More than 50 US companies have declared bankruptcy to avoid the full costs of asbestos lawsuits. Those companies have set up asbestos trust funds to provide compensation for people who become ill with mesothelioma, now and into the future.
Mesothelioma Trust Fund Awards: Who Are They For?
If you have mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness and you were exposed to asbestos by a company that has established an asbestos bankruptcy trust, you are entitled to an award from that company’s trust fund.
Asbestos trust funds have been established by companies that acknowledge their products contained harmful asbestos. These corporations have accepted liability for the fact that their negligence has led to asbestos disease. The trusts compensate people who have become ill with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness after working with or around those products. There are more than 115,000 sites and 19,000 ships in the US where these companies admitted they exposed people to asbestos.
If you have a diagnosis of mesothelioma or other asbestos disease, you may seek compensation from an asbestos trust fund. You will need to establish that you worked at one of the identified sites or elsewhere, what your job was there, and the time period during which you worked there.
A mesothelioma lawyer who understands the requirements of asbestos trust funds can gather and complete the documentation you need to make your claim. If you have been exposed to asbestos from multiple sources, your attorney can investigate to determine which corporations share responsibility for your injuries and help you receive all the compensation you are due.
Expected Mesothelioma Trust Fund Awards and Payouts
Payouts from mesothelioma trust funds depend on several factors, including the amount of funding left in the trust for future claimants, the severity of your illness, and the length of your exposure to asbestos at a particular site. Funds use a formula to calculate standard payout amounts.
Over the past three decades, asbestos trusts have paid more than $21 billion to claimants who have been injured by exposure to asbestos. Claimants with mesothelioma usually get the largest awards, averaging around $260,000. The trusts have remaining combined assets of more than $32 billion for compensating people who develop mesothelioma in the future.
You may submit your claim for expedited review, which can result in a quicker payout but the amount will be fixed and non-negotiable. Claimants must meet certain requirements to be eligible for expedited review. The individual review option gives you the opportunity to highlight all the circumstances of your claim. With help from an experienced asbestos lawyer, claimants often receive higher awards through the individual review process.
Once you have reached agreement with the mesothelioma trust fund on the amount of compensation you are due, your award may be reduced by something called the “payment percentage.” Few trusts pay the full amounts awarded, most pay only a fraction of the award amount, if trust funds are limited. This is done to insure that there will be enough money left to compensate all future claimants. The payment percentage can be 25 percent or less. The payment percentage may increase in the future, if there are fewer future claimants than expected. If this happens, you and your family could receive additional compensation at a later date.
How to Secure Your Mesothelioma Trust Fund Award
You can file claims against more than one mesothelioma trust fund, if you were exposed to asbestos from the product of more than one company. You may also file a lawsuit for damages against other corporations while seeking trust fund compensation.
If your asbestos exposure was due to a product you used at work, your claim may be against the manufacturer of that product. An asbestos lawyer can help you determine the appropriate party against which to file your claim.
Each asbestos trust has a website that outlines procedures for filing a claim and the proof required to support your claim. The claim procedures are standard for all these bankruptcy trusts and many allow you to submit your claim online.
Every mesothelioma trust is administered jointly by bankruptcy trustees, a Trust Advisory Committee made up of attorneys representing the interests of mesothelioma claimants, and a representative for future claimants. These parties determine the payment percentage and supervise The Trust’s compensation.
The process of receiving compensation from a mesothelioma trust is simpler than filing a lawsuit. You should still enlist the assistance of a mesothelioma lawyer to ensure that the process flows smoothly and that your best interests are represented.