Written by: Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
Asbestos Trust Funds
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Important Facts About Asbestos Trust Funds
Most mesothelioma claims and asbestos lung cancer claims involve asbestos trust funds. This is why patients should understand how they work:
- Trust funds help patients when the responsible company is bankrupt.
- Asbestos trust fund payouts occur quickly and often equal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Johns Manville made the first asbestos trust fund in 1987.
- There are two review processes for trust funds, and asbestos claims payouts are based on percentages.
What Are Asbestos Trust Funds?
Asbestos trust funds are a form of asbestos claims. They're result of companies filing for bankruptcy to sidestep future legal claims. Courts ruled that these companies organize funds to ensure that victims could receive mesothelioma compensation or asbestos lung cancer compensation.
Asbestos trust funds support people with all types of asbestos-related diseases. They’re often called mesothelioma trust funds for victims of this cancer.
Information on Asbestos Trust Fund Payouts
People who file for asbestos trust fund payouts often make claims against numerous trusts. There usually isn’t just one company responsible for your lung cancer or mesothelioma. Many corporations were involved in the mining, production and sale of asbestos and asbestos products. They all could have a role in why you developed either of these cancers.
Some claimants file with up to 20 different funds. There is no limit to how many trusts you and your lawyer can focus on, and each claim provides a larger payout. This helps you and your family pay for treatment, lost wages and more hardships.
According to a report by RAND Institute for Civil Justice, the median asbestos trust fund payout was $41,000 in 2008. Some trusts have higher scheduled payment amounts, and filing with multiple trusts can significantly increase the overall payout. The average recovery for an asbestos compensation claim is approximately $1 million.
Compensation for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Many people with asbestos-related diseases receive financial support from asbestos trust funds, which are a type of mesothelioma compensation. Soon-to-be-bankrupt companies organized these funds, per court orders, to ensure that victims of asbestos exposure could receive compensation for the companies’ wrongdoing. Asbestos trust funds support people with all types of asbestos-related diseases.
What You Need to Know About Asbestos Trust Funds
Get Access to Trust Fund Money
$32 billion is available to mesothelioma patients and their families.
How Can Trust Funds Help?
- Assist in paying for treatment and travel expenses
- Ensure your family's financial future
- Quick compensation
How Are Asbestos Trust Funds Created?
Bankruptcy courts forced companies that filed for bankruptcy to set up asbestos trust funds. The purpose is to set aside money for future asbestos-related claims. These trusts help protect asbestos-exposure victims, including people diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Asbestos trust funds are a result of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is a form of corporate bankruptcy. It allows companies to reorganize their finances and continue doing business while paying their debt.
You must file your asbestos compensation claims against a trust fund if a company responsible for your cancer has filed for bankruptcy.
The Johns Manville Corporation
Johns Manville Corporation established the first asbestos trust fund in 1987, which created a precedent for other companies. Since Johns Manville created their trust, many other asbestos companies have filed for bankruptcy and created their own.
The Johns Manville trust has paid hundreds of thousands of asbestos claims since it was established in 1987. It continues to compensate victims.
Johns Manville was once a leading manufacturer of insulation and roofing materials. Their products contained substantial quantities of asbestos. Employees of Johns Manville began filing for disability due to lung diseases as early as 1929. The corporation was involved in a violent strike at one of its supplying asbestos mines in Canada.
Top Asbestos Companies With Trust Funds
Tens of billions of dollars were set aside for mesothelioma patients.
median payout per trust
U.S. Gypsum Company
Armstrong World Industries
Babcock and Wilcox Company
Owens Corning/Fibreboard Corp.
Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.
Federal Mogul/Turner & Newall
National Gypsum Company
Filing a Claim Against an Asbestos Trust Fund
There is a four-step procedure for how to file a claim and receive an asbestos trust fund payout:
Filing the Claim(s) – Filing begins with determining which companies in your (the asbestos exposure victim’s) occupational history are responsible for your disease. There may be multiple companies at fault, which means there could be multiple claims filed to account for each corporate wrongdoing.
Claim Review – There are two types of reviews for asbestos trust fund claims and then two additional steps to the trust fund process once a review concludes. During filing, you or a loved one will select the method of review as either expedited or individual.
