How to Access Asbestos Trust Funds
There are restrictions that apply when making a claim to access compensation through an asbestos trust fund.
Those eligible to access trust funds include:
- A person with a confirmed diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or other specified forms of lung cancer
- A family member (i.e. child, sibling or spouse) of someone who died from an asbestos-related illness
Asbestos Exposure Claim Proof
To access a trust fund, a claimant must prove a “significant occupational exposure” to asbestos. A claimant must show a connection between their asbestos exposure and one of eight different “disease levels” before receiving compensation. The most serious of these disease levels is mesothelioma.
For your claim to succeed, you need to prove that your asbestos exposure was linked to asbestos products made, sold or used by the bankrupt company.
To prove that your claim is valid, you need the following information:
- Type of industry in which the exposure occurred (e.g., manufacturing, shipyard)
- Type of occupation during the time of exposure (e.g., steamfitter, construction worker)
- Name of the site of exposure
- Beginning and end dates for the time of exposure
- Social Security and employment records
- Affidavit or deposition by the claimant or co-workers regarding work history
- Affidavit of a family member where the injured person is deceased
- Documented proof of economic loss
Also, a claimant must be able to provide medical records regarding their illness.
These documents and details include:
- Type and stage of disease (mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or other cancer)
- Death certificate (if applicable)
- Date of diagnosis
- Medical records such as chest X-rays, documentation of treatments
For mesothelioma, a pathology or autopsy report identifying the disease may also be required.
The Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
With most types of legal action, there are strict rules about the period of time in which an injured person must take action to claim compensation related to their illness. Every state has its own statute of limitations or rules related to these time frames, but these limits usually begin from the time the injured person received their medical diagnosis.
Although it is different from filing a civil lawsuit, the general best practice is to file a claim with an asbestos trust fund as soon as possible after receiving an asbestos-related diagnosis, even if serious symptoms have not yet been experienced.
Choosing the Claim Option that is Right for You
Before starting your claim, you should know that the details of your own situation are very important and will determine the best way to proceed. Getting the right kind of feedback on your medical and work history from an experienced legal team will help you get the best compensation possible.
Each trust sets its own payout amount, and you may qualify for more than one trust. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will check with each trust to determine your payout.
In most cases, a claimant with the required medical and work records can find out how much their claim is worth by filing an expedited review claim. With this type of claim process, a fixed set of values is used to determine the claim value. Payment is made more quickly than it is for the individual review claim method.
The individual review claim method can be used where the claimant hopes for an increased payout amount based on their personal circumstances.
Different factors will affect this payout, including:
- Minor children
- Exposure from the product covered by the trust
- Historical settlement and verdict amounts obtained by a mesothelioma law firm
The individual review may be used for certain types of illness and requires more detailed proof. However, it does not guarantee a higher claim payout. In fact, if you choose an individual review, you can sometimes receive less than the expedited amount. An experienced legal team can help you determine what claim is best for you.
This information is provided as a general summary of a compensation process that has been of significant help to many asbestos victims.