For decades, asbestos has been praised for its convenient properties, while the devastating health effects of exposure have been deliberately ignored. Major U.S. asbestos companies, including Johns Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc. and Bendix Corporation, had been aware of the dangers of these carcinogenic minerals since the early 1930s but decided to conceal the truth from both their employees and the general public for financial profit. The executives went to incredible lengths to keep scientific evidence supporting the toxicity of asbestos hidden from their workers and even distorted the results of medical studies. However, more and more people began suffering from asbestos-related conditions and in 1963, Dr. Selikoff's study, which irrevocably demonstrated the causal relation between asbestos and lung disease, put an end to the manufacturers' conspiracy.
AVERAGE AMOUNTS AWARDED BY THE ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS
Mesothelioma (Level VIII)
Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII)
Lung Cancer 2 (Level VI)
Other Cancer (Level V)
Severe Asbestosis (Level IV)
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III)
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II)
A Brief History of Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Although employees who worked with asbestos had been filing health claims against Johns Manville and other manufacturers since 1929, the first successful asbestos product lawsuit took place in 1971. The company was sued by the widow of a man from Louisiana who developed lung cancer following prolonged exposure to Johns Manville's products. The plaintiff won and soon, an astounding number of asbestos lawsuits emerged throughout the U.S.
In 1982, Johns Manville filed for bankruptcy due to the numerous lawsuits submitted against the company and four years later, the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was founded. Thereby, former employees diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease could receive financial compensation for their injuries. Shortly after, other asbestos manufacturers followed suit.
Nowadays, there are 60 asbestos trusts available and over $37 million has been set aside for the victims of asbestos exposure. So far, approximately $18 million has been awarded as compensation to people who developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases after years of occupational exposure.
ACTIVE ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS
Nicolet Keasbey & Mattison
Burns and Roe
NGC Bodily Injury
Porter Hayden Bodily Injury
Stone and Webster
Swan Asbestos and Silica
T. H. Agriculture and Nutrition, LLC Industries
Piper Aircraft Corporation
Bell Asbestos Mines
Federal Mogul Corporation T&N Subfund
J.T. Thorpe Inc.
Republic Powdered Metals
C.E. Thurston and Sons
DII Industries, LLC
Federal Mogul, Fel-Pro Subfund
Federal Mogul, Vellumoid Subfund
Federal Mogul, FMP Subfund
J.T. Thorpe Company Successor
United States Mineral Products
UNR Asbestos-Disease Claims
Utex Industries, Inc
North American Refractories Company
Thorpe Insulation Company
Energy Future Holdings Corp.
Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.
How Do Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Funds Work?
A company which does not have sufficient money to pay liabilities can choose to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. This way, lawsuits related to asbestos exposure can no longer be submitted against it. Nevertheless, companies which have successfully undergone this process must reorganize and set up trusts for current and future asbestos victims. They must also ensure that funds are permanently available for claimants. It is worthy of note that companies cannot manage the asbestos bankruptcy trust funds or decide the amount of money an asbestos victim should receive. Instead, a board of trustees who do not have any connection with the company takes care of these aspects.
Trust funds process, liquidate and pay all legitimate asbestos injury claims. When a person whose health has been affected by occupational exposure to asbestos would like to be compensated for the suffering, will file a claim against the settlement trust and not against the company per se. If you intend to file a claim, it is important to be aware of some essential aspects which may otherwise hinder the process:
- Accepted claims are paid depending on the trust's current payment percentage. The value of your claim will be assessed by the bankruptcy trust and a payment percentage is subsequently applied to establish the amount of money you will be awarded. The compensation paid by the majority of trusts in the U.S. represents between 5 and 15 percent of the total value of the claim.
- An asbestos trust cannot provide claimants with assistance in regards to determining the circumstances of their exposure, the specific asbestos-containing products they have been in contact with or their medical records, which makes the process of filing a claim quite challenging. Your claim might not be approved if the information you included in it is considered incomplete, ambiguous or contradictory. Thus, opting for the professional services of an experienced attorney specialized in asbestos litigation cases is crucial. Moreover, a lawyer can negotiate with the trust fund so that you will receive the maximum compensation possible.
- The requirements asbestos victims must meet in order to be compensated are different for each bankruptcy trust. Each trust has its own criteria claimants must fit in order to be declared eligible for compensation. Generally, you will need to provide evidence of your diagnosis and include as much information as you can remember about the company you worked for and how the exposure occurred. This is another reason why choosing an attorney is fundamental, as they can constantly assist you throughout the process and help you remember additional details.
