Currently, there is up to $30 billion in asbestos trust funds available for mesothelioma patients and their families. This money has been set aside by asbestos companies to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.
Key Points about Asbestos Trust Funds
- Trust funds provide a way for asbestos exposure victims to receive compensation for their injuries.
- There is an established process for claiming asbestos trust fund money, making it relatively easy for mesothelioma patients to receive compensation quickly.
- Trust funds are created by asbestos companies that have become bankrupt, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Asbestos Trust Claim Process
There are five basic steps in filing a claim against an asbestos trust fund. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer who understands the claim process can help you receive the maximum compensation available to you.
Step 1: Eligibility
Asbestos trusts require claimants to have been exposed to asbestos during a certain time frame at a particular jobsite or while using specific products. Other criteria may apply.
Step 2: Preparation
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you then need to gather evidence to corroborate your claim, such as employment, union, or military service records; medical records; and witnesses.
Step 3: Filing
Filing the claim involves submitting the appropriate forms and documentation gathered in the previous step. Some trusts require paper filings, while others can be done online.
Step 4: Review
Once the claim is filed, trust fund administrators will check it to make sure all the details are present. Reviews can be done on an expedited, individual, or extraordinary basis.
Step 5: Payment
When a claim is validated, a specific amount will be assigned to your claim (i.e., “liquidate”) and paid out to the claimant. The amount received depends on the fund and expenses claimed.
How Asbestos Trusts Operate
Trust funds for asbestos-related claims are established by section 524(g) of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code. Typically, when an asbestos company files for bankruptcy, as part of the proceedings, the court will require them to set up a trust fund to pay any future claims against the company.
Note that asbestos trust funds are not run by the original asbestos companies, even though the funds are usually named after those companies. In most cases, the original companies have been restructured, bought out, or have failed completely and are no longer in existences.
Instead, asbestos funds are completely separate organizations managed by boards of trustees who are required to make sure that the funds make appropriate payments to victims of asbestos exposure. The trustees are also responsible for making sure that the fund is adequately funded for future claims.
Selected Asbestos Funds
Nearly 60 asbestos trust funds have been created since the late 1980s, when Johns-Manville became the first company to go bankrupt due to asbestos lawsuits and was required to set up a fund. While some trust funds are no longer in existence, an estimated $37 billion is still set aside in dozens of funds today.
United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
One of the largest funds ever established, the U.S. Gypsum Asbestos Fund was created in 2006 after the United States Gypsum Company reorganized as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. For 100 years, U.S. Gypsum had manufactured a variety of construction materials, including drywall, ceiling panels, joint tape, insulation boards, molding plaster, cement, paint, and many other items. Some of these contained asbestos, exposing factory workers, construction workers, and individuals who lived or worked in buildings where these materials were used.
Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
Another large trust fund, the Pittsburgh Corning Corporation (PCC) Asbestos Trust was created as part of the 16-year bankruptcy proceedings of PCC, a joint venture between PPG Industries Inc. and Corning Inc. Among other things, the company manufactured Unibestos, a pipe insulation product containing amosite asbestos that was used widely in mills, power plants, ships, and elsewhere. The final reorganization plan was approved in 2016, with the expectation of trust fund payments coming shortly thereafter. The fund was seeded with both cash and stock contributions worth an estimated $3.5 billion.
Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust
The Johns-Manville Corporation was the first company to go bankrupt due to asbestos litigation, and as such, many later bankruptcies by other asbestos companies have been modeled after the rules established at the beginning. Created in 1988, the Manville Trust was intended to provide payments to individuals harmed by the asbestos in Johns-Manville products, which included a wide array of construction and industrial products. Unfortunately, although seeded with $2.5 billion, even that amount was not enough to cover the vast exposures that occurred. As a result, the trust has severely reduced the amount of money that claimants receive.
Learn More About Asbestos Trust Funds
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive compensation from one of the more than 50 trust funds that have been created over the last several decades. Fill out the form below to receive a free information packet and talk to an expert about what trust funds may be available to you.