Some asbestos companies filed bankruptcy after settling mesothelioma lawsuits. The companies established trust funds to ensure that their victims could still receive payment. Each claim with an asbestos trust fund can payout tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for you and your family.
Paying Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos trust funds originated from the 1970s. This is when it became clear that asbestos was the primary cause of mesothelioma. Many companies that used asbestos started going bankrupt. This was because there were so many different lawsuits filed against them. Many of the claimants were veterans working in construction trades.
This is unsurprising considering that those who served in Vietnam made up “two-thirds of the nearly 800,000 Vietnam-era veterans who reported a service-connected disability,” according to a 1987 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Did You Know? In the 1980’s, over 40 percent of Vietnam veterans worked in industries that posed a risk of asbestos exposure. According to 2010 statistics, over 18 percent of all veterans were still working in the manufacturing and construction industries.
Trust funds were 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.
There is currently more than $30 billion USD tucked away in asbestos trust funds available for those diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition. Find out how you can access these funds.
Did You Know? Over $30 billion was stored in asbestos trust funds for years. Victims of asbestos exposure were paid over $15 billion of this amount between 2006 and 2012. More than double that amount still remains for future claimants. These trusts are continually funded by the companies responsible.
The first trust fund was developed in the 1980’s. Soon, many companies followed suit. They 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 established trust funds. All you need to do is ask your lawyer or your company if there is a trust fund for mesothelioma patients or other asbestos-related illnesses.
Some companies with asbestos trust funds include the following:
- Owens Corning Fibreboard. This company was established in the 1930’s. It made fiberglass insulation throughout the US. It used asbestos in its insulation from the start and continued this practice well into the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, 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, founded in 1860, 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. This employee proved that the company was liable for his asbestos-related illness. This was the first lawsuit where an employee sued 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. This trust was designed to settle the many thousands of lawsuits that had been filed against them.
- National Gypsum. This company was first formed in 1925. National Gypsum makes wallboard products. Many of their products had asbestos in them. 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 lawsuits. 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 filed 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. They put about $4 billion 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.
- Combustion Engineering. This company 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 stopped using asbestos in their products, those who had been exposed in the past were still filing lawsuits against them. Then they created a trust fund, putting more than a billion dollars into the fund. Besides boilers, the company made block sticks, cement, boilers, and joint material.
- ASARCO LLC. This company makes different kinds of metals and minerals. Before the 1980’s, these products 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 about $2.5 billion USD in the fund. The company created this fund in 1988. This was after receiving thousands of lawsuits from people exposed to their asbestos-containing products. Johns Manville was an insulation and construction company. They 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.
Did You Know? Johns Manville established the first asbestos trust fund over 30 years ago. The company has processed over 800,000 claims since then.
How to File a Trust Fund Claim
When you file a trust fund claim, it is like filing a lawsuit without 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 enough proof to give you access to a trust fund.
There may be just one company responsible for your asbestos exposure or there can be several companies. It can be hard to determine which company was most responsible for your asbestos-related illness. You will most likely have to hire an attorney. They will help you file your trust fund claim against the company or companies that exposed you.
Some trust funds need you to provide your medical records and proof of work history 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 of future hardship in order to get money from a trust fund. A lawyer can help with these steps.
Secondhand Exposure Claims
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 asbestos on their clothing. Other family members can inhale asbestos fibers and later come down with an asbestos-related illness. These family members are also entitled to benefits under a trust fund claim.
Steps to Filing a Claim
- Filing – The first step to accessing money from an asbestos trust fund is filing your claim. This involves determining which companies to file your claim with. Claimants also need to produce evidence of their occupational exposure to asbestos.
- Review – Next, trustees review the claim. Most trusts have established criteria for medical history and asbestos exposure. This allows the trustees to review each case faster. If you meet the criteria, you could be eligible for an expedited review. This allows you to get your money faster. Otherwise claims are reviewed individually. Individual claims take a closer look at the patient’s background. Individual claims look at special circumstances. These include being diagnosed young or leaving behind dependents.
- Liquidation – After the review is complete, trustees will determine how much money to payout. Expedited claims work off fixed amounts and are paid accordingly. Lawyers negotiate individual claims, which sometimes lead to a larger sum than the fixed amount.
- Payment – Finally, when a deal the victim and trust reach a deal, the trust pays the victim.
Why Trust Funds?
Trust funds were born to help victims of mesothelioma and their families. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of your occupation, you deserve this money. It can help protect your family’s future and help pay for treatments.
- Trust funds contain money to cover medical expenses and more.
- Most claimants receive thousands of dollars from their claim.
- Veterans make up a significant portion of those claimants.
A large percentage of mesothelioma patients are veterans. Many veterans with mesothelioma can also find help through an asbestos trust fund. 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. In these cases, you may have to have experts vouch that asbestos was the cause of your lung condition.