How to File a Claim
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we strongly encourage you to file a claim as soon as possible. The statute of limitation, which refers to the amount of time you have to file a claim, varies between 2 and 3 years from your first diagnosis, depending on the state you live in. Consequently, claims submitted after that period of time has elapsed will not be approved. Provided you decide to file a claim with the aid of an attorney who specializes in asbestos cases, the process is very simple:
- Get diagnosed. Regardless of the trust fund which will process your claim, you need a formal diagnosis as evidence of your disease. After conducting a thorough physical examination, your doctor will order a series of reliable tests to evaluate your condition, such as a CT scan, X-rays, and a biopsy. Finally, you will receive an accurate and reliable diagnosis, as well as a detailed description of your affection.
- Research your state's statute of limitation for asbestos cases. It is crucial to be well-informed about whether you are eligible for filing a claim, as proceeding to do so after the established time limit has been exceeded will be pointless.
- Find a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation cases. If you did not exceed your state's statute of limitation, the next step is probably the most important and could greatly influence the outcome of your case. Even though you can file a claim on your own, choosing an experienced attorney with vast experience in asbestos litigation will ensure the most satisfactory outcome. A lawyer will guide you through the entire process and will provide permanent assistance from the moment your claim is submitted to the resolution. They can also help you remember specific details about your exposure and the company you worked for, take care of all the required documents and put together a complete description of your case.
- Meet your attorney. You will have to attend multiple consultations with your lawyer in order to have the value of your case properly assessed. After you provide them with your diagnosis and the basics of your asbestos exposure, they will be able to estimate the amount of money you will receive as compensation, as well as the chances of winning your case. There are certain factors which may affect the value of your case, including the company you were an employee of, the asbestos products you were exposed to, your location, whether you served in the U.S. military or not, your diagnosis and your age. However, if you suffer from mesothelioma, the likelihood of being awarded substantial compensation is extremely high due to the severity and aggressive nature of the disease.
- Your claim is submitted. After gathering all the necessary details, your attorney will ensure your case meets the criteria of the trust fund and then files your claim. The processing may take several months, depending on the number of claims the trust has to deal with and also on the complexity of your case.
- Claim liquidation ensues. If your claim is deemed valid, which happens almost every time when you are assisted by a competent lawyer, the board will determine the amount of compensation you are eligible for and you will begin to receive monthly payments.
What you need when filing for an asbestos claim?
An experienced attorney specialized in asbestos litigation cases can help you tremendously through the process of filing a claim and can also negotiate with the trust funds to obtain the maximum compensation for you.
A formal diagnosis supporting the causal relation between your disease and occupational exposure to asbestos is crucial for your claim to be deemed valid following submission.
You will be required to provide your lawyer with documents which clearly state that you were an employee of the company in question, what your job entailed, as well as the period of time you had worked there.
It may take several months to over one year to be awarded the financial compensation you are entitled to and thus, patience is essential. However, a lawyer with significant experience in asbestos cases may be able to speed up the process considerably.
Why Choose Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. to Handle Your Asbestos Case
Pursuing asbestos cases is a very challenging and complex endeavor. Therefore, opting for an attorney specialized in asbestos litigation is essential and will guarantee the success of your case. The attorneys at ELG have a professional experience of over 20 years and have represented thousands of clients throughout the U.S. We will do all in our power to obtain the maximum compensation available for your injury and provide constant assistance over the course of our collaboration. Our law firm is unique for several reasons:
- We can file your claim with multiple bankruptcy trusts. If two or more asbestos companies might be responsible for your injury and have trust funds available, our highly experienced attorneys can file your claim with all of them in order to increase your compensation.
- We see your case from both a professional and a personal point of view. Asbestos-related diseases are devastating and entail a terrible amount of suffering. This is why we always approach our clients' cases from both a legal and a humane perspective. We are bound to manage your case as efficiently and quickly as possible so you will not have to waste valuable time.
- Our lawyers will thoroughly research your case. Lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, as well as all the other diseases caused by asbestos, typically develop several decades after the first exposure. Naturally, it is often difficult to remember the exact circumstances you were exposed to the carcinogen. We will extensively research every aspect of your case in order to find details you might have forgotten or overlooked, information which may prove to be crucial for a successful outcome. Subsequently, our attorneys will include all relevant details in the description of your case and will prepare all the required documents and forms for you.