Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts – What You Should Know
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the first thing you must do is work with your physicians to initiate an appropriate plan of care.As soon thereafter as possible, you should seek quality legal assistance to help manage the serious emotional and financial ramifications that accompany this disease.The skilled, caring lawyers at Stern Law, PLLC can help relieve the trauma you and your family are undergoing. Our lawyers have a proven history of assisting mesothelioma victims.They cannot cure your disease but they can explain rights and options that can ensure your family’s financial future, and help manage and direct the most appropriate legal course available to recover substantial compensation. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Filing A Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit against one or more negligent companies whose products likely caused you to develop this disease is one option. Since the late 1980s, mesothelioma plaintiffs all across the U.S. have successfully sued dozens of companies that negligently manufactured, sold or installed asbestos-containing products, typically recovering between $3 million and $7 million after legal fees and expenses. Still, lawsuits are time-consuming, expensive and emotionally challenging. Plaintiffs can only sue companies that are (i) still in business(or if no longer in business, still have sufficient liability insurance coverage);and (ii) have not filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws.
You are not restricted to filing a lawsuit to recovery. You can file claims against one or more of the many bankruptcy trusts established to provide compensation to individuals who develop an asbestos related disease, including mesothelioma.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Since Johns Manville filed for bankruptcy in 1988 and established a settlement trust, more than 60 companies have followed suit. Under federal law, once a company files for bankruptcy, it cannot be sued in civil court. This circumstance both reduces the potential pool of companies a mesothelioma victim can sue and raises numerous procedural and evidentiary hurdles. This protection does not absolutely bar recovery from the bankrupt company, however.
Before an asbestos company can emerge from bankruptcy and, if still viable,resume operations, the bankruptcy courts mandate that company create, fund and manage a trust fund capable of fully compensating individuals who were exposed to its products and who develop an asbestos-related disease. Presently, more than 60 asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy. Pursuant to the court mandate, they have collectively set aside in their Plans nearly $40 billion in trust fund assets to compensate asbestos victims.
Recovering from an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust
Filing a claim against one or more of the asbestos bankruptcy trusts is a reliable, dependable alternative to filing a lawsuit.To recover from a trust fund, a claimant must submit a verified claim form to the Plan’s Trustee with documentation supporting three fundamental facts, specifically: (i) affirmation from a doctor of his or her diagnosis of mesothelioma; (ii) evidence of site exposure to the bankrupt’s product; and (iii) a qualified expert opinion that the exposure to the bankrupt’s product contributed to the claimant’s development of mesothelioma. Claims that do not provide adequate support for one or more of these elements will be rejected.
The Amount of a Recovery from an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust
The compensation the Trustee awards a claimant depends upon the severity of the illness and how many future claims the Trustee expects to be filed against the fund. The Trustee makes those decisions based on the validity of the claim and the medical evidence of severity. Typically, the Trustee relies on a matrix or schedule set out in the Plan. Attorneys for claimants often communicate with Trustees regarding an appropriate amount of compensation for their clients. If the Trustee has concerns about whether the trust has sufficient funds to cover future claims, he may award only a percentage of the scheduled amount, and reserve the balance for future distribution as the time for processing claims winds down.
There is no restriction on the number of trust funds against which a claimant can file claims. The only limitation is that the claimant can only submit and recover from any fund if he proffers evidence that satisfies each of the three fundamental elements.
The claimant can use funds to covering medical bills andhis costs of living and to secure the future for his family. While this compensation may not reverse the course of this terrible disease,it can relieve much of the anxiety.All claims are processed in order of receipt so time is of the essence.
The attorneys at Stern Law, PLLC have assisted hundreds of claimants successfully negotiate the process of filing claims against bankruptcy trusts. We will contact each of your treating physicians and hospitals and obtain all necessary medical records and opinions. We use every resource available, including our extensive database of testimony of thousands of co-workers and others who may have worked with or around you at the same sites regardless whether any knew you. We will obtain the critical medical opinions as to causality. Finally, we will help you complete and file the forms accurately and promptly, and vigorously advocate your claim with each Trustee. If you have any questions, please contact us at any time at (844) 808-7529.