Trust funds may already be available for victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. With a latency period of 30-40 years, most diagnosed are senior citizens exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. A naturally-occurring mineral used for its insulating and fire-retardant properties, its carcinogenic properties were hidden for decades by some of the nation’s largest corporations. At the height of asbestos use, American corporations mined nearly 1 million tons of the mineral and used it to manufacture more than 3,000 different products.
Unfortunately for victims, time is often far too short after diagnosis. Those diagnosed have a median survival of just 18 months. Having access to a trust fund can provide assurance and peace of mind. However, asbestos litigation is among the most complex areas of product liability, personal injury and wrongful death law.
Mesothelioma Litigation – Verdicts and Settlements
In most personal injury or wrongful death cases, a claim must be filed within three years of date of injury under Massachusetts law. But because of the decades-long dormancy between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis, statute of limitations in Massachusetts is 3 years from date of diagnosis for personal injury or 3 years from date of death for wrongful death.
Still, significant time constraints exist in any mesothelioma case. Your Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyer must first work to identify a victim’s time and place of exposure, which is likely decades in the past. Next of critical importance is identifying all potential defendants. In some cases, an asbestos trust may exist, which can result in a more timely settlement, although generally for less compensation than might be secured in a direct settlement with a mesothelioma defendant or a verdict at trial. Statistics continue to show the highest damage awards going to victims who have identified multiple defendants. Hiring a Massachusetts law firm with extensive experience in handling these cases can help.
Settlement and verdict amounts may depend on:
- A claimant’s diagnosis and medical history
- The number of companies sued
- Where the claim is filed
- Proof of negligence
- Lost wages, medical bills and other expenses
According to a recent Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average mesothelioma trial award is estimated at $2.4 million. The average mesothelioma settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million and typically paid by multiple defendants. However, every case is unique.
Bankruptcy Trust Funds for Mesothelioma Victims
The size of the verdicts and settlements have forced many of these companies to seek protection through the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (USBC). Courts made some of these firms establish bankruptcy trust funds to protect future victims, but by using bankruptcy law to protect themselves, they also have significantly reduced their legal liability.
Cases filed as Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcies mean a company’s assets were sold and they went out of business, leaving no value for current claimants suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Other companies shed debt under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy re-organization and continued to exist. Still others facing asbestos liability may have merged or renamed.Some lobbied the courts for legal protection and were allowed to establish specialized trust accounts to pay settlements.
As a result, more than 100 asbestos bankruptcy trust funds have been established in the U.S. since the 1980s. Today, those funds hold more than $1 billion for future claimants of asbestos-related diseases. However, companies that have established funds can no longer be sued by asbestos victims.
Some of the largest asbestos trust funds include:
- A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust
- APG Asbestos Trust
- A&I Corporation Asbestos Bodily Injury Trust
- A, C & S Asbestos Settlement Trust
- API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- ARTRA Asbestos Trust
- ASARCO LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- National Gypsum Company — NGC Bodily Injury Trust
- Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Trust
- Bondex Trust
- Burns& Roe Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement
- C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. Asbestos Trust
- Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Combustion Engineering 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Congoleum Plan Trust
- Dresser Industries LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Eagle Pitcher Industries Persona Injury Settlement Trust
- EJ Bartels Co, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Federal Mogul U.S. Asbestos Personal Injury
- Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Fedodo Subfund
- Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury – Flexitallic Subfund
- Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- General Motors — MLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Global Industrial Technologies (Harbison-Walker) — DII Industries LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- G-1 Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Hercules Chemical Company Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust
- H.K. Porter Asbestos Trust
- J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust
- J.T. Thorpe Company Successor Trust
- Johns-Manville Corp./Philadelphia Asbestos Corp. (Pacor) — Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- Kaiser Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Keene Creditors Trust
- Kentile — Metex Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Leslie Controls, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- MacArthur Co./Western Asbestos Company Asbestos Settlement Trust
- National Gypsum — NGC Bodily Injury Trust
- North American Refractories Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- Owens Corning Fiberboard Asbestos Personal Injury
- Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Plant Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Pilbrico Asbestos Trust
- Porter-Hayden Bodily Injury Trust
- Quigley Co. Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Raytech Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Stone & Webster Asbestos Trust
- T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition LLC. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- Turner & Newall — Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Turner & Newall Subfund
- United States Gypsum Co./USG Corp. — United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- US Mineral Products Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- UNR Industries/UNARCO Industries Inc. — UN Asbestos-Disease Personal Injury Trust
- W.R. Grace & Co. — WRG Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- Yarway Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
Your Massachusetts mesothelioma law firm should have experience with handling trust claims, as well as trial litigation experience. Identifying products manufactured by these firms, or employment by these firms by the victim, can lead to a claim. But from a litigation standpoint, it’s often just a place to start. Your law firm should have the experience to identify all defendants and pursue your trust claim, as well direct litigation against responsible companies.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.