Mesothelioma Trust Funds: What You Need to Know

October 23, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Mesothelioma Trust Funds: What You Need to Know

Asbestos exposure can increase the risk of many diseases and conditions, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer. Many victims do not show these symptoms immediately. Instead, it can take between 20 and 50 years for symptoms of mesothelioma to show up. Unfortunately, when they do appear, they often strike viciously. Mesothelioma treatment often costs between $11,000 and $12,000 per month. This means substantial medical costs for victims of mesothelioma, as well as considerable costs for loved ones left behind after a long fight with these illnesses. Patients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases have the right to compensation. Unfortunately, many of the companies that exposed their workers to asbestos and, therefore, to the potential impacts of those diseases, have long since gone bankrupt. To provide support for workers who develop symptoms of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases after the bankruptcy, however, those firms often have mesothelioma trusts that help provide compensation for exposed workers.

What Are Mesothelioma Trust Funds?

Mesothelioma trust funds, also known as asbestos trust funds, provide vital compensation for individuals who suffer the effects of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases even after the company that exposed those workers to asbestos filed for bankruptcy. These funds contain money to help compensate those workers. Victims who suffer from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions, including lung, ovarian, bile duct, or laryngeal cancer can apply for compensation to help them cover many of the expenses associated with treatment for asbestos-related conditions. This may include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries and procedures to help treat mesothelioma and cancers related to asbestos exposure. Victims can also apply for financial aid in procuring durable medical equipment and medical devices to keep at home, home health care, or the cost of transportation to and from medical treatment facilities. In addition to helping pay for treatment for asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma trust funds may offer compensation for lost wages due to the inability to work while undergoing treatment. Many cancer treatments prove extremely draining for the victim. Not only that, many of the conditions associated with asbestos can cause shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with exertion, which can make it difficult for sufferers to continue to work in the highly physical professions that often led to asbestos exposure in the first place. Compensation for that lost income can make it easier for victims to take care of their bills and provide care for their families throughout treatment.

What Companies Have Mesothelioma Trust Funds?

Several companies that have gone bankrupt have trust funds in place to aid victims who suffer from mesothelioma and asbestos-related conditions. More than sixty trusts exist across the United States. Some of the largest include:
  • United States Gypsum Trust
  • Owens Corning Corporation Trust
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Trust
  • W.R. Grace and Co. Trust
  • DII Industries Trust
  • Johns-Manville Corporation Trust
  • Armstrong World Industries Trust
  • Western Asbestos (Western MacArthur) Trust
  • Babcock and Wilcox Trust
  • Owens Corning Fibreboard Subfund Trust
Other trusts exist that can help increase the compensation you may receive for asbestos-related injuries. An experienced mesothelioma injury attorney can help you get a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for asbestos-related injuries, and whether the company you worked for has a trust in place that can help fund your injuries.

How Much Money Do Mesothelioma Victims Get from Asbestos Trust Funds?

If you need to file for compensation for asbestos-related expenses through a mesothelioma trust fund, an experienced mesothelioma attorney can give you a better idea of what manner of compensation you might expect. The amount eventually received varies, with mesothelioma victims usually receiving the highest level of compensation for their medical expenses and other asbestos-related injuries. Factors may include:

The Severity of Your Asbestos Illness

The majority of workers who face exposure to asbestos do not suffer from mesothelioma. In fact, many workers may never notice any complications, though research shows that pleural plaques, which occur more frequently, can fail to show symptoms while still decreasing lung function in the victim. As an attorney works to put together your claim, he will consider the severity of your illness and how it impacts every area of your life. For example, if you have pleural plaques that cause relatively limitation, you might receive less compensation than a victim who suffers from pleural effusion, or increased fluid around the lungs, that regularly causes pain and difficulty breathing. Likewise, if you suffer from asbestos-related cancers or mesothelioma, you may have the right to a substantially larger settlement than a patient with a benign condition. Those cancers and their treatment often cause substantially more pain and suffering than the benign conditions associated with asbestos exposure.

The Extent of Your Asbestos Medical Expenses

Treatment for asbestos-related diseases and conditions can quickly mount in price. Many victims face substantial, ongoing medical bills for even benign medical conditions associated with asbestos exposure. Pleural effusions, for example, may require regular draining, while patients with cancer may need chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Typically, those medical expenses will form the foundation of your asbestos claim.

Your Lost Income

In addition to the other costs associated with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, your lost wages can place a substantial financial burden on your family. Compensation for those lost wages can make it easier for your family to function and pay the bills during your health struggle, or it can make it easier for family members to rebuild their lives after losing a loved one to mesothelioma or asbestos-related cancer.

