterwards. Nevertheless, while some of them were not approved for bankruptcy reorganization at all, others had to file for Chapter 7 instead, which entailed the liquidation of their assets to pay debtors. There are currently 60 active asbestos trust funds in the U.S. and more than $18 billion has been paid to asbestos victims since the 1980s.

Nowadays, it is a well-known fact that asbestos exposure can cause devastating illnesses, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although it was in 1971 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified asbestos as a human carcinogen and began regulating it accordingly, the health risks associated with exposure had been known long before. The manufacturers of asbestos products were aware that asbestos exposure is responsible for pulmonary disease since the early 1930s, as more and more reputable medical studies on this topic were emerging throughout the country at the time, as well as in Europe. However, the executives of most asbestos companies chose to hide this information from employees for their own financial profit, insisting that exposure was safe, which resulted in a 40-year national conspiracy.

Diseases Caused By Asbestos Exposure

Shortly after the dangers of asbestos were publicly acknowledged, the number of people suing for personal injuries increased exponentially. As a consequence, a lot of asbestos companies soon became unable to compensate former employees and decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In order to be granted bankruptcy protection, each liable company was required to create a trust fund so that future victims of occupational asbestos exposure could receive the compensation they deserved. The first asbestos trust fund was set up by Johns Manville in 1988, with $2.5 billion available as compensation.

Companies Responsible for Asbestos Exposure

ACTIVE ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS

$2.5 billion
Johns Manville
$2.5 billion
Western MacArthur
$2 billion
Nicolet Keasbey & Mattison
$2.11 billion
GAF Corporation
$770 million
Lummus 524(g)
$38 million
A&I Corporation
&13 million
A-Best
&18 million
API, Inc.
$94 million
ARTRA 524(g)
$74 million
ASARCO LLC
$830 million
Bartells Asbestos
$172 million
Brauer 524(g)
$1 million
Burns and Roe
$20 million
NGC Bodily Injury
$446 million
Porter Hayden Bodily Injury
n.a.
Raytech Corporation
n.a.
Stone and Webster
$6 million
Swan Asbestos and Silica
$120 million
T. H. Agriculture and Nutrition, LLC Industries
$901 million
$3.9 billion
Leslie Controls
n.a.
n.a.
Piper Aircraft Corporation
n.a.
n.a.
EPI
n.a.
Plant
n.a.
Bell Asbestos Mines
$635 million
Federal Mogul Corporation T&N Subfund
$635 million
AC$S
$528 million
General Motors
$625 million
Honeywell Heating
$452 million
Garlock
$480 million
Gold Bond
$347 million
National Gypsum
$347 million
$214 million
$270 million
J.T. Thorpe Inc.
$153 million
$205 million
$114 million
Republic Powdered Metals
$140 million
$104 million
$109 million
C.E. Thurston and Sons
$53 million
DII Industries, LLC
$2.5 billion
Federal Mogul, Fel-Pro Subfund
n.a.
Federal Mogul, Vellumoid Subfund
n.a.
Federal Mogul, FMP Subfund
$55 million
G-1
$770 million
J.T. Thorpe Company Successor
$233 million
$45 million
Lykes Tort Claims
n.a.
United States Mineral Products
$8 million
UNR Asbestos-Disease Claims
n.a.
Utex Industries, Inc
$10 million
APG
$333 million
North American Refractories Company
$6.3 billion
$569 million
Skinner Engine Co.
n.a.
Thorpe Insulation Company
$389 million
Christy Refractories
n.a.
Energy Future Holdings Corp.
n.a.
Fuller-Austin
n.a.

Who Can Recover Compensation from Asbestos Trust Funds?

