Asbestos Trust Funds for Mesothelioma
Asbestos trust funds originated from the 1970s, which is when it became clear that asbestos was the primary cause of mesothelioma and other lung diseases. Because there were so many different claims against various companies, it was decided that trust funds should be established to compensate anyone who was exposed to asbestos as part of their work at the company. This eliminated the need for each and every sick employee to file their own lawsuit against the compensation.
There is currently more than $30 billion USD tucked away in asbestos trust funds that is available for those diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition. Find out how you can access these funds.
The first trust fund was developed in the 1980s and soon, many companies followed suit and provided trust funds for employees — many of whom were exposed to asbestos decades prior to their asbestos-related illness. There is now a long list of companies that have trust funds established and all you need to do is ask your lawyer or your company if they have a trust fund for mesothelioma patients, or those who have other asbestos-related illnesses.
Some companies with asbestos trust funds include the following:
- Owens Corning Fibreboard. This was a company that was first established in the 1930s and made fiberglass insulation throughout the US. It used asbestos in its insulation from the start and this continued until well into the 1980s. In the 1990s, the company set up its first trust fund for employees exposed to asbestos. After filing for bankruptcy in 2006, they created a bankruptcy trust fund to handle more than 200,000 lawsuits related to asbestos. As part of this fund, $7 billion USD was set aside to handle the many claims against the company.
- Armstrong World Industries. This company was founded in 1860 and is in the business of making flooring material, ceiling material and cabinets. Many of their employees were exposed to asbestos. In 1970, an employee who worked with insulation filed a lawsuit against the company and proved that the company was liable for his asbestos-related illness. This was the first lawsuit of an employer suing their employer for asbestos exposure. After thousands of more claims were filed against the company, the company had to file bankruptcy in 2000. In 2006, the company created the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust, which was designed to settle the many thousands of lawsuits that had been filed against them.
- National Gypsum. This company was first formed in 1925 and makes wallboard products. Many of their products had asbestos in them and lawsuits were filed by those who were exposed to the substance. The company was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1990 and later set up a trust fund to handle their thousands of law suits. There is more than $300,000 in their trust fund.
- Harbison Walker Refractories Company. This company was founded in 1874 and made things like fireproof bricks. Asbestos was used in the making of its bricks and other products. After many lawsuits by people who used the products and were exposed to asbestos, the company had to pay out millions of dollars to asbestos-exposed individuals. Finally, the company created the DII Industries, LLC Asbestos PI Trust Fund and put about $4 billion USD into the fund. This covered for exposure to asbestos by those who came in contact with their fireproof bricks, ropes, vacuum pumps, refractory cement, drilling mud, compressors and other products that exposed people to asbestos.
- Combustion Engineering. This was a company that made boilers and other products containing asbestos. The company began in 1912 but was shut down in 1990 after being bought out. Even though the company eventually stopped using asbestos in their products, those who had been exposed in the past were filing lawsuits against them. They eventually created a trust fund, putting more than a billion USD into the fund. Besides boilers, the company made block sticks, cement, boilers, cement, protective weather coating and joint material.
- ASARCO LLC. This company makes different kinds of metals and minerals and prior to the 1980s, they made products that contained asbestos. They had to file bankruptcy because of a large number of lawsuits related to asbestos exposure. In 2009, they created an asbestos trust fund to handle more than 900,000 asbestos-related lawsuits.
- Johns Manville. This company has the largest trust fund, with about $2.5 billion USD in the fund. The fund was first created in 1988 after receiving thousands of lawsuits from those who were exposed to the asbestos-containing diseases. They were an insulation and construction company that made many different products containing asbestos. They also provided asbestos-containing products to the military. Lawsuits started as early as 1929 and continue to this day. They exposed construction workers, electricians, factory workers, firefighters, bakers, veterans and other types of workers, most of whom worked in the construction industry.
How to File a Trust Fund Claim
When you file a trust fund claim, it is like filing a lawsuit without any type of trial or testimony. You just need to show proof of having an asbestos-related illness and that the illness was due to exposure to asbestos from a company’s product. This is sufficient proof to allow you to have access to trust fund monies.
There may be just one company responsible for your asbestos exposure or there can be several companies and it can be hard to determine which company was most responsible for your developing the asbestos-related illness. You will most likely have to hire an attorney who will help you file your trust fund claim against the company or companies that exposed you to asbestos.
If you have asbestosis or mesothelioma, you are easily qualified as having an asbestos-related illness. There are other illnesses related to the lungs that might have been caused by exposure to asbestos and you may have to have experts vouch that asbestos was the cause of your lung condition.
It is not just employees of a company that can file a trust fund claim. Family members of the employee were likely exposed to asbestos when the employee came home with clothing that had asbestos on it. The asbestos fibers can be inhaled by other family members who later come down with an asbestos-related illness. These family members are also entitled to benefits under a trust fund claim.
Some trust funds require that you provide your medical records and proof of work history in order to file a claim. Other companies don’t require specific details. It is up to the employee to show their medical records, doctor’s statements, work history and proof that you will have future problems in order to get money from a trust fund.