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Asbestos Trust Funds

Quick Summary

Asbestos trust funds were established by bankrupt asbestos-containing product companies in order to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases. A mesothelioma attorney can help victims pursue trust fund compensation if they have developed an asbestos-caused illness.

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What Is an Asbestos Trust Fund?

Asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds are established by negligent asbestos companies that file for bankruptcy.

These special trusts are designed to have enough money to compensate all of a company’s current and future asbestos exposure victims.

Victims may be able to receive compensation for:

  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural plaques
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the most serious of these asbestos-related health problems because of its low survival rate. Due to its severity, patients with this cancer often receive the highest compensation amount possible from asbestos trust funds.

How Much Trust Fund Money Can I Receive?

The median amount paid by trusts per mesothelioma claim is $41,000, but this amount varies on a case-by-case basis.

Many mesothelioma victims qualify for compensation from multiple trusts.

Accessing Multiple Trust Funds

Most companies that made and sold asbestos products did not do so alone. They were part of complex supply chains that included multiple companies.

This means more than one company may be responsible for a victim’s asbestos-related illness. If this is the case, they might be able to file claims against multiple trusts, all of whom bear part of the responsibility.

The more trusts a victim is able to make legitimate claims on, the higher the total amount of mesothelioma compensation.

Asbestos Trust Fund Payment Percentages

By their very nature, asbestos trust funds were established to provide compensation for future claimants. They deal with a limited amount of money that was set aside when the trusts were established.

Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20-50 years. This means that paying out a sum that bankrupts a company early on will use up all the funds for victims in the future.

To make sure that the trusts remain operational and future claimants have options for compensation, payment percentages were created. These percentages can range from 1-100% of the claim’s full value and can change over time as the financial status of the trust fluctuates.

For example, in a trust where the full claim amount is $100,000:

  • A 1% payment percentage would be $1,000
  • A 50% payment percentage would be $50,000
  • A 90% payment percentage would be $90,000

This variation in payment amount makes filing a claim as soon as possible very important. Getting the best possible payment percentage is sometimes nothing more than a matter of speed.

Recent Asbestos Trust Fund Settlements

Because mesothelioma is so aggressive, claimants with this cancer tend to recover more compensation than those suffering from other asbestos-related conditions like pleural plaques or asbestosis.

While individual review settlements can vary widely even within a single trust, expedited review settlement amounts do not vary.

Some examples of expedited review payouts include:

  • Owens Corning: $215,000
  • Fibreboard: $135,000
  • United States Gypsum Company: $155,000
  • Armstrong World Industries: $110,000
  • Babcock & Wilcox Company: $90,000

These numbers represent the settlement amount before payment percentages have been applied. The payment percentage is subject to change, so it is best to file an asbestos trust claim as soon as possible.

Asbestos Trust Fund List

CompanyYear EstablishedInitial Funding
Armstrong World Industries2006$2,062,000,000
ASARCO LLC2009$830,000,000
Babcock & Wilcox Company2006$1,845,000,000
Celotex1997$1,246,000,000
Combustion Engineering2006$1,243,000,000
Congoleum Corporation2010$270,000,000
DII Industries, LLC2005$2,514,000,000
Eagle-Picher Industries1996$730,000,000
Federal Mogul U.S. T&N Subfund2007$635,000,000
Federal Mogul U.S., FMP Subfund2007$55,000,000
Kaiser Aluminum2006$1,218,000,000
Johns-Manville1988$2,500,000,000
National Gypsum Company (NGC)1993$446,000,000
Owens Corning2006$3,423,000,000
Owens Corning, Fibreboard Subfund2006$1,556,000,000
Pittsburgh Corning Corporation2013$825,000,000
Porter Hayden Company2006$40,000,000
Quigley Co. Inc.2013$569,000,000
Raytech Corporation2000$52,000,000
United States Gypsum2006$3,957,000,000
Western Asbestos2004$2,000,000,000
W.R. Grace2014$3,000,000,000

If you have mesothelioma and worked for one of these companies, you may have a legal claim.

If you don’t see the company you worked for, that does not mean you don’t have a claim. There are hundreds of other asbestos companies not listed who may be held accountable for your cancer.

Find out how you can access asbestos trust funds.

Limitations on Filing a Trust Fund Claim

Who can file a trust fund claim, how long they have to file, and where they can file it are all subject to state and national laws.

State Laws

Every state has laws and regulations governing asbestos claims.