Asbestos trust funds provide financial compensation to individuals who developed a disease following on-the-job asbestos exposure. Former employees whose health was severely affected by occupational exposure are eligible for filing a claim with one or multiple asbestos trust funds, depending on the number of companies at fault. While each asbestos trust fund makes use of a different series of requirements people who intent to seek compensation have to meet, the majority of them operate on the following eligibility criteria:

  • the claimant must have been exposed to raw asbestos or asbestos-containing products while working for the company behind the asbestos trust fund in question (the required duration of exposure varies from trust fund to trust fund, the average being 5 years)
  • the claimant must be diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or another asbestos-related cancer (esophageal, bladder, colorectal etc.) and their illness must have occurred at least 10 years after the first asbestos exposure

Our Skilful Lawyers Will Help You File a Claim with Asbestos Trust Funds

With 27 years of experience in asbestos litigation, the attorneys at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. have been assisting and representing over 25,000 asbestos victims. So far, over 150,000 asbestos claims prepared by our experienced lawyers have resulted in financial compensation. If you suffer from a disease as a consequence of occupational asbestos exposure, we highly encourage you to take legal action immediately, as time is unfortunately limited. Please contact us at 205-328-9200 and we will answer any question you may have concerning the legal process.

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How Do Asbestos Trust Funds Work?

Asbestos trust funds operate on behalf of liable companies. Each of them is managed by a board of trustees who do not have any relation to company executives, employees or staff. Trustees are in charge of processing the claims submitted by asbestos victims, calculating the amount of money each individual qualifies for, making monthly payments to those whose claim was approved, as well as ensuring the trust has sufficient funds to compensate future claimants. It is worthy of note that asbestos trust funds pay out only a certain percentage of the entire sum of money a claimant is eligible for, depending on their financial resources. The percentage may change over time due to various factors.

In general, mesothelioma claims will result in substantial compensation, as this is the most severe disease asbestos exposure can cause, whereas people who suffer from other types of cancer will receive slightly less. Although non-malignant conditions like asbestosis are worth a relatively small amount of money, a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation can negotiate with trustees for a more satisfying outcome.

Regardless of the asbestos trust fund you file with, the claim must be accompanied by the following:

  • evidence of employment, such as records or invoices, which are necessary to support your workplace asbestos exposure
  • medical documentation clearly stating your diagnosis and how it relates to occupational exposure, as well as concrete proof of your illness, such as pathology reports or radiographs

The evidence you will need to submit along with your claim depends on the asbestos trust fund you seek compensation from, but also on your illness, as the requirements are different for each qualifying disease. It is important to know that there are three ways of submitting a claim:

  • expedited review, for individuals who meet all the eligibility criteria, which results in a preset amount of money
  • individual review, for claimants who meet the trust’s requirements only partially, which might provide you with a larger sum of money (however, you will have to wait longer for your claim to be reviewed)
  • extraordinary review, which is suitable for special circumstances, such as when a person has been exposed to asbestos by a single company for several decades

Deciding which one is appropriate for your particular case might be challenging. For this reason, it is highly recommended to navigate the entire legal process with the aid of an experienced attorney whose primary area of practice is asbestos litigation. After submission, your claim will be reviewed accordingly. The claims which entail the shortest waiting time are those filed for mesothelioma, which are usually liquidated within 3 to 6 months. If your request for compensation is approved, you will receive the sum of money assigned to your claim in monthly payments. Other factors which might influence how fast your claim will be processed include:

  • the size of the asbestos trust fund
  • the number of claims trustees have to review
  • the type of review via which your claim was submitted
  • the complexity of your case

Another advantage of working with a lawyer is that they can negotiate the amount liquidated with the trust if your claim was submitted via individual review. This way, you are very likely to recover considerably more money than what you were initially scheduled to receive.

If the hazardous products you handled or were exposed to on the job were manufactured by more than one company, you can file with multiple asbestos trust funds. Provided you meet the eligibility criteria, you have the legal right to seek compensation from the asbestos trust fund of each company responsible for your injury.

OUR LEGAL PROCESS IN FILING CLAIMS WITH ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS

The Benefits of Having a Lawyer Prepare Your Asbestos Claim for Submission

As you may have also concluded by now, navigating the process of seeking financial compensation from asbestos trust funds is not a simple task. From gathering enough evidence to support the connection between your disease and asbestos exposure to deciding how to submit your claim, there are many aspects which need to be assessed before taking legal action.

