There are essentially two sources of compensation for families affected by asbestos. First and most familiar are the Asbestos Trust Funds, also referred to as asbestos bankruptcy trusts and asbestos compensation funds. These funds were set aside for those individual with grave asbestos-related illness. The Asbestos trust funds were created to ensure that corporations compensated the people they exposed to and suffered an asbestos-related illness.
There are currently about 60 asbestos trust funds. Due to a large number of Asbestos injury claims, companies began to establish Bankruptcy trust fund in the early 1980’s. In total, the asbestos bankruptcy trusts held more than $37 billion. Many of these have paid claimants about $18 billion since the late ’80s.
Another source of compensation for asbestos victims comes from “viable” companies outside of the trust funds. For those asbestos victims with the greatest exposure, most of their total compensations come from these viable non-bankrupt companies. There are currently approximately 150 viable non-bankrupt companies that may provide compensation to families affected by asbestos exposure.
Eligibility For Compensation From an Asbestos Trust Fund
Asbestos trust funds were set up to streamline compensation to victims of asbestos exposure more without forcing each individual to go to court. By setting up an asbestos trust, a corporation has both acknowledged its culpability in exposing people to asbestos and taking responsibility by compensating current and future victims.
An experienced asbestos attorney can often help negotiate a higher compensation amount if you choose the regular (not expedited) claim review process. Compensation amounts depend on the seriousness of your illness, the amount of exposure you received from that corporation (for example, how many years you were exposed to the product), and the solvency of the trust fund. Payments for those with the most serious illnesses can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Process For Filing for Asbestos Compensation
If your illness was caused by a product that has established an asbestos trust fund or is a non-bankrupt asbestos manufacturer, then you will need to file a claim against each specific entity. In most cases, you will file claims against several Trusts and several viable companies.
Before you can file a claim with an asbestos trust fund, you will need a confirmed diagnosis of an asbestos-related injury from a qualified pulmonologist or oncologist. You will also need to list when and where the exposure likely took place and how you were exposed. The documentation necessary would include work history before 1990, and any proof you have that you lived, worked or were married to someone working around asbestos related products.