Mesothelioma and Asbestos Trust Funds
Living with the medical consequences of asbestos exposure is both painful and expensive. Many workers exposed to asbestos over the years are now struggling with the devastating cancer that is mesothelioma. Companies negligent in workers’ asbestos-related injuries have a responsibility to compensate those workers and one way to do that is through the administration of asbestos trust funds.
We’ve helped thousands of mesothelioma patients recover substantial compensation from the mesothelioma trust funds. The money may be used in a variety of ways: covering medical bills, costs of living, and securing the future for your family. It may not reverse the course of this terrible disease, but recovering costs and being able to cover medical bills can provide a huge sense of relief, not to mention provide a feeling that justice has been served to those responsible.
Billions of dollars in trust funds have been set aside to compensate people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other illnesses or injuries as a result of being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Victims of these diseases just need to file a claim with the right evidence in order to access the money in these trust funds.
Manufacturers who made and distributed asbestos-containing materials such as flooring and insulation have funded the trust in order to offer financial assistance to people whose lives were affected by their products—the victims and their families. The funds are designed to provide compensation even if a negligent company has filed bankruptcy and therefore gained protection from lawsuits. These trusts are managed by designated trustees and these are the people who decide how much each claimant gets from the fund.
Call us at 1-800-692-8608 and find out whether you are eligible to receive compensation from the $30 Billion Trust Funds. There is a time limit and claims are reviewed and decided on a first come, first serve basis, so there is no time to lose in filing your claim. We can help, so contact us as soon as possible.
The Creation of Asbestos Trust Funds
Companies that have been negligent in exposing their workers to asbestos are in a position to be sued by those former employees who developed mesothelioma and other illnesses. Plaintiffs in these cases have likely acquired huge medical bills and face shortened lives as a result of that negligence. They have valid reasons and arguments to be entitled to receive compensation from their employers. Many of these employers, though, have filed for bankruptcy, which usually makes recovering compensation challenging.
Filing for bankruptcy and reorganizing under the bankruptcy laws protects a company from being sued by a former employee. This is a strategy for a company to avoid lengthy and costly lawsuits, but it still comes at a price. Asbestos companies that make the move to reorganize have to set aside money that will pay current and future claims, and the courts must approve the amount to ensure it will be enough. These are the asbestos trust funds and they hold the money that injured workers need and have a right to claim.
For a company that has exposed workers to asbestos to file for bankruptcy and reorganize under the law, the process has several steps. First it must submit plans to the court for reorganization, including plans for setting up an asbestos trust fund. The court holds proceedings so that the company and the plaintiffs’ representatives can weigh in. The proceedings are much like litigation in which each side can argue its case and present evidence for how much money should be involved in a trust fund.
Both sides must then estimate how much money is needed in a trust fund to pay all claims now and those that may arise in the future. Because mesothelioma is often not diagnosed in workers until decades after the exposure occurred, estimating future needs is an important part of the process. The judge listens to arguments and either approves the reorganization or sends the company back to the beginning to try again.
Trust Fund Decisions
Trust funds are set up on behalf of asbestos companies, but not by the companies. This is done to ensure fair decisions are made regarding whether or not a claimant gets compensation and how much money they receive. The company has no role in the operation of the trust fund and does not review claims or make decisions. The decisions are made by trust fund trustees. A trustee is independent and objective and weighs evidence while following set guidelines for the trust fund to come to a decision on each individual claim.
Decisions on trust funds and on the claims made by employees are considered on the basis of the evidence, the amount of money in the fund, and the number of claimants. Those claimants with the more severe medical conditions are entitled to greater amounts of compensation, but evidence is needed for final decisions to be made. Another factor used in determining claims is the need to hold back money in the trust fund for future claims. Trustees have a responsibility to ensure that the trust fund will not run out of money before all future claims are settled.
The amount of compensation that a claimant may receive from an asbestos or mesothelioma trust fund depends on several factors and varies by individual. Not every claim will result in the same amount awarded. The type of illness or injury caused by the exposure, its severity, and the schedule of payments that have been established for the trust fund all influence compensation amounts. For example a claimant with stage four mesothelioma and just months to live may receive more than someone with treatable asbestosis.
