Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds allow mesothelioma patients to pursue financial compensation without filing a lawsuit. Manufacturers of asbestos products were forced to establish these special trusts as part of court-ordered bankruptcy deals. An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds, and you may be able to receive a portion of this money.

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What Is An Asbestos Trust Fund?

An asbestos trust fund contains a designated amount of money, set aside by an asbestos company, to compensate individuals and families harmed by its products.

For decades, manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew the mineral could cause cancer and other illnesses. Asbestos was very profitable, however, because it was cheap and versatile, so these companies hid the deadly truth to continue making money.

Once the general public was made aware of the dangers of asbestos, thousands of people filed lawsuits to get money after developing asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

In turn, dozens of asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy protection to avoid being sued, but the U.S. courts system required them to establish trusts to pay mesothelioma victims for their suffering.

Learn if you are eligible to access asbestos trust fund compensation.

Asbestos Trust Fund List

Companies with active asbestos bankruptcy trusts include:

  • United States Gypsum Company: Established in 2006 with $3.95 Billion
  • Owens Corning: Established in 2006 with $3.42 Billion
  • Johns-Manville: Established in 1988 with $2.5 Billion
  • Armstrong World Industries: Established in 2006 with $2.06 Billion
  • Babcock & Wilcox: Established in 2006 with $1.84 Billion
  • Owens Corning: Established in 2006 with $1.55 Billion
  • Combustion Engineering: Established in 2006 with $1.24 Billion
  • Kaiser Aluminum: Established in 2006 with $1.22 Billion
  • Eagle-Picher Industries: Established in 1996 with $730 Million
  • Federal-Mogul: Established in 2007 with $635 Million
  • National Gypsum Company: Established in 1993 with $446 Million
  • W.R. Grace & Co.: Established in 2014 with $3 Billion

Compensation may still be available even if you don’t see your company on this list. Consult our full list of asbestos trust fund companies to learn if you may qualify.

Benefits of Asbestos Trust Funds

By filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund, you can access compensation, provide for your family, and hold manufacturers responsible.

Receive Financial Compensation

Anyone fighting mesothelioma deserves compensation to afford the best medical care possible. Financial compensation can also be used for any other expenses that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

You can use trust fund compensation to cover:

  • Lost wages if you can no longer work
  • Surgeries, medication, and other treatments
  • Travel costs
  • Vacations and any other expenses

You may start to receive mesothelioma compensation from an asbestos trust fund within 90 days or less.

Protect Your Family

A mesothelioma diagnosis brings uncertainty to your family, and you may even worry about affording treatment and other expenses.

Compensation from a mesothelioma trust fund can help offset these costs and give you peace of mind that your family will be provided for, for years to come.

File With No Burdens

Connecting with a mesothelioma lawyer can make filing an asbestos trust fund claim simple and hassle-free. These attorneys do most of the legal work, so you can focus on your health and spending time with your loved ones.

Hold Companies Accountable

With this legal option, you hold manufacturers of asbestos-based products accountable for their actions. These manufacturers could have prevented you and thousands of other people from getting sick had they stopped using asbestos.

Who Can File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim?

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can file an asbestos trust fund claim in most cases. The only known cause of this cancer is asbestos exposure, meaning there are likely grounds to file if you have an official diagnosis.

If you are the loved one of a victim of mesothelioma, you may be able to file on their behalf if they are too sick to file on their own, or if they passed away before seeking compensation.

Trust funds may also pay compensation if you have another asbestos-related disease, such as asbestosis or asbestos-caused lung cancer.

How Much Trust Fund Money Can I Receive?

Trust funds pay an average of $180,000 for mesothelioma claims, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, but this amount varies from person to person.

Trust fund payouts vary due to:

  • Which trusts you qualify for: The payout you receive depends on the particular asbestos trust funds you’re able to access, as some trusts pay more money than others.
  • Payment percentages: Mesothelioma trust funds may only pay a certain percentage of a claim’s full value. This is done so the trusts have enough money to pay future claimants.
  • Your asbestos-related disease: Trust funds usually pay more money if you have mesothelioma and less for other asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis.

Steps to Access Asbestos Trust Funds

With mesothelioma legal help, it may be possible for you to get money from an asbestos trust fund. Below, learn the steps to pursuing these fund compensation.

1. Prove Past Asbestos Exposure

First, evidence must be gathered that shows how you were exposed to asbestos and that you got sick as a result. An asbestos attorney can help you gather this evidence.

Evidence required to file a trust fund claim may include:

  • Proof of Diagnosis: You must have medical records showing you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness.
  • Physician Statement: This written notice gives a doctor’s insight on your condition and how it developed. For example, your doctor may note that your cancer stems from asbestos exposure.
  • Proof of Asbestos Exposure: In order to build your case, your lawyer must know how and where you were exposed to asbestos. Top law firms have vast databases of information about the asbestos industry they will use to strengthen your case.

With this information, your mesothelioma lawyer will determine which manufacturers may be to blame and if they have asbestos trust funds.

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2. File the Claim

When you work with a lawyer, you don’t have to prepare or file an asbestos claim yourself.

Your lawyer will file on your behalf once they know how you were exposed to asbestos and which mesothelioma trust funds you qualify for. This can help you avoid mistakes on your claim and prevent delays in compensation.