While you can choose to file a claim on your own, it is not the wisest idea. In addition to being a very exhausting and time-consuming endeavor, pursuing compensation by yourself entails a high risk of failing to recover compensation.

Plenty of important details can easily be overlooked during claim preparation, which may result in the asbestos trust fund denying you compensation. A lawyer who specializes in asbestos cases can be of invaluable help from numerous points of view.

Here are five benefits of having a well-versed asbestos attorney submit your claim. Nevertheless, there are many others, which you will certainly discover during the process if you decide to work with a lawyer.

  • You are bound to receive proper financial compensation. The specialized knowledge and experience of a lawyer who regularly handles asbestos cases will ensure that your claim is filed appropriately, as well as that the evidence accompanying it is reliable and sufficient. The risk of your claim being rejected is virtually non-existent.
  • You will be able to recover more money. As previously discussed, a lawyer has the skills necessary to negotiate the compensation your claim is initially assigned in the case of individual reviews. There is a high chance you will eventually receive a larger amount of money than you were first scheduled.
  • Your asbestos claim will be ready for submission faster. Preparing claims for submission is a process asbestos attorneys are well-acquainted with, as most of them have been assisting victims of exposure for years. Your lawyer will efficiently take care of all the necessary paperwork and will carefully consider every technical aspect which goes into preparing a claim.
  • Their legal team will do research and gather solid evidence for you. If you are struggling with a disease, chances are you do not feel up to spending countless hours trying to find enough evidence to support your claim. Asbestos attorneys have a professional team of legal experts who will make sure your claim is submitted along with relevant proof of exposure. They will also research your case thoroughly to discover other details which might prompt trustees to process your claim more rapidly.
  • You will be able to focus primarily on your health and treatment. Because your attorney and their legal team will attend to the vast majority of aspects involved in claim preparation, you will not have to dedicate a lot of your time to pursuing compensation. In fact, all you have to do if you decide to file a claim is contact a lawyer, explain your situation, attend several consultations, and provide the legal team with your work and medical records.

Asbestos law firms generally work on a contingency fee, so paying your attorney should be your last concern. Unless they successfully recover compensation on your behalf, you do not have to pay your attorney anything. After claim liquidation, attorney fees will be deducted from the amount of money you receive from the trust fund.

Why Filing for Your Rightful Compensation As Soon As You Have a Diagnosis Is Crucial

The statute of limitations prevents asbestos victims from seeking financial compensation after a certain period of time has passed from their diagnosis. Depending on your state of residence, you have between one and six years from the moment of diagnosis to file a claim with asbestos trust funds. Otherwise, you will no longer be eligible for compensation, as asbestos trust funds will not allow you to submit a claim if the statute of limitations has expired.

In certain cases, it is not the statute of limitations of your state which applies, but that of the state where the company you worked for is located. This is another important reason why you should consult with a lawyer specialized in asbestos cases if you intent to seek compensation. They will be able to determine which statute of limitations applies to your case and prepare your claim accordingly.

Common Questions

In order to receive compensation, you need to file a claim with the asbestos trust fund set up by the company responsible for your injury. A lawyer will speed up the process significantly.

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Trust transparency laws have been enforced by some U.S. states to protect the legal system from fraud and abuse. Some argue that these laws make the process of recovering compensation more difficult for asbestos victims.

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The companies which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection were required by law to set up asbestos trust funds so that former workers injured by occupational asbestos exposure would still be able to receive financial compensation.

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Veterans are eligible for financial compensation from both asbestos trust funds and the VA. Therefore, filing a claim with one or multiple asbestos trust funds will not affect your right to VA disability compensation.

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While inhaling asbestos fibers from old building materials can be as dangerous as occupational exposure, asbestos trust funds provide compensation mostly to former employees.

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