It is also important to note that not every claimant will get 100 percent of the claim amount. Trust funds may only be able to offer 30 percent of a claim at the time that it is filed. This occurs because the trust fund must ensure that it will have enough money to settle future claims. Mesothelioma is a disease that takes decades to develop, which means that these asbestos trust funds must last for many years.
The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act
The so-called FACT Act of 2010 was not voted into law, but was proposed to require that asbestos trust funds use a public database to report payouts and to list information about claimants. The purpose of the law was to prevent claimants from making and getting multiple claims on the same trust fund. This double dipping is not allowed and has the consequence of putting the amount of money in the trust fund at risk. With too much double dipping there will not be enough left in future years for later claims.
The law has not been without controversy, with those who opposed it saying there was little need and that double dipping was rare and not a major problem. These opponents said that fraud was rare, but putting claimants’ personal information into a public database represented a significant breach of privacy. In other words the law is thought to be excessive in light of a minor problem with fraud in asbestos claims. Whether or not the law will eventually pass—it is currently archived—remains to be seen.
For anyone who was exposed to asbestos at work, lived with someone who worked around asbestos, or worked in a location that may have put them at risk for exposure, knowing whether or not trust funds will have money in the future is important. These future claimants may not need the money for decades, but they will have as much a right to that money as those who claim on it now.
Currently, asbestos trust funds contain billions of dollars, but with the long latency period for mesothelioma, some are concerned that it won’t be enough for all future claimants. When these trust funds are set up, the process of deciding on the amount is detailed. The estimations take into account many factors that consider how many future claims there may be, such as how many people worked for a company and were exposed to asbestos and the rates of mesothelioma in these workers.
Trust Fund Claims and Lawsuits
An employee exposed to asbestos and made ill by that exposure may choose to file an asbestos lawsuit while also making a claim on an asbestos trust fund. Filing a claim for compensation from a trust fund can affect the amount of compensation awarded in a lawsuit, a fact that all plaintiffs should know before deciding to start a lawsuit or file a claim. Each state has laws that vary on just how much each one impacts the other, but an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos lawyer can help a claimant make the right decisions.
The types of lawsuits filed against asbestos companies include personal injury claims and wrongful death. The latter may be filed by a dependent family member of a worker who died as a result of exposure to asbestos. Depending on state laws, any trust payments already made to a claimant may be deducted from any court awards resulting from a lawsuit. This is known as a setoff.
The Trust Fund Claims Process
The first step in accessing money from an asbestos trust fund is to file a claim. In order to do this you must show that you have an injury or illness related to asbestos exposure. This means getting proper medical care and diagnoses so that you can present information in your claim that will make it valid. The required documentation usually includes a physician’s diagnosis and statement, evidence of the site of exposure to asbestos, and medical documents that demonstrate asbestos contributed to the illness or injury.
The amount of compensation you will receive is dependent upon how severe your illness is and on how many future claims the trust fund is expected to be required to handle. The trustee of the trust fund makes decisions on whether a claim is valid and how much that claimant should receive from the trust fund. All claims are processed in order of receipt, so to secure your compensation as soon as possible, Act Today.
How to Begin
When you’re ready to file a claim, we will send you a package providing information on over 20 bankruptcy trusts so you can know what your options are. Detailed information includes the names of all trusts, the websites and links to the claim forms for all the trust. If you have questions on whether you should file claims with AC & S asbestos trust or the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, or both — we can help get you started and point you in the right direction to find the answers.
If you have any questions, Call us Toll-Free at 1-800-692-8608 or complete our form online to get the answers you need now. We will help you through each step so you and your family will receive payment quickly.
Time is of the Essence
Since claims are paid on a “first come, first served” basis, it is important that you act immediately. Was your only asbestos exposure in the navy? Has your employer ceased to exist or filed for bankruptcy? Don’t despair—you may still be able to recover the compensation you deserve from the Asbestos Trust Fund. Getting expert advice, while also acting quickly, is crucial in making sure you get your claim in on time and avoid any statutes of limitations on compensation.
The Process is Fast and Easy
We’ve been able to get people paid within as little as 90 days from start to finish. We know how important it is to get the money you need to take care of medical expenses and for security for dependents. The added stress of filing claims and trying to get the compensation is something you don’t need in addition to your illness. Our caring support staff will help you step by step through the process to make your claim as smooth as possible.
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