How Much Money is Left in the Asbestos Trust Fund?

In the more than 60 active asbestos trust funds, businesses have stored an estimated $30 billion for claimants. Those trusts continue to pay out more claims each year, since many people still develop the symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses every year. Each trust usually has a specific payment percentage assigned to it based on the amount of money left in the trust. On average, these funds currently pay out around 25 percent of the value of a claim. That means if you intend to claim $1 million in medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering related to your asbestos claim, you may receive $250,000 from that claim. However, these funds can substantially improve your quality of life and make it easier for you to pay for your medical bills, making it well worth your time and effort to learn more about what a mesothelioma trust fund can do for you. Unfortunately, while asbestos trusts initially had a setup intended to provide compensation for all victims of asbestos-related claims, many of those funds do not have the funds available to pay the claims issued by their workers. As a result, they now offer a percentage of those payments to help ensure that the trust funds will still contain enough money to aid future victims. Because of the long period of time between initial asbestos exposure and eventual diagnosis, many victims may not yet have a diagnosis.

The Value Assigned to Your Claim

Unlike other types of personal injury claims, mesothelioma claims may have specific dollar amounts assigned to various types of asbestos-related diseases. These values get labeled in a “schedule” based on what the company paid out to asbestos victims before filing for bankruptcy.

Who is Eligible for Compensation from a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?

File a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim

If you suffered an asbestos-related diagnosis, including mesothelioma, cancer, pleural plaques, or pleural effusion, an experienced mesothelioma injury attorney can be an invaluable ally. A mesothelioma attorney can help walk you through the claim process and give you a better idea of what to expect as you file for compensation for your injuries. A mesothelioma attorney can also determine whether you worked for a company that has a mesothelioma trust fund that will allow you to seek compensation. To seek compensation, you will need to show:

Medical Records

Your medical records can show valuable information about your asbestos-related illness, including the extent of your symptoms and how they impact every area of your life. Your medical records may also show your costs related to treatment, including anticipated future treatments. For example, if you have mesothelioma, you may expect to continue to undergo treatment for some time.

A Physician Statement

A physician can provide a statement evaluating your symptoms and showing signs that your illness comes from asbestos exposure. A physician can also testify about how much your illness impacts your life, including how much it prevents you from working or how much it stops you from enjoying normal activities. This statement can help prove the extent of your claim.

An Asbestos Exposure Summary

Where did you face asbestos exposure? How long ago? Did you work for more than one company that may have exposed you to asbestos throughout your career? For many workers, especially older workers, an extensive employment history may list multiple places asbestos exposure may have occurred. That exposure summary can help determine what trust funds you need to file a claim against or what companies you need to approach for compensation for your losses.

How Long Do Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claims Take?

Many mesothelioma patients and their families want to know, "What is the Statute of Limitations on Filing for Asbestos Trust Fund Compensation?" Mesothelioma trust funds usually set a specific statute of limitations. To receive compensation from that fund, you must file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out. Most funds set this limit at two to three years after a diagnosis or death due to asbestos-related diseases; however, exceptions may extend the statute of limitations.

Do Asbestos Trust Funds Still Have Enough Money for Future Claimants?

Asbestos trust funds should have sufficient funds to continue to pay out the funds needed by claimants exposed to asbestos. However, many of those trust funds have decreased in value over the years. In some cases, more victims than anticipated suffered from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses, causing them to issue a claim through those funds. As a result, some trust funds now only pay out a percentage of the scheduled amount for those victims. While most of those trust funds still have adequate money in them for many more claims, others have less in them than when they started. Unfortunately, these limited funds often mean that the amount paid out by the fund has decreased, which can impact the compensation you might receive.

Can I File a Claim Against More Than One Party Simultaneously?

Some workers have the right to file claims against multiple trusts simultaneously. You may also have grounds for a lawsuit against an employer still conducting business. Often, you can work with an attorney to file these claims at the same time. The trusts may take into consideration the portion of liability borne by each company you worked for during that time, including what safety precautions the company took and whether, according to the company's records or your evidence, you actively worked with asbestos during your employment. The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act aims to establish a high degree of transparency in asbestos-related claims, which means that you may need to disclose any claims that you have made, either to trusts or in the form of a lawsuit against a company, in pursuing compensation for asbestos-related illness. Calling a personal injury lawyer can help you do that. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (833) 700-MESO [6376]  


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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