Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer due to asbestos exposure. Treatment can be extensive and expensive. Most people diagnosed with this disease cannot continue to work and provide for their family.
One way to obtain compensation for an asbestos-related disease is to file a claim with an asbestos trust fund. They were created on behalf of negligent asbestos companies that went bankrupt and set aside money for future asbestos claims.
The filing process, however, can be complex. This is why we recommend having legal representation. Our attorneys at PWHD have decades of experience handling asbestos claims. Let us review your situation and discuss your eligibility for compensation during a risk-free legal consultation.
Planning to File a Claim with an Asbestos Trust Fund
To file a claim with an asbestos trust fund, you must meet and provide specific criteria.
There are about 60 asbestos trust funds with an estimated $30 billion available for claimants. Each trust fund has its own eligibility requirements, and victims rarely qualify for every fund. Individuals who may be able to submit a claim include:
- Those exposed to asbestos in the workplace
- Victims who used asbestos-containing products
- Family members who were exposed through a worker’s clothes
- Family members who lost a loved one from asbestos exposure
If the individual is too ill to file, a family member or attorney may be able to file a claim on his or her behalf. Our firm is prepared to help determine which trust fund to file against.
Generally, asbestos trust funds want you to provide the following kinds of evidence:
- Dates and locations of asbestos exposure
- Asbestos-containing products you used or were around
- Documents indicating you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease (i.e. pathology reports and imagine scans)
- A statement from your treating doctor confirming your diagnosis and that your illness is connected to asbestos exposure
If you were exposed at work, this may include providing your employment records from the company that used asbestos as well as an explanation of your work duties. If you were exposed during your time in the Navy or another branch of the U.S. armed forces, your military service records may be required. Signed witness statements can also help support your claim for compensation.
Collecting this evidence is something our firm is prepared to help you with and is available to discuss in a confidential case review. There is no cost to talk to a lawyer and no obligation to move forward.
Filing a Valid Claim for Compensation
Filing a claim for compensation from an asbestos trust fund is a lengthy process. It could take months to more than a year for a claim to be reviewed and approved. Two kinds of trust fund claim reviews exist:
These reviews aim to provide a quick settlement. The claim will be grouped with other similar claims. A non-negotiable fixed payment may be provided if the claim qualifies under the trust’s distribution procedures. It is an ideal option for victims and loved ones that need financial compensation as soon as possible to afford medical treatment. Your medical diagnosis and work history will be taken into consideration in order to be issued an expedited review.
These reviews may be granted if you are seeking a larger settlement amount or do not meet the criteria for an expedited review. Your specific diagnosis, exposure level, number of dependents, and any special considerations will be taken into consideration. The compensation amount may be higher or lower than with an expedited review.
An attorney can help advise on which kind of review is good for you. He or she can also help ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations. In general, Virginia requires filing claims within two years from the date you were diagnosed. Other jurisdictions may have longer or shorter statutes of limitation. Not filing within the statute of limitations will mean losing your ability to seek compensation from the trust.
Decision Making Process for Asbestos Trust Funds
To ensure fair compensation, each trust is overseen by a board of trustees. These third parties are responsible for setting up and administering the funds. When settling claims, administrators of the trust will consider the following:
- Basis of evidence for asbestos exposure and illness
- The extent of asbestos exposure and severity of illness
- Whether the exposure occurred at a presumed location
- Amount of money in the asbestos trust fund
- The number of future victims estimated to come forward
Every asbestos trust fund assigns claim values to different asbestos-related diseases. This is referred to as a schedule. The scheduled value will be based on the compensation amount the negligent asbestos company paid to asbestos victims before they filed for bankruptcy. However, trustees must keep enough money to provide for victims who become ill in the future and to make sure enough funds will be available for them. As a result, some trusts pay only a portion of the originally estimated value of claims and adjust that payment percentage up or down based on market conditions, the number of estimated future claimants, and the condition of the trust.
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Treatment-related costs
- Travel and lodging for treatment
Trust Fund Compensation Amounts
The compensation amounts a victim or loved one may be eligible to obtain from an asbestos trust fund will vary. There is no usual amount paid out. It will be based on multiple factors, including the types of asbestos-related disease diagnosed and the payment schedule established by the trust.
Certain asbestos-related diseases and the extent of severity of the disease may qualify for greater compensation. For instance, victims diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos exposure often receive a higher payout.
Reach Out to Our Firm for Legal Help
If you need help filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund, PWHD is here to help. We have been advocating for asbestos victims and their families for more than four decades, recovering the maximum compensation possible on their behalf. Read what some of our clients have to say about our services.
An initial consultation is completely free and confidential. There is no risk in calling us to discuss your legal options and no obligation to have our firm represent you. If you have a case and decide to hire us, we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.