Asbestos and asbestosis trust funds are created via the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. This is a type of corporate bankruptcy that mandates the company reorganize finances in a way that allows them to still be in business, while paying off debt. (Asbestos.com)
Companies that file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection are shielded from asbestos and asbestosis lawsuits. As a condition of the bankruptcy, the judge tells the asbestos company to establish and fund the asbestos or asbestosis trust fund. Trustees manage it and decide how much compensation should be paid to each claimant.
Mesothelioma and asbestosis victims can sometimes file claims against more than one trust fund. The process could require the victim to provide the trust with a mesothelioma or asbestosis diagnosis, a doctor’s statement or a summary of the person’s asbestos exposure over the years.
Trust Fund Payouts for Various Diseases – Expedited Review
The disbursement amount in a trust fund claim depends first on the size of the trust fund. For instance, Owens Corning has one of the biggest trust funds in the US at $3.4 billion. It has established the schedule below for payouts based on disease under the expedited review process. Expedited review allows for the sick person to get fast access to compensation. (MesotheliomaLawsuitAfterDeath.com)
The disease that you suffer will play a large role in deciding the level of compensation your claim will get you. As you can expect, mesothelioma, a terrible and nearly always fatal cancer, is at the top of the list. Lower on the list are non-malignant diseases, such as asbestosis.
- Asbestos cancer (mesothelioma): $215,000
- Lung cancer: $40,000
- Other cancer: $20,000
- Severe asbestosis: $42,000
- Asbestosis/pleural disease/level III: $19,000
- Asbestosis/pleural disease/level II: $8000
As with most asbestos and asbestosis trust funds, Owens Corning pays a percentage of the settlement amount so there are sufficient funds for more claimants. The most recent percentage from this trust fund in 2018 was 11.1%. With the 11.1% rule, the trust fund pays $23,854 for a mesothelioma cancer claim.
But the percentage that the asbestos trust fund uses can vary. Depending on the financial resources of the trust, the percentage can be from 1% to 100%. But the average percentage today is 25%. So if you have a claim worth $300,000 and the percentage used with the asbestos trust fund is 37%, you will get $111,000.
Individual Review Claim for Trust Fund Payout
If a claim does not meet the trust fund’s medical and exposure criteria and there is a claim denial, the claimant can ask for an individual review. Also, a claimant wanting more money may want an individual review.
An individual review claim could get more or fewer funds for the victim, depending on the examinations by the trustee and their decision. When reviewing a case, the trustee may review these factors:
- The age of the claimant, work status, pain and suffering and family disruption from the illness
- Evidence that the injuries were caused by products that contain asbestos related to that specific company
- Industry in which the victim was exposed
- The results of similar claims
Extraordinary Asbestos Claim
A claimant who meets the medical and exposure factors for an expedited claim, and asbestos exposure was due to one employer or product, is eligible for an extraordinary claim review. The victim can accept the money offered or ask for arbitration.
How You File an Asbestos or Asbestosis Trust Fund Claim
As a victim of asbestos cancer or asbestosis, you need to show clear evidence of an injury caused by asbestos. Most trust funds have categories of diseases that are eligible for certain levels of compensation. Trust funds can require the claimant to meet specific medical criteria to be considered for a claim.
The claimant needs to file with the trust fund a claim form or other type of written statement concerning their mesothelioma or asbestosis. They also are often required to offer other evidence about their asbestos exposure.
The trustees for the trust fund will review the documentation based on three review procedures: expedited, individual or extraordinary.
Next is claims liquidation, where after the claim has been validated, an amount is assigned based on the illness, severeness and other factors. Expedited claims are assigned a fixed amount, but individual and extraordinary claims may be negotiated.
Lastly, once the offer is offered, you have 30 days or so to accept the claim and have it deposited in your bank account.
Evidence Needed to File an Asbestos or Asbestosis Trust Fund Claim
- Diagnosis of the patient: This involves medical documentation that proves you have been diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma. Documents could include pathology reports, biopsies and x-rays.
- Doctor’s statement: This is a statement written by a qualified doctor, such as an oncologist or regular doctor that confirms your asbestos disease diagnosis.
- Site of exposure: You need evidence that confirms the facilities or products of the company that exposed you to asbestos. This evidence could include affidavits from witnesses, employment records and product invoices.
- Asbestos involvement: This is medical documentation showing how the asbestos contributed to your cancer or asbestosis.
Suing Bankrupt Asbestos Companies
You cannot sue a company that is bankrupt. A company that has successfully filed for bankruptcy reorganization is protected from any asbestos or asbestosis lawsuits. But the law does require each company to set up a trust fund to pay out to current and future asbestos disease victims.
Note that asbestos and asbestosis trust fund claims are not lawsuits. But they still may pay you a high level of compensation for your injuries due to actions by negligent corporations that made or sold asbestos products in the US.
You could file a claim against more than one asbestos or asbestosis trust fund, in addition to filing a personal injury lawsuit against a solvent company or companies that exposed you to products containing asbestos.
How Much Money Is in Asbestos and Asbestosis Trust Funds?
As of this writing, there are 60 active trust funds that pay claims to asbestos cancer and asbestosis sufferers in the US. There is an estimated $30 billion available. These trust funds have paid thousands of claimants $20 billion in the last 30 years. This includes $15 billion from 2006-2012. While companies create the trusts, trustees manage them and decide how much money to pay to each claimant.
Top Asbestos and Asbestosis Trust Funds in the United States
- United States Gypsum: $3.9 billion
- Owens Corning Corp.: $3.4 billion
- Pittsburgh Corning Corp.: $3.4 billion
- WR Grace and Co.: $2.9 billion
- DII Industries: $2.5 billion
- Johns-Manville Corporation: $2.5 billion
- Armstrong World Industries: $2 billion
- Western Asbestos: $2 billion
- Babcock & Wilcox: $1.8 billion
- Owens Corning Fiberboard Subfund: $1.5 billion
If you have questions about making a claim against an asbestos or asbestosis trust fund, talk to an asbestos disease attorney in your community.
- Compensation from an Asbestos Trust Fund. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/compensation/trust-fund/
- How Mesothelioma & Asbestos Trust Funds Work (Feb 11,2019). Retrieved from https://www.mesolawsuitafterdeath.com/legal/asbestos-mesothelioma-trust-funds-process/