3. Have Your Claim Reviewed

Next, the mesothelioma trust fund’s board of trustees will review your claim and determine how much money you will get.

Asbestos trust fund claims are reviewed in 2 ways:

  1. Expedited review: The board of trustees uses a set of pre-established criteria to award compensation. The criteria may include the severity of your illness and which asbestos-based products you were exposed to.
  2. Individual review: With this option, the trustees take an in-depth look at your claim and award a value based on your unique situation. You can choose this option to try and get more money from your claim than you would from an expedited review.

4. Receive Asbestos Trust Fund Compensation

The board of trustees will make a financial offer to you and your lawyer after the claim is reviewed. If you accept, you will receive compensation over time based on the trust’s payment schedule.

Accessing Multiple Mesothelioma Trust Funds

You may have been exposed to asbestos-containing products made by several different companies. As a result, more than one manufacturer may be responsible for your illness.

Did You Know?

Some victims of asbestos exposure have received compensation from 30 or more trust funds.

Your mesothelioma attorney will work to identify all the manufacturers responsible for your illness to get the most value from your case.

Limitations on Filing an Asbestos Trust Claim

Asbestos trust fund claims are an important asset to victims and their families, but some limits exist.

Information Sharing and Set-Offs

You may decide to take other forms of legal action (such as a mesothelioma lawsuit) in addition to filing for asbestos bankruptcy trust compensation. That being said, these lawsuits may impact your ability to file a trust fund claim and vice versa.

Claim values can be affected by 2 notable factors:

  1. Information sharing: Some states require you to note any asbestos trust fund claims that were filed prior to your lawsuit. Additionally, some trusts mandate that you file your asbestos bankruptcy trust claims before you file a lawsuit.
  2. Set-offs: You may decide to file a lawsuit after receiving payment from a trust fund. In these cases, the money you received from the trust fund may be subtracted from the money you win in a lawsuit. This process is known as a set-off, and it varies by state.

Experienced lawyers will be transparent and tell you how trust funds and asbestos lawsuits affect each other, helping you get the compensation you deserve.

Statutes of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are strict rules about the amount of time someone has to file an asbestos trust fund claim.

The statute of limitations varies with each trust — and once the limit expires, you can’t access compensation even if you have a valid claim. For this reason, it’s important to file for asbestos trust fund compensation as soon as you’re diagnosed.

Contact our team today to learn if you may be eligible to file a claim.

How Are Asbestos Trust Funds Created?

  1. A manufacturer of asbestos-based products files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy allows companies to stay in business but repay debts. In this case, the manufacturer owes debts to those with asbestos-related diseases.
  2. The manufacturer then puts forth a plan to pay asbestos victims through a trust fund. Manufacturers have to put away enough money to pay both current and future victims since asbestos diseases often take 20-50 years to develop.
  3. If the bankruptcy courts approve the plan, the trust is established, and all pending mesothelioma lawsuits against the manufacturer cease. Those who wished to file a lawsuit must submit an asbestos trust fund claim instead.

By 2007, almost all major manufacturers of asbestos-based products in the United States had declared bankruptcy.

Johns-Manville: The First Asbestos Trust Fund

After facing thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits, the Johns-Manville Corporation created the first asbestos trust fund in 1988, called the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust.

Though this trust initially paid victims in full, it temporarily ran out of money in the 1990s since there were so many claims.

A restructure of the trust in 1995 set up many of the rules that govern asbestos trust funds today, such as paying more money to those with mesothelioma, as well as payment percentages.

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Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

Asbestos trust funds still play a crucial role in providing mesothelioma compensation today, so U.S. lawmakers monitor the trusts with legislation.

Important pieces of asbestos trust fund legislation include:

  • Section 524 of the Bankruptcy Code: In 1994, Congress amended Section 524 of the bankruptcy code so manufacturers of asbestos products had to form trust funds if they filed for bankruptcy.
  • The FACT Act: This act would have required mesothelioma trust funds to submit quarterly detailed reports to bankruptcy courts that listed all payments made to claimants. The act was intended to prevent fraud, but it has stalled as of 2017.

Other government agencies are taking steps to prevent trust fund fraud as well.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation on Kaiser Gypsum Company after the manufacturer tried to make a new trust fund. This was done in hopes of preventing trusts from paying fake future claims.

Get Help With Filing an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim

Accessing money from asbestos trust funds can help keep your family members financially stable as you fight mesothelioma. With the right team behind you, getting money from asbestos trust funds is an easy process — you may even be able to get money in under 3 months.

Our team of Patient Advocates can help you access asbestos trust funds right now and answer any questions you have about the process.

Start your asbestos trust fund claim today.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:

Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Cancer Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

View 4 Sources
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  2. Conlin, M. (2019, December 19). Special Report: Why big business can count on courts to keep its deadly secrets. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-courts-secrecy-lobbyist-specialre/special-report-why-big-business-can-count-on-courts-to-keep-its-deadly-secrets-idUSKBN1YN1GF.
  3. Rand Institute for Civil Justice. (2010, July 26). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf.
  4. U.S. Department of Justice. (2018, October 31). Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in New Asbestos Trust Proposal. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-statement-interest-new-asbestos-trust-proposal.
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