Troy E. Walton
Personal Injury Attorney
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Important Facts About the Asbestos Trust Fund Claim Process
- Asbestos trust funds are bank accounts created by bankrupt asbestos companies to compensate future victims of asbestos exposure.
- Victims of asbestos exposure can file claims with asbestos trust funds to receive compensation.
- The process for asbestos trust fund claims is less complex than most think. These claims are the quickest type of mesothelioma claim victims can file as they can be finalized in a few months to a year.
- Victims of asbestos exposure should work with attorneys specializing in asbestos trust fund claims for mesothelioma. This will ensure all paperwork is completed and filed properly to ensure maximum compensation.
Overview of the Asbestos Trust Fund Claim Process
Asbestos trust fund claims are a primary type of mesothelioma claim victims file. This type of claim is filed against negligent asbestos companies that have now claimed bankruptcy.
In the U.S. legal system, bankrupt companies cannot be sued and taken to court by a lawsuit. This allowed certain asbestos manufacturing companies to sidestep lawsuits by filing for asbestos bankruptcy.
In order to protect current victims with pending lawsuits or future victims seeking compensation, the courts ordered bankrupt asbestos companies to create and fund bank accounts dedicated to victims of asbestos exposure called asbestos trust funds, which are essentially asbestos bankruptcy trusts. There are billions of dollars set aside in these accounts today.
Finding an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will simplify the asbestos trust fund process significantly. Asbestos trust fund claims are typically the simplest route to seeking mesothelioma compensation; however, these claims do require a certain level of expertise that attorneys with limited experience in mesothelioma and asbestos claims may not have.
How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim for Mesothelioma
Connect with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Not all attorneys have experience with mesothelioma claims or asbestos trust fund claims. These types of compensation claims have unique characteristics and intricate details inexperienced lawyers may not fully understand.
Determine your asbestos exposure history by learning where and how you were exposed. This is essential to filing an asbestos trust fund claim. Without proving your mesothelioma was caused by specific instances of asbestos exposure, your claim likely won’t be accepted. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can help determine your asbestos exposure and the responsible parties.
File claims with the proper asbestos trust funds. Casting a wide net helps by providing more opportunities for a successful claim and additional financial compensation from asbestos trust funds.
Steps of the Asbestos Trust Fund Claim Process
File the claims – With the help of a mesothelioma attorney, you’ll match your exposure history to specific companies involved in manufacturing and using asbestos. You’ll likely file claims with multiple trusts.
Review – Your claims are reviewed based on the rules of the trust. There’s either an expedited review, which pays you a predetermined amount, or an individual review. Expedited reviews are quicker, but individual reviews can lead to more compensation. A mesothelioma attorney will help select the right type of review.
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 reviews, on the other hand, is negotiated between the trust fund’s trustee and your asbestos lawyer.
Payment – After an offer is made and accepted, payment is the final step of the procedure.
Compensation Timeline for Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
The purpose of filing mesothelioma claims is for a victim of asbestos exposure to receive rightfully deserved compensation, but some victims are hesitant due to misconceptions about filing a claim. Many believe the process will last years, and they may never see any money. However, this is false.
Asbestos trust fund claims can be settled and begin to payout within months. Working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can expedite the timeline for receiving compensation through an asbestos trust fund.
Due to the extensive experience of mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers, they will often know which asbestos trust funds are available and which ones to file claims with based on your work history and asbestos exposure history.
In fact, many victims who file asbestos trust fund claims begin to receive compensation as soon as 90 days after filing.
Requirements for Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
For asbestos trust fund claims, there are a few requirements to address before the process begins:
- Diagnosis and medical records – The victim must have a mesothelioma diagnosis or another asbestos-related disease and provide medical records confirming the diagnosis.
- History of asbestos exposure – The victim must provide their history of exposure (work history, military service, or a loved one’s connection to working with asbestos).
- Financial records – The victim should record all financial losses and hardships caused by their diagnosis in order to increase the chances of receiving maximum compensation. This is particularly helpful for victims requesting individual reviews of their trust fund claim.
Working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will help simplify this process as they will assist you in gathering all required documentation.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
Understanding the statute of limitations on asbestos trust fund claims is crucial for victims of asbestos exposure. The time limit for filing these types of claims typically begins at the time of a patient’s diagnosis for personal injury claims or at the time of death for wrongful death claims (both applicable to trust fund claims). It’s important to note that these deadlines vary from state to state.
In most cases, the statute of limitations for asbestos trust fund claims falls within a range of 2-4 years, but some states impose shorter one-year limits, while others extend the window to five or six years. Given the significance of these deadlines and the variation among states, it is vital to connect with a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
These legal experts, often associated with national mesothelioma law firms, can help individuals identify the applicable statute of limitations and determine the exact time frame to file a trust fund claim. Assistance from an experienced asbestos attorney is invaluable when navigating the complexities of the asbestos legal process and ensuring individuals affected by asbestos-related diseases can seek the compensation they deserve.
