What Is An Asbestos Trust Fund?
An asbestos trust fund is a portion of money set aside by a bankrupt manufacturer that made and/or sold asbestos-containing products. These trust funds allow those who developed asbestos-related diseases and cancers to receive money for their medical care.
From the 1930s to the early 1980s, hundreds of manufacturers produced asbestos-containing products and made billions in the process. Though these manufacturers knew asbestos could cause lung damage and cancer, they concealed the truth for decades to keep making money.
Once the dangers of the mineral became widely known, these manufacturers faced hundreds of thousands of lawsuits from victims. In response, many filed for bankruptcy.
By filing for bankruptcy, these manufacturers had one of two options:
- They could go out of business
- They could set aside money in a trust fund to pay current and future victims of asbestos exposure
Bankrupt manufacturers that established trust funds were shielded from current and future asbestos-related lawsuits. Anyone looking to file a lawsuit with these companies must instead file a claim with the asbestos trust funds that they established.
Asbestos trust funds are managed by a group of trustees who manage how much the fund will pay. These trustees also ensure the fund can continue to operate year after year.
Victims affected by an asbestos-related disease should find out whether they are able to access money through a trust fund.
Quick Facts About Asbestos Trust Funds
- Asbestos trust funds group claims into two categories: malignant (cancerous) and nonmalignant (non-cancerous). Malignant claims typically pay more than nonmalignant claims.
- According to a 2010 report from the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, asbestos trust funds pay an average of $180,000 for mesothelioma claims. The value can vary greatly depending on the trust fund.
- Both victims and their families can receive financial compensation through asbestos trust funds.
- Asbestos trust funds can award compensation much faster than filing a lawsuit. However, the payout might be lower.