States can decide on details like:

  • Minimal medical criteria: How sick an asbestos victim has to be before filing a claim
  • Filing multiple claims for different diseases: Whether a victim who filed a claim for a less-severe asbestos disease, like asbestosis, can file again if they later develop a more severe condition, like mesothelioma
  • Statute of limitations: The deadline for filing a trust fund claim

State laws can be complicated. Working with an experienced mesothelioma law firm is the best way to ensure that a victim’s compensation isn’t negatively affected by unexpected rules and regulations.

“These manufacturers, most of them are aware that asbestos created a problem with health. I think if you find out you have mesothelioma, you should contact an attorney as quick as possible.”

– Ernie C., Pleural Mesothelioma Patient

Filing Other Claims and Lawsuits

Victims who intend to seek compensation both from asbestos bankruptcy trusts and from lawsuits against active companies need to be aware of how the two processes can affect each other.

Compensation Disclosure Laws

Some states have laws about information sharing, which require plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit to disclose if they have already received compensation from a trust for the injuries or illness they are suing over.

This can allow defendants to shift blame for the injury to the now-bankrupt company that established the trust, even if they may also be partially responsible.

Setoffs

Other states allow setoffs, which can affect the total amount of compensation a defendant is required to pay if they lose at trial. Setoffs reduce the verdict amount based on compensation already received.

For example, in a state with setoffs, a victim who is awarded $500,000 in a trial but has already received $100,000 from a trust may find that the defendant is required to pay them only $400,000.

How Were Asbestos Trust Funds Created?

When asbestos litigation first gained momentum in the late 1970s, many of the companies responsible for producing asbestos-containing products were unprepared to face the consequences.

In turn, they started to file for bankruptcy to look for protection from mesothelioma lawsuits.

To prevent these companies from shirking responsibility, the courts ordered them to create asbestos trust funds. Regulated by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, these trusts allowed victims of asbestos exposure to pursue compensation without suing the companies at fault.

Asbestos Trust Fund Creation Process

Today, when a company involved in asbestos litigation petitions for bankruptcy, they are required to follow certain trust fund establishment procedures in order to compensate current and future victims.

  1. Bankruptcy Court: First, the company petitions the bankruptcy court for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganization. If granted, all lawsuits against the company are stopped immediately.
  2. Estimates for Asbestos: Once bankruptcy has been declared, the company has to enter into negotiations with its creditors. This includes the plaintiffs suing them for asbestos-related illnesses and their legal counsel. Together, they develop a plan for reorganization that includes details about the funding and management of the asbestos trust fund. Money for the trust comes from selling the company’s assets.
  3. Reorganization Approval: The reorganization plan is submitted to the courts. If it is approved, the asbestos trust fund is established and can begin settling claims.

The Johns-Manville Corporation

The Johns-Manville Corporation first filed for bankruptcy protection against asbestos lawsuits in 1982. At the time, this company was the largest producer of asbestos-related products in the United States.

It took 6 years, but in 1988, the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was created, and all asbestos-related litigation against the company shifted to the trust.

As time went on, and the rate at which claims were filed did not decrease, the trust became unable to pay victims 100% of the value of their claims. The personal injury trust was forced to reorganize.

New policies, like paying more to claimants with more serious illnesses and payment percentages, have kept the trust stable for decades, ensuring it will be there to provide compensation for future victims and their family members.

Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

Although asbestos trust funds are an established part of the asbestos exposure compensation process, new laws governing who can access the funds, and how, continue to be a topic of disagreement among lawmakers.

Fairness in Class-Action Litigation (FACT) Act

The FACT Act does 2 main things to asbestos litigation, in an attempt to protect the trusts from those looking to take advantage of the system.

First, it requires that all members of a class-action lawsuit have the same extent of injuries. This means that some members of the suit cannot have a less serious condition like pleural plaques while others have mesothelioma.

It also requires victims to provide more specific information when seeking compensation from a trust. This information must be reported quarterly by the trusts in their public bankruptcy dockets.

Other Legislation

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also taken aim at asbestos trust funds in recent years.

The DOJ has criticized the trusts’ lack of fraud safeguards and their habit of working with attorneys during reorganization and formation who will later benefit from filing claims against them, citing a conflict of interest.

Get Help Filing an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim

Filing an asbestos trust fund claim can be an efficient and effective way for asbestos exposure victims to seek compensation. However, going at it alone can be difficult.

An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can do more than help with filing the paperwork and negotiating the claim amount. They can help victims navigate laws that could complicate their claim and decrease their compensation amounts.

If you or a loved one have been affected by mesothelioma and you want to explore possible compensation options, don’t hesitate.

See if you qualify for asbestos trust fund compensation now.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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