Decades passed with various asbestos-tainted materials polluting the atmosphere. While several worldwide companies have mesothelioma trust funds helping treat former employees, litigation requires great planning and care.
Hundreds of companies spent decades manufacturing and mining asbestos, affecting both employees and customers. Given the challenging treatment of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, it is valuable for patients to file bankruptcy trust claims against these companies.
Mesothelioma and asbestos trust funds are set up by corporations responsible for exposing their employees and customers to asbestos. The funds ensure that asbestos victims receive financial assistance, even if the accused company has filed for bankruptcy or gone out of business.
History of Mesothelioma Trust Funds for Asbestos Victims
For those diagnosed with mesothelioma, seeing an attorney is essential to file claim, but it’s not always possible to sue a negligent company. A special provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code protects certain companies from asbestos exposure lawsuits.
Though unable to sue companies reorganized under this provision, the option of claims filed against an asbestos bankruptcy trust remains., fortunately experienced mesothelioma lawyers are here to help.
One example includes Johns-Manville, miner and processor of asbestos, sued by employees as early as 1930. In 1982 the company reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy to manage lawsuit costs, then funded a bankruptcy trust to pay asbestos victims.
Since then, 50 asbestos bankruptcy trusts were created by 100 more companies. Asbestos victims, and their families, qualify for compensation from asbestos exposure companies responsible for the health damages.
For companies without bankruptcy protection lawsuits must be filed directly to obtain compensation. It has been reported that the Manville Trust paid nearly $4.3 billion for almost 797,000 asbestos claims since its establishment in 1988. Without bankruptcy protection, Johns Manville would have folded before compensating thousands of victims.
Because of the trust, the company stayed open and developed other businesses. In 2012 alone, the trust paid more than $146 million to settle approximately 27,800 claims.
In some instances, like Johns Manville, a company faces huge asbestos liabilities risking depletion of money and unable pay all claims. Numerous 1982 claims brought over 12,000 lawsuits by more than 16,000 claimants.
Given the long delay for mesothelioma diagnosis, Johns Manville sought out Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection expecting endless claims. In 1994, Congress enacted section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code, allowing companies with asbestos liabilities to establish and fund trusts similar to the Manville Trust.
The Government Accountability Office estimates about 60 asbestos trust funds with $37 billion in assets to pay claims.
Companies with Active Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
- ABB Lummus Global
- A-best Products
- API, Inc. Settlement Trust
- Armstrong World Industries
- ARTRA Group, Inc.
- ASARCO, LLC
- Asbestos and Insulation (A&I) Corp.
- Asbestos Claims Management Corp. (ACMC)
- Babcock and Wilcox Co.
- Bauer Supply Co.
- Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc.
- C.E. Thurston
- Carey Canada, Inc.
- Celotex Corp.
- Combustion Engineering
- Congoleum Corp.
- E.J. Bartellis
- Eagle-Picher Industries
- G-1 Holdings, Inc.
- Global Industries Technologies (Harbison-Walker)
- H.K. Porter Co.
- J.T. Thorpe Co.
- J.T. Thorpe, Inc.
- Johns-Manville Corp.
- Keene Corp.
- Lake Asbestos of Quebec, Ltd.
- Lykes Bros. Steamship
- Mid-Valley Inc. (Halliburton)
- National Gypsum
- Owens Corning Corp.
- Owens Corning Fiberboard
- Philadelphia Asbestos Corp. (Pacor)
- Pilbrico Co.
- Porter Hayden Co.
- Raymark Corp./Raytech
- Shook and Fletcher
- Stone and Webster Engineering
- T.H. Agriculture and Nutrition, LLC
- UNR Industries
- United States Mineral Products
- USG Corp.
- Utex Industries
- Western MacArthur/Western Asbestos
- Filing an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claim
Mesothelioma trust funds are created by “trust agreements” between the trust, asbestos liabilities and the company, with a court-approved fund amount. The trust reviews and pays claims separate from the company. A bankruptcy trust claim requires eligibility for compensation, with evaluation and payments determined by trust procedures.
The procedures distribute trust funds evenly between claimants to ensure everyone is paid. Claimants often complain about the delay in receiving payments. Trust funds generally pay a limited amount of money per year. So, for claims approved after annual funds have run out, there is a waiting list for payments once trust distributions resume.
Claimants must also realize trust payments limited compared to successful litigation awards. Trusts pay claims according to schedules of a predetermined amount based on the type of injury and other factors. Evidence is required for compensation, following rules submission and supporting evidence. Also similar to litigation, it is helpful to have an attorney prepare your claim to ensure you satisfy the trust fund rules.
How to Receive Asbestos Compensation
To support a claim, you need documentation of diagnosis, based on a trust-approved medical examination. In all but mesothelioma cases, requirements exist for Significant Occupational Exposure (SOE) of at least 5 years’ total exposure, including 6 months’ with each trust’s products.
Requirements vary based on occupation and the companies responsible, including worker affidavits.
Each asbestos trust is run by one or more independent trustees, who seek advice from a Trust Advisory Committee. The trust reviews claims and assigns values to accepted claims. Payments are calculated based on several factors: severity of illness, age of diagnosis, and the history of past settlements by the attorney.
Other health factors that possibly contributed to the illness, such as smoking, may also affect the settlement. If a trust does not have enough funds to pay all anticipated claims, each is cut by a percentage to allow continuous compensation. Dispute is allowed for disagreement of the settlement amount.
Most asbestos bankruptcy trusts take from a few months to over a year to process new claims. Upon accepting the payment offered, the time frame for receiving payment again varies. Some larger trusts accept claim documents electronically to speed the process.
For those facing financial hardship or terminal illness, most asbestos trusts offer an expedited review and payment process. For all of those in need our experienced legal team is prepared for mesothelioma trust fund procedures.