Why Should You File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim for Mesothelioma?
Most companies responsible for manufacturing and distributing asbestos products and materials knew of the health risks associated with the substance but chose not to disclose the risks to the public. These asbestos companies, even the ones that are bankrupt, are legally responsible for how mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases affect victims and their families; therefore, they are legally obligated to provide financial compensation to victims of asbestos exposure.
People can be exposed to asbestos at work, from a loved one who worked with asbestos, or from products that contained asbestos. When the companies that caused mass asbestos exposure filed for bankruptcy, they tried to sidestep their legal responsibilities.
The courts did not allow these companies to escape their responsibilities, so they forced them to establish trust funds, which maintain the asbestos companies’ duty to compensate people affected by mesothelioma and allow for justice to prevail.
Victims often prefer to file claims with asbestos trust funds because they are not required to go to court or endure long trials to receive compensation. The money has already been set aside and is ready to be distributed to victims. Another benefit of asbestos trust fund claims is that the bankrupt asbestos companies have most likely already admitted fault, so there is no lengthy battle to prove their negligence.
The best way for innocent victims of asbestos exposure to receive justice is by going through the asbestos trust fund claim process. A successful asbestos trust fund claim typically results in financial compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Travel costs for medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, learning about your options can help avoid financial loss. Working with an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos attorney can help secure maximum compensation, which could be the difference between financial security or years of medical bills.
If you or someone you know was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma, contact our team to learn how to file a claim as soon as possible.
What to Expect When You File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
Many mesothelioma patients and their families hesitate to file any type of mesothelioma legal claim, such as a trust fund claim or lawsuit, because they do not know what to expect and are intimidated by the thought of working with attorneys.
Mesothelioma lawyers work with victims to make the process much easier than most realize. Asbestos trust fund claims are particularly easier because the money is already set aside to pay claimants and the companies have often already admitted fault, meaning the payout process is much shorter than a lawsuit.
One of the main benefits of working with a lawyer specializing in mesothelioma is that victims are not obligated to pay any out-of-pocket legal fees. Mesothelioma lawyers typically work on a contingency basis, which means they receive a percentage of the awarded compensation amount. Lawyers only receive pay from a claim if it’s successful, which is one reason your lawyer will work diligently to ensure the claim is successful in providing deserved compensation.
Being involved in legal matters like filing asbestos trust fund claims may seem overwhelming, but mesothelioma attorneys simplify the process. They do most of the work, such as:
- Traveling to the victim in order to gather all necessary information for the claim
- Determining the victim’s asbestos exposure history
- Compiling and completing all required paperwork
- Filing the claim(s) against all responsible parties in all applicable jurisdictions
Another common misconception about asbestos trust fund claims for mesothelioma is many veterans are hesitant to file because they are under the impression they will be taking legal action against the military. This is false.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers monetary benefit programs for veterans who were exposed to asbestos while on active duty and have now been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.
Additionally, any mesothelioma legal claims such as asbestos trust fund claims filed by veterans are not made against the military. They are against the manufacturing companies that sold asbestos to the military without any warning.
Connect with our patient advocates to learn more about mesothelioma compensation options, the process, and how to find the best lawyer for your individual claim.
Common Questions About the Asbestos Trust Fund Claims Process
How long do asbestos trust fund claims take?
Asbestos trust fund claims usually reach a favorable conclusion in a few months since the money is already set aside specifically to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases.
How do you prove asbestos exposure?
The key to proving asbestos exposure is working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Asbestos exposure can be proven by evaluating a victim's work history and determining if they worked with or near any asbestos-containing products and materials that would have resulted in exposure.
What is the most important part of the asbestos trust fund claim process?
The most important part of the asbestos trust fund claim process is the first step: finding a mesothelioma lawyer to take on your claim. The legal help you choose could determine how fast you receive compensation or whether you receive your deserved compensation amount. Choose an experienced lawyer who can prove you were exposed to asbestos and are in need of financial help to pay for bills, treatment and more.
Sources & Author
- Asbestos. Mealey’s Litigation Report. Retrieved from: https://www.bateswhite.com/media/pnc/5/media.285.pdf. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Resolving Asbestos Claims: The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Duke Law. Retrieved from: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4069&context=lcp. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Chapter 11 – Bankruptcy Basics. United States Courts. Retrieved from: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-11-bankruptcy-basics. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Asbestos and the Future of Mass Torts. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://www.nber.org/papers/w10308#:~:text=The%20paper%20contrasts%20asbestos%20litigation,torts%20larger%20and%20more%20expensive Accessed: 11/08/2023.
- Veterans asbestos exposure. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/ Accessed: 04/06/23.
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1104.pdf. Accessed: 11/08/2023.
- Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources_comp01.asp> Accessed: 11/08/2023.