Claim Liquidation – Liquidation is the assignment of a monetary value to the claim. When filed as expedited and valid, claims already have a monetary value scheduled by the trust. Liquidation for individual claims, on the other hand, is determined by negotiation of the trustee and the claimant’s asbestos lawyer.
Claim Payment – After an offer is made and accepted, payment is the final step of the procedure.
Comparing Expedited Reviews and Individual Reviews
Asbestos trust fund claims usually fall into either expedited reviews or individual reviews. Expedited reviews settle claims quickly, with a fixed payout. Individual reviews take longer but usually result in a larger payout. Some claims are deemed “extraordinary,” which involves a mixture of both review types.
Expedited Reviews — These reviews settle claims quickly and the payout is a fixed value. You will use this procedure when the fixed value is known and the case meets a set of criteria established by the trust, providing medical evidence and occupational history. If the evidence is sufficient, the claim is valid and the process proceeds to liquidation. If not, you can file an individual review.
Individual Reviews — These reviews are required when claimants such as yourself do not fall within the typical criteria set up by the trust for an expedited review. Payout values for individual claims might vary compared to the fixed values established for expedited claims. The individual review process and the result is usually based on special circumstances of a case, such as a claimant being diagnosed young, having minor children or losing earnings. In these cases, claims tend to be higher.
Extraordinary claims — These are special cases where the asbestos claim meets the criteria of an expedited claim, but liquidation is allowed to be determined like an individual claim. These claims are used in cases where you or a loved one were a victim of one specific company under certain employment circumstances, such as being an employee who worked for the company for a significant amount of time (30 years, for example).
How Do Payment Percentages Work for Asbestos Trust Funds?
Payment Percentages — To prevent an asbestos trust fund from running out of funds, trustees established “payment percentages” for claimants like yourself or a loved one. Some trusts are unable to pay claimants 100% of the claim amount. Instead, the asbestos trust fund payouts are a specific percentage of the claim.
Payment percentages are different for each trust. Some trusts have a payment percentage of 100%, while others have low payment percentages of between 1% and 2%. If a claim is hypothetically liquidated at $100,000 with a payment percentage of 25%, the asbestos trust fund payout would be $25,000.
These payment percentages also fluctuate. If payment percentages increase, many trusts will back-pay past claimants to make up the difference. If a percentage decreases, then prior claimants do not have to pay back the difference. Due to this structure, there is no benefit to waiting to file a trust fund claim. You should start the process as soon as possible without worrying about the percentages dropping and having to return their compensation. Starting your claim right away will only benefit you.
Start Your Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
Asbestos was popular for years because it is heat-resistant and inexpensive. However, asbestos has many health risks, which many companies hid from the general public for years. As mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer incidence increased, the number of legal cases concerning asbestos exposure grew.
Asbestos compensation claims can be used to cover lost wages, treatment costs, funeral bills, and restitution for pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma or lung cancer from asbestos, and knows of asbestos exposure incidents, you can access these trusts. Learn how to start your asbestos trust fund claim with free legal support from Mesothelioma Guide’s experts.
Common Questions About Asbestos Trust Funds
How much will I get from an asbestos trust fund?
Your asbestos trust fund payout depends on how many claims you file. Most people file against multiple trusts, which can bring your compensation to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What is the average asbestos trust fund payout?
The average scheduled payment amount for asbestos trust funds is $41,000, but many have payment amounts more than $100,000. Filing with multiple trusts increases your compensation. Most victims file with more than 20 different trust funds, increasing the total recovery amount to more than $1 million.
How soon will I receive payment from an asbestos trust fund?
If you hire an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, you may receive your asbestos trust fund payment in a few months. Since the defending company is bankrupt, there is no trial or prolonged legal process.
How do I know if I’m eligible for an asbestos trust fund?
Talking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will help you learn your eligibility for trust funds compensation. They know whether any active trusts are linked to your asbestos exposure history.
How much money is left in asbestos trust funds?
More than $30 billion is still available to mesothelioma victims and their families. Asbestos trust funds pay victims based on a percentage system, which ensures that money is available for future asbestos victims.
Who is eligible to file an asbestos trust fund claim?
The person diagnosed with mesothelioma usually files the trust fund claim. If that person has passed away, then their family members can file asbestos trust fund claims. In this instance, the family receives wrongful death compensation.
Last Edited: September 8, 2022.