Mesothelioma Trust
Funds

Mesothelioma trust funds provide compensation to eligible individuals with asbestos-related diseases. According to the Rand Corporation, 730,000 asbestos exposure victims filed lawsuits against asbestos companies who had negligently exposed them to asbestos during the period from the early 1970s through the end of 2002, and these numbers are rising.

Mesothelioma patients are not always eligible for trust fund proceeds, nor are trust funds the only method by which victims can receive compensation. The Lanier Law Firm is a nationwide law firm with extensive experience in asbestos litigation. We help our clients identify all responsible parties and obtain maximum compensation through every means available.

What is a mesothelioma trust fund?

The dangers of exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products were recognized as far back as the 1930s, and by the 1950s, many asbestos manufacturers and employers were aware of the dangers of asbestos products but failed to provide workers with warnings or protective measures. Many companies actively concealed this information, knowingly subjecting their workers to years of daily exposure to a highly hazardous product.

Since asbestos-related illnesses often have a latency period of 20 to 50 years, workers were unaware of the danger until large numbers of them became ill with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or other asbestos diseases. As vast numbers of injured workers filed mesothelioma lawsuits against the negligent companies, these companies quickly became overwhelmed with their liabilities.

Facing insolvency, the companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcies. The companies were court-ordered to set aside monies to compensate future asbestos claimants through trust funds set up as part of their reorganization under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code. The purpose of the asbestos bankruptcy trusts was to ensure mesothelioma compensation would be available for present and future claims.

Chapter 11 U.S. Code § 524(g) establishes these funds as a no-fault system that protects the companies from asbestos lawsuits. This helps to ensure enough money will be available for future victims.

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      Trust Funds

      Below is a list of the asbestos bankruptcy trust funds to date:

      How do trust funds help mesothelioma victims?

      Trust fund claims provide asbestos victims a means to access compensation sooner and with fewer uncertainties when compared to filing a lawsuit.

      Filing a Trust Fund Claim

      Every trust fund has its own procedures for filing claims, but they tend to have a few common denominators. You will need to provide information to prove you are eligible. Most trusts give you a choice between a standard or expedited review process. The skilled mesothelioma lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm are familiar with the procedures of the individual trusts and can handle the entire process for you.

      Eligibility

      The following criteria must be met for claimants to be eligible to receive trust fund proceeds:

      • Exposure to asbestos fibers through the fault of the company for whom the trust was set up, including second-hand exposure experienced by family members when workers carried asbestos fibers home on their clothing
      • A confirmed medical diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness

      Documentation You Will Need

      You will need to provide the following:

      Personal
      identification
      Employment
      records
      Medical records that verify your condition

      Each trust has slightly different documentation requirements. Our asbestos lawyers can gather the required documentation on your behalf and ensure it meets the trust’s criteria.

      Steps to File a Claim

      Most trust funds provide websites where asbestos victims can file claims and upload documents. Most funds also allow claimants to choose between a standard or expedited claim process. The type of claim you choose could impact the amount of compensation you receive. It is best to obtain legal advice from a qualified mesothelioma lawyer before choosing this option.

      How much can I expect to receive from an asbestos trust fund payout?

      Asbestos trust fund compensation can be substantial. Compensation is determined by the severity of the illness, age at diagnosis and expected lifespan. Asbestos trust fund payouts can occur as lump sums or monthly payments.

      There is currently an estimated
      available through the trust funds.

      As increasing numbers of victims come forward, some trusts have had to adjust compensation to ensure funds are available for all victims.

      These adjustments are made by designating a payment percentage of the claim value. These adjustments can limit the amount of money you recover. Some funds pay 35 percent, 20 percent or even less of the claim value.

      This can result in claimants not receiving sufficient financial assistance to meet their needs. However, many claimants have multiple sources of exposure and may have additional legal options for obtaining the financial compensation they need and deserve.

      Can I file more than one trust fund claim?

      Asbestos exposure victims are eligible to file claims against the trust funds of all the companies that exposed them to asbestos. Claimants who have multiple trust claims will be required to disclose this information to each trust, and compensation could be reduced, or set back. This ensures each trust pays only for each company’s percentage of fault for each claim.

      Can I file a trust claim and a lawsuit?

      Companies that set up asbestos trust funds do so under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code, which protects them from asbestos-related lawsuits. No one can file an asbestos-related lawsuit against these companies. The only means to receive compensation from these companies is through trust fund claims.

      However, trust fund claimants are not barred from filing lawsuits against companies that do not have Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In some jurisdictions, receipt of compensation from trust funds could impact your award, but this is not always the case.

      One of the functions of a qualified mesothelioma attorney is ensuring lawsuits are filed in a venue that will serve the best interests of the client.

      Are proceeds from a mesothelioma trust fund taxable?

      Proceeds from a mesothelioma trust fund are generally not taxable. Under Chapter 26 U.S. Code § 104, compensatory proceeds from personal injury claims are not taxable. Punitive damages are taxable, but these are not common in mesothelioma trust fund claims.

      How long do I have to file an asbestos trust fund claim?

      Unlike tort claims that are governed by state law, the statute of limitations for trust fund claims is determined by each individual trust. The time limit is generally two or three years after the mesothelioma diagnosis.

      Can family members file trust fund claims?

      Mesothelioma victims can rest assured that their loved ones will be taken care of in the event of their death, no matter where they are in the claims process.

      Immediate family members are entitled to file wrongful death trust fund claims after the death of the victim in the event the victim had not already filed a claim. Family members can continue claims filed by a victim who passed away before the process was finished. Additionally, families of claimants who receive monthly payouts from trust funds can continue receiving trust fund payments beyond the death of the claimant.

      Do I need a mesothelioma lawyer to help me file a trust fund claim?

      In addition to the pain and suffering brought on by the illness, mesothelioma victims face financial strain when they are unable to continue earning an income. This can cause a loss of insurance at a time when you need it the most.

      Under these circumstances, navigating the legal system, gathering documentation and trying to understand all the legal options can be overwhelming.

      Some victims are surprised to learn they were exposed to asbestos and are unaware of how or when the exposure took place. Even if you are aware of a time when you were exposed, you may have had additional exposures.

      Experienced asbestos lawyers are familiar with the companies and circumstances that precipitate exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos attorneys can also take over the job of gathering documents and figuring out legal processes and options.

      Why should I choose The Lanier Law Firm to handle my asbestos trust fund claim?

      The Lanier Law Firm is a nationwide mesothelioma law firm with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Houston. Our firm was established in 1990 with a compassionate and individualized approach to client care. Over the past 32 years, we have grown to a staff of more than 50 respected, award-winning attorneys.

      Our attorneys are among the most qualified asbestos attorneys in the world. Many have been invited to speak at conferences and lead conventions about asbestos claims. We are well-known in the legal community for our litigation skills as well as our dedicated and sometimes non-traditional litigation methods.

      Our creativity and relentlessness are rooted in our strong desire to obtain the compensation our clients need and to hold accountable those who carelessly harm others. When victims of asbestos exposure come to us, we obtain a detailed life and work history so we can identify all sources of asbestos exposure and pursue maximum compensation.

      Trust claim cases are time-sensitive. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition, don’t wait to contact an attorney. We offer a free individual review and only charge a fee when we win you compensation.

      Your consultation is free.

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