Asbestos Personal Injury Trusts
An asbestos personal injury trust, also known as a mesothelioma trust fund, is created by a company facing bankruptcy because of its asbestos exposure liabilities.
More than 100 companies have found themselves in this position because they produced, distributed or used toxic asbestos products. When someone develops mesothelioma, it is often because asbestos companies neglected to warn their employees and customers about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your family may be eligible to file a claim for compensation to multiple asbestos trust funds.
10 Largest US Asbestos Trust Funds
|Founding Company||Established||Initial Funding|
|United States Gypsum||2006||$3.9 billion|
|Owens Corning Corporation||2006||$3.4 billion|
|Pittsburgh Corning Corporation||2011||$3.4 billion|
|W.R. Grace and Co.||2001||$2.9 billion|
|DII Industries||2005||$2.5 billion|
|Johns-Manville Corporation||1988||$2.5 billion|
|Armstrong World Industries||2006||$2 billion|
|Western Asbestos (Western MacArthur)||2004||$2 billion|
|Babcock & Wilcox||2006||$1.8 billion|
|Owens Corning Fibreboard Subfund||2006||$1.5 billion|
Source: RAND Institute for Civil Justice, 2015
Currently there are 60 active asbestos trust funds, and their combined assets are estimated at $30 billion. Since the late 1980s, these trusts have paid about $20 billion in compensation to people harmed by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos personal injury trusts provide compensation for several types of asbestos-related diseases, but mesothelioma claims in particular usually receive the largest payouts.
How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
To file a claim to an asbestos trust fund, you must prove you have been harmed by asbestos exposure caused by the company that set up the trust.
The trust fund claims process is faster than filing a lawsuit, but it is still complex. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence and identify which trust funds you can file a claim to.
Filing a trust fund claim usually requires documentation of the claimant’s:
- Mesothelioma Diagnosis: The patient’s cancer diagnosis should be confirmed by medical documentation such as X-rays, CT scans and pathology reports. A doctor should also provide a notarized statement affirming that asbestos exposure caused the patient’s disease.
- Asbestos Exposure History: The claim should contain witness affidavits, employment records, invoices, receipts or any other evidence showing the company exposed the patient to asbestos at its facilities or supplied the patient with products containing asbestos.
Asbestos Trust Fund Regulations
Asbestos litigation is regulated at the state level, and different factors affect the claim filing process from state to state.
Claimants can file to mesothelioma trust funds located in other states. Eligibility depends on the claimant’s diagnosis and asbestos exposure history, not the location where they live.
State regulations come into play primarily when a claimant files a trust fund claim while also filing a mesothelioma lawsuit based on a different company’s liability. A qualified mesothelioma attorney can explain how state laws may affect your case.
In some jurisdictions, if you file a mesothelioma lawsuit, you must disclose to the defendants’ lawyers whether you have also filed claims to asbestos trust funds.
If you have filed trust fund claims in addition to a mesothelioma lawsuit, defendant lawyers may try to argue that their clients are not liable in the lawsuit. However, it is common for asbestos liabilities to be shared by many responsible companies.
Some courts also require claimants to file certain trust fund claims before going to trial in a mesothelioma lawsuit. If the claimants wait until after the trial, they may lose their eligibility to file some trust fund claims.
In some states, receiving trust fund payouts can affect the amount of compensation you receive in a mesothelioma lawsuit. If a jury awards you damages at trial, the defendants may be able to deduct the amount of trust fund compensation you have received from the damages. This is called a setoff.
Some states permit setoffs, while other states limit or forbid them.
How much a setoff affects lawsuit compensation depends on the size of the trust fund compensation relative to the size of the jury award. This is a factor to consider when discussing your legal options with a mesothelioma lawyer.
4 Cited Research Articles
- Tucker, E. (2018, October 31). US steps up scrutiny of funds for asbestos exposure victims. Retrieved from https://www.apnews.com/b9343b6807fe4f0e860483f584db0bf5
- Dixon, L. & McGovern, G. (2015). Bankruptcy Trusts Complicate the Outcomes of Asbestos Lawsuits. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9830.html
- Scarcella, M. & Kelso, P. (2013, December 11). Asbestos Bankrupcy Trusts: A 2013 Overview of Trust Assets, Compensation & Governance. Retrieved from https://www.lexisnexis.com/LegalNewsRoom/litigation/b/litigation-blog/posts/asbestos-bankruptcy-trusts-a-2013-overview-of-trust-assets-compensation-amp-governance
- Dixon, L., McGovern, G. & Coombe, A. (2010). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf