3 Tips for Filing Asbestos Trust Funds
Nicole Winch | May 5, 2020
Many mesothelioma patients may have heard the phrase “asbestos trust funds.” If you decide to take legal action for your cancer diagnosis, then understanding this term is incredibly important.
The majority of mesothelioma claimants receive financial help from asbestos trust funds. These trusts include money set aside explicitly for the victims of asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects about 3,000 people in the United States each year. The only known cause of this disease is asbestos exposure. Decades ago, people worked with or near asbestos every day. Construction workers, railroad workers, shipbuilders, miners and more were regularly exposed to this toxic substance.
They knew nothing, at the time, of the dangers it posed to their health. Once many learned how their work caused their mesothelioma, they were unable to file a lawsuit against their bankrupt employer. Fortunately, the court system stepped in to legally protect these hard-working Americans.
How Were Asbestos Trust Funds Created?
Asbestos trust funds are the result of these at-fault asbestos companies filing for bankruptcy. They avoided incoming lawsuits by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganizing assets, debt and holdings. A company that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy cannot be sued, but the courts required them to create trust funds to ensure future victims weren’t neglected.
In 1987, Johns Manville created the first asbestos trust fund. A total of around $30 billion originated in these accounts, and billions still remain to help current and future mesothelioma victims.
At BCBH Law, our attorneys have spent decades helping clients file with asbestos trust funds. Our experienced lawyers can explain how the process works and start on your case immediately.
Below are some important tips to know about asbestos trust funds before filing a claim.
Tip #1: Know the Statute of Limitations for Your Case
Legal words can be tricky to understand, so let’s first define the phrase “statute of limitations.”
Statute of limitations is a law that limits how long you have to take legal action against another person or entity. Most times, in mesothelioma claims, the at-fault party is an asbestos manufacturing company.
The statute of limitations in a mesothelioma case begins once the claimant learns of their disease — usually at the time of diagnosis. It ends at different times depending on the state. In most states, the average length you have to file a case is between two and three years.
Once you know how long you have, don’t wait to hire a mesothelioma lawyer. Your attorney will need ample time to explore your exposure history and find which asbestos manufacturing companies are responsible for your cancer.
You can file with multiple asbestos trust funds — most people do, as there are multiple companies attributing to asbestos exposure. Learning which companies are responsible and which ones have trusts set up can take some time, so you should speak with a lawyer immediately.
Tip #2: Find a Qualified Mesothelioma Lawyer
There are approximately 60 active asbestos trust funds. You or your loved one’s cancer diagnosis may be associated with any one of these trusts — or likely multiple. There is no limit to how many trusts you can file claims with.
Prioritize finding a qualified, national law firm. You don’t want to settle with just a passable attorney, as there might be hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake for you and your family.
At BCBH Law, our lawyers have years of experience working with mesothelioma patients. We possess the resources to research and discover your potential asbestos exposure. Our attorneys have developed a database that includes buildings, ships and products that contained (or still contain) asbestos. Fill out one of our free case evaluation forms, and our lawyers can determine the best course of action for you.
Tip #3: Research How Wrongful Death Claims Work
A mesothelioma wrongful death claim is applicable if the mesothelioma victim has passed away. Immediate family members can take action against the companies that caused the death, as they may be eligible to receive compensation.
A lot of people assume a lawsuit is the only legal action taken under these circumstances. However, asbestos trust funds also apply to wrongful death situations. The family of a deceased mesothelioma patient is still entitled to compensation, even if the at-fault companies cannot be sued. The compensation helps pay for:
- Medical treatments
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Drained retirement and savings accounts
- Pain and suffering
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the lawyers at BCBH Law are available to speak with you. Following these tips — and choosing a law firm that excels in handling asbestos trust fund claims — can ensure that you receive your and your family’s deserved help.