Asbestos trust funds are a source of compensation for mesothelioma victims that provide advantages and drawbacks when compared to other sources of compensation. Because asbestos trust funds are unique to mesothelioma cases, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can assist you in learning more about these funds, including how to access them if you are eligible to receive compensation.
Purpose of Asbestos Trust Funds
For most people, the words “trust fund” brings to mind mental images of the wealthy – large amounts of money set aside to ensure that children and loved ones are taken care of. And thus, for everyday people, trust funds aren’t something we’re accustomed to interacting with. However, you might be surprised to learn that trust funds are a lot more common than you might think.
Trusts are powerful legal tools that exist to ensure that money is protected and used in a specific manner by the person who placed the money in trust. Thus, asbestos trust funds are large amounts of money put together to ensure that mesothelioma victims and other victims of asbestos exposure have access to compensation now and in the future.
Asbestos Trust Fund History
Asbestos was very widely used in construction across the country until the 1980s because it was a cost-efficient and fire-resistant insulation material. In fact, most buildings in the United States constructed in the early-to-mid 20th century likely contain asbestos material. In the 1970s, it became known that asbestos is highly toxic and that exposure to asbestos causes cancer.
However, despite knowing about the toxicity of asbestos, many asbestos companies continued to use the product, placing their employees and customers at great risk. As time went on, more and more people with a history of exposure to asbestos started getting sick, and these people began filing lawsuits to receive compensation for their injuries. In those lawsuits, many asbestos companies were found to be extremely negligent, and thus liable for causing people to become sick with cancer, including mesothelioma.
Many of these negligent companies filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying for their wrongdoing. Fortunately, bankruptcy courts required these companies to set up trust funds to ensure that the companies would not be able to completely escape liability. The trust funds also ensure that funds remain available for victims who may be diagnosed with mesothelioma in the future.
Today, there are billions of dollars in asbestos trust funds waiting to be accessed by victims of asbestos exposure in more than 60 independent trust funds.
Full List of Asbestos Trust Funds
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust
- AP Green
- Armstrong World Industries
- Babcok & Wilcox
- Burns & Roe
- CE Thurston
- Christy Refractories
- Combustion Engineering
- Duro Dyne
- Eagle Picher
- GI Holdings
- Harbison Walker
- “HK Porter (Expedited Payment)”
- “HK Porter (Non-Expedited Payment)”
- Johns Manville
- JT Thorpe Company Successor Trust (Texas Company)
- JT Thorpe Settlement Trust (California Company)
- Kentile (Metex)
- Leslie (Below Deck Navy)
- Leslie (Construction/Maintenance)
- Lummus (Design & Construction)
- Lummus (Feedwater Heater Claims)
- “Motors Liquidation Co. (Auto Mechanic)”
- “Motors Liquidation Co. (Non-Auto Mechanic)”
- National Gypsum
- North American Refractories Company
- Owens Corning
- Pittsburgh Corning
- Porter Hayden
- “Shook & Fletcher (Exposure any state other than MS, AL, GA, LA, or TX)”
- “Shook & Fletcher (Exposure in GA, LA, or TX)”
- “Shook & Fletcher (Exposure in MS or AL)”
- TH Agriculture & Nutrition (THAN)
- U.S. Gypsum
- U.S. Mineral
- United Gilsonite Laboratories
- W.R. Grace
- Western Asbestos (Exposure in CA)
- Western Asbestos (Exposure in MN)
- Western Asbestos (Exposure in ND)
- Geo V. Hamilton
Asbestos Trust Fund Payments
Asbestos trust funds are each managed by independent trustees, and each has its own procedures for accessing compensation and receiving payments. Generally, though, asbestos trust fund payments are received over time, and not in a lump sum amount. For many mesothelioma victims, trust fund payments are used to assist in medical expenses and lost income when a victim is no longer able to work.
How much can I expect to receive from an asbestos trust fund?
The specific value of an asbestos trust fund claim depends on many different factors, including:
- Type of diagnosis
- Long-term prognosis
- Severity of disease and current symptoms
- Time of application
- How many other claimants are accessing funds
Asbestos trust funds use “schedules” to determine how much funding a claimant is entitled to, based on various factors, including type of disease. From there, these schedules provide “payment percentages” which indicate how much a claimant is entitled to.
For example, a trust fund schedule may provide that a stage 2 mesothelioma claim in a 60-year-old is valued at $100,000. If the schedule then provides that the payment percentage is 30 percent, then the claimant could receive $33,000.
However, payment percentages can fluctuate, based on how many people are accessing the trust fund. Because the percentages are designed to ensure that funds remain available for future claimants, generally, when more people access the funds, payment percentages decrease.
Payment percentages are the biggest reason why a mesothelioma victim should not wait to consult with a mesothelioma attorney – getting access early is the best way to maximize payment percentages from mesothelioma trust funds.
Asbestos Trust Fund Eligibility
Eligibility for asbestos trust fund compensation varies, depending on the specific trust fund. Generally, because trust funds are set up by asbestos companies, they require that claimants prove that the claimant was exposed to asbestos due to the fault of the company that set up the trust. In some trusts, claimants are required to verify basic information, such as employment status, and other trusts require claimants to make more detailed applications, including specifics about jobs performed.
All in all, the criteria for accessing an asbestos trust fund generally includes:
- A mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diagnosis, with supporting documentation from doctors
- History of exposure to asbestos
- Information about where and when your exposure occurred, including the type of asbestos
However, if you don’t have all of this information readily available, you should not be discouraged from seeking compensation for your exposure to asbestos. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can assist you in gathering this information as part of preparing your claim to an asbestos trust fund. Many times, asbestos companies have records that can be accessed to support a claim for compensation.
How to Access Asbestos Trust Fund Compensation
Speak to a mesothelioma lawyer.
An experienced attorney can assist you in evaluating your eligibility for asbestos trust funds, and if you are eligible, in putting together your claim to access compensation.
You and your attorney can work together to gather evidence and documentation to support your claim for asbestos trust fund compensation. You may be asked to collect medical records, employment records, and other evidence that could be assistive in making your claim for compensation.
Make your claim to an asbestos trust fund.
Applying to an asbestos trust fund can be a complicated process, but if you are eligible for compensation, enduring the process pays off. Recipients of asbestos trust fund payments are often able to receive compensation much faster than plaintiffs in a lawsuit. Your attorney can assist you in weighing your options for compensation, and in some cases, mesothelioma victims may even be eligible for more than one form of compensation.
How Bailey & Glasser, LLP Can Help
Bailey & Glasser, LLP is a national law firm with extensive experience in assisting mesothelioma victims to access compensation for their injuries, including from asbestos trust funds. We understand the devastation associated with exposure to asbestos, and we’re committed to assisting our clients to access any funding they may be entitled to receive.
Contact us today to receive more information or to set up a consultation on your case.