Are Asbestos Claims Abusing Asbestos Trust Funds?
Asbestos claims are not abusing asbestos trust funds. Asbestos claims, in fact, are merely a way of requesting adequate compensation for a wrong that was done.
Asbestos bankruptcy trusts: an overviewThe issue of abusing trust funds has been recently brought up in connection with two separate claims: that of impending natural depletion of the resources, and the connected issue of double-dipping creating a future crisis for claimants.
In the past, companies that were deemed guilty of failure to protect employees from exposure to toxic substances, among which asbestos, could simply be sued for compensation and punitive damages. However, as the terrible effects of asbestos exposure became known and manifested in the form of asbestosis, mesothelioma and other cancers, the multitude of lawsuits soon meant these companies found themselves unable to pay and filed for bankruptcy.
Defaulting on payments to those whose lives were endangered or cut short through negligence is not an option, though. Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires the companies found guilty for such asbestos exposure cases to set up trust funds sufficiently endowed to allow for settlements awarded to present and future claimants. This means that, whatever the company is going through, you can still receive your compensation if the trust fund finds your case has merit.
The natural depletion of funds that some fear is, in fact, not a serious possibility in the United States; the way the law operates and the manner of financing these trusts ensure continuity and sustainability. In forty years, you will be just as likely to be awarded your claim as you are now.
Find out more about how asbestos trust funds work: https://www.elglaw.com/faq/how-do-the-asbestos-trust-funds-work/
The trust transparency lawsThe double-dipping practice that has been exposed in the past couple of years poses a different kind of threat. The practice means that a single claimant can file a claim with an asbestos trust fund it deems guilty for his or her asbestos-related disease, and also file an application in court for the same injury. Some attorneys employ the questionable practice of filing claims with multiple funds; as, until recently, they were under no obligation to disclose awards, it was entirely possible to receive several settlements from several trust funds for the same personal injury claim.
This practice does pose a somewhat limited threat to trust funds, as multiple awards for the same claimant dip into the same pool of awards of all other claimants and might, over time, subtract from that pool to a significant degree. That is why legislation is being put in place to curb the use of double-dipping and fraudulent claims. The threat is, however, very vague at present, and will decrease once the new bills are enacted.
Asbestos trust funds exist for the precise reason of righting a wrong that certain companies have done. Relatives of the people whose lives were cut short or people whose lives were altered dramatically by asbestos-related diseases should not think twice about asking for compensation for their suffering.
Read more: https://www.elglaw.com/faq/are-trust-transparency-laws-beneficial-for-asbestos-plaintiffs/