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Understanding ELG’s Unique Approach in Filing Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Fund Claims

By Treven Pyles

Posted on February 02nd, 2017


Opting for the 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.

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 relationship between asbestos and lung disease, put an end to the manufacturers' conspiracy.

AVERAGE AMOUNTS AWARDED BY THE ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS

Mesothelioma (Level VIII)
$215,000
Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII)
$40,000
Lung Cancer 2 (Level VI)
$20,000
Other Cancer (Level V)
$22,000
Severe Asbestosis (Level IV)
$42,000
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III)
$19,000
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II)
$8,000

How Do Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Funds Work?

A company that does not have sufficient money to pay liabilities can choose to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 bankruptcies allow companies to reorganize their finances to pay their debts and continue with their business. This way, lawsuits related to asbestos exposure can no longer be submitted against it. Nevertheless, companies that 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.
    • 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.

ACTIVE ASBESTOS TRUST FUNDS

Pacor Incorporated $2.5 billion
Johns Manville $2.5 billion
Western MacArthur $2 billion
Nicolet Keasbey & Mattison $2.11 billion
Combustion Engineering $1.43 billion
Babcock and Wilcox $1.85 billion
A.P. Green Industries $901 million
Kaiser Aluminum $1.2 billion
GAF Corporation $770 million
Pittsburgh Corning $3.4 billion
Lummus 524(g) $38 million
A&I Corporation &13 million
A-Best &18 million
API, Inc. $94 million
ARTRA 524(g) $74 million
Armstrong World Industries $2 billion
ASARCO LLC $830 million
Bartells Asbestos $172 million
Brauer 524(g) $1 million
Burns and Roe $20 million
NGC Bodily Injury $446 million
Owens Corning Fibreboard, Fibreboard Subfund $1.5 billion
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
United States Gypsum $3.9 billion
Leslie Controls n.a.
Narco n.a.
Piper Aircraft Corporation n.a.
Bondex n.a.
EPI n.a.
Plant n.a.
Flexitallic Gasket Company $635 million
Eagle Picher Industries Inc. $730 million
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
Abex Corporation $307 million
Owens Corning Fibreboard, Owens Corning Subfund $3.4 billion
The Flintkote Company $214 million
Congoleum Corporation $270 million
J.T. Thorpe Inc. $153 million
Plibrico Company $205 million
Unarco $114 million
Republic Powdered Metals $140 million
H.K. Porter Inc. $104 million
Shook and Fletcher $109 million
C.E. Thurston and Sons $53 million
Celotex Asbestos Settlement $1.2 billion
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
Keene Creditors Trust $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
Quigley Company, Inc. $569 million
Skinner Engine Co. n.a.
Thorpe Insulation Company $389 million
W. R. Grace and Co. Asbestos $2.9 billion
Christy Refractories n.a.
Energy Future Holdings Corp. n.a.
Fuller-Austin n.a.
Metex n.a.
Hercules Chemical Company, Inc n.a.

How to File a Claim with an Asbestos Trust Fund

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 limitations, 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 properly diagnosed: Regardless of the trust fund which will process your claim, you need a formal diagnosis as evidence of your disease. A formal diagnosis supporting the causal relationship between your disease and occupational exposure to asbestos is crucial for your claim to be deemed valid following submission.
  • Research your state's statute of limitations 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: 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 lawyer will guide you through the entire process and will provide permanent assistance from the moment your claim is submitted to the resolution.
  • Provide the necessary documents: There are certain factors that 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. You will be required to provide documents that 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. 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.
  • Submit your claim: 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 between one month to one year or more, 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 receive your payment.

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.

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