The newly created Rapid-American asbestos trust fund is the result of a recent plan to settle liabilities that date back to the company’s 2013 bankruptcy filing. The Rapid-American asbestos trust fund will set aside $12.3 million to pay victims. Veterans with asbestos-related diseases who were exposed to products made by Rapid-American may be entitled some of this money.
Why Did Rapid-American Establish This Trust Fund?
Rapid-American Corporation announced in June 2021 that it would settle its asbestos liabilities by creating a $12.3 million asbestos trust fund. The Rapid-American asbestos trust fund will resolve the 13-year long Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case that began in 2013.
This news is a win for anyone who developed an asbestos-related disease after using products made by Rapid-American or the Philip Carey Corporation. Philip Carey was a major producer of asbestos products that Rapid-American acquired in 1972. As a result, Rapid-American is responsible for any asbestos claims made against Philip Carey.
According to recent reports, roughly 275,000 people still had pending lawsuits against the company when the Rapid-American asbestos trust fund deal was announced.
U.S. veterans who were exposed to asbestos products made by Rapid-American and later developed an asbestos-related disease may be able to file an asbestos trust claim and get financial compensation.
How the Rapid-American Asbestos Trust Will Operate
At this time, how this new trust will operate is not publicly known. That said, the Rapid-American asbestos trust fund will likely operate the same way that other trust funds do.
In general, asbestos trust funds operate as follows:
- Major companies establish asbestos trust funds by filing for bankruptcy protection when they predict future asbestos lawsuits are likely to bankrupt them. When a company is declared bankrupt, it can no longer be sued.
- Bankrupt asbestos companies must set up a system to compensate those they harmed — this is where the asbestos trust fund comes in.
- Through an asbestos trust fund, those who are harmed can file claims against the company to pursue compensation.
- The company’s trust fund awards money if the victim has a valid claim.
Asbestos trust fund claims often pay out different amounts, depending on what disease a victim has developed. Terminal cancers such as mesothelioma are valued higher than noncancerous diseases.
There is currently over $30 billion available across all aspects of asbestos trust funds. Rapid-American’s asbestos trust fund adds to that overall total.
Rapid-American and Asbestos-Based Products
The Rapid-American asbestos trust fund announcement has been a long time coming. The company has faced asbestos lawsuits shortly after it acquired the Philip Carey Corporation.
Philip Carey asbestos products were being made since the 1880s, but the health risks of asbestos were hidden from the general public for almost a hundred years.
Corporations such as Philip Carey knew that asbestos could be deadly as far back as the 1930s but they hid the truth to keep making money.
Philip Carey asbestos products included:
- Air conditioner ducts
- Aircell pipe and block insulation
- Asbestos air roofing felts
- Boiler coverings
- Carey asbestos sponges
- Carey fire-foil panels
- Careycel pipe coverings and blocks
- Fire-Chex asbestos-plastic shingles
- Glazed asbestos siding with a baked-on ceramic finish
- Super 606 asbestos cement
- Vitricel asbestos sheets
- Vitricel cement
If these products were damaged or disturbed, they could release asbestos fibers into the air. Anyone who inhaled the fibers could then develop an asbestos-related disease decades later. Their loved ones could also be exposed if the asbestos fibers stuck to clothing and hair and were brought back into the home.
Can U.S. Veterans Access This Trust Fund?
Veterans may be able to file a claim to get money from the Rapid-American asbestos trust fund once it is fully operational.
To do so, veterans should work with an experienced asbestos attorney to build a claim. Experienced asbestos lawyers are trained to determine what asbestos products a veteran was exposed to and skillfully file trust fund claims on their behalf.
An asbestos trust fund claim shows:
- When and where they were exposed to Philip Carey asbestos products
- That this exposure caused them to develop an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma
- That the veteran deserves compensation as a result
It is likely that the trust will pay money to the affected veteran if the claim is determined to be valid.
Further, veterans may be able to file claims with multiple asbestos trust funds if they were exposed to more than one asbestos-based product. Filing claims with multiple asbestos trust funds can increase the overall amount of mesothelioma compensation a veteran receives.
Next Steps for U.S. Veterans With Asbestos-Related Diseases
The Rapid-American asbestos trust fund is proof that more opportunities for mesothelioma compensation are becoming available every day.
What’s more, veterans who developed mesothelioma may be able to pursue compensation not only through asbestos trust funds, but also through lawsuits and VA benefits.
Through VA benefits, veterans and their loved ones may also be able to access monthly stipends and medical care for service-related asbestos diseases.
Available VA benefits for asbestos exposure include:
- Aid and Attendance (A&A)
- Disability compensation
- Health care for veterans
- Housebound benefits
There are also VA benefits for survivors if a veteran’s loved ones died from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.
VA benefits for survivors include:
- Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Funeral & burial reimbursement
- Funeral honors
- Free military headstone
- Health care for dependents
- Survivor pension (also called death pension)
Outside of VA benefits, veterans can pursue compensation from asbestos companies that didn’t file for bankruptcy through a lawsuit. It is important to remember that the military is never sued through this process.
You can file lawsuits, asbestos trust fund claims, and VA benefits claims simultaneously. Learn about the Rapid-American asbestos trust fund and other compensation options with a free veterans packet.