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What is an Asbestos Compensation Trust?

Asbestos Trust

An asbestos compensation trust is a legal entity organized through the bankruptcy courts to pay the asbestos liability claims of a specific asbestos product manufacturer. Their only activity is to assess and pay asbestos injury claims using the same criteria for all claimants. The trusts are expected to remain open for many years into the future.

In most cases the potential liability for asbestos claims far exceeds company assets. For example, the most recent company to voluntarily file for Chapter 11 protection is Bestwall, a Georgia-Pacific affiliate that manufactured and sold asbestos gypsum products from 1965 until 1977. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, in the fall of 2017, Bestwall had over 62,000 asbestos claims pending against it. Those were estimated to continue through 2050. Reducing the litigation costs and streamlining the process is the fairest method by which to compensate mesothelioma victims as every claimant is treated the same. Judgments made against Bestwall that were unpaid at the time of the bankruptcy filing are also included and despite the monetary award determined by a Jury, those claimants will receive the same payment percentage as claimants that apply directly to the trust.

By forming asbestos personal injury trusts, current and future victims of the negligence of manufacturing companies will be able to obtain some compensation. By setting up these entities the corporations pay a significant lump sum, usually in the many millions, and walk away from their asbestos obligations. In some cases, all the company assets were placed in the trust and the company closed. Companies such as WR Grace and Garlock were able to stay in business by agreement with the court and future claimant committees. Once the trust is established the company has no control regarding the trust and how claims are paid.

If the Asbestos Company Has Filed for Bankruptcy Protection Your Right to Sue Has Been Taken Away

If you were harmed by a product made by a company that has a trust, or is in the process of establishing a trust, you do not have the option to sue the company. The bankruptcy process removes your right to file claims for damages against any corporation that has filed for protection. The Canadian entities that were either affiliated, or a subsidiary of these corporations, filed for creditor protection in Canada and claims against them are also barred. Any remaining assets the Canadian company had were also placed in the trust. This includes companies like Flintkote Canada, WR Grace Canada, Canadian Johns-Manville and AP Green Canada.  Compensation is available by application to the company asbestos injury trust.  

There are Over 60 Asbestos Trusts Currently Paying Claims

Asbestos Trusts have been established by over 60 corporations. Most of these pay Canadians if they were injured by using products made by these corporations. Owens Corning and Celotex (Carey-Canadian) are examples of such organizations that proceeded in this manner. The system was first brought into existence with the bankruptcy of Asbestos giant, Johns-Manville. The Manville trust was established in 1988 and continues to pay claims today.

How do the Asbestos Trusts Work?

The compensation process is streamlined and relatively quick in comparison to litigating asbestos claim. After documentation is obtained including medical records, employment records and exposure documents sufficient to have your claim assessed, the information is uploaded to secure on-line claims systems. Claims are reviewed in the order they are received. We therefore make every effort to file quickly.  

Although the trust may have been funded with significant sums of money, it is inadequate to fully compensate those harmed. The advertisements that you hear that state there are “billions of dollars” are misleading. Yes, the trusts have significant assets; but the volume of claims and the low interest rates, have taken a significant toll on the system and the claim payments percentages have been reduced to ensure that all victims receive some compensation.

We file claims with the asbestos trusts using the exact methods employed by our American counterparts. We also ensure that the additional documentation required to have a Canadian claim approved is included at the time of the initial claim filing.

While the payments to asbestos victims will never compensate your losses, pursuing claims can provide considerable financial assistance at a time when the financial stress caused by a mesothelioma diagnosis is acute. The compensation trust system in place enables Canadians to get compensation much more readily, as the need to locate and retain a lawyer in the correct U.S. jurisdiction has been removed.

If your claim does require American representation, we have a network of experienced mesothelioma lawyers throughout the United States.  We attend conferences and seminars regularly on the subject of asbestos litigation, therefore we know many American lawyers who have experience in this area of the law.  

Asbestos trust claims can be filed from Canada. Brown Law is registered with all the asbestos trusts that will honour Canadian claims. The Brown Law team has the experience and the capability to help mesothelioma victims regardless of where in Canada you were exposed to asbestos, or where you currently reside.

It is hoped that 40 or 50 years into the future there will be no more need for these claims funds as asbestos disease will have been eradicated. Until then Contact Brown Law Office if you or a loved one is looking for a Canadian Asbestos Lawyer. The team at Brown Law is here to guide you through the process.  

We understand that a recent diagnosis of mesothelioma means that you are facing enormous emotional stress.  Our goal is to help you and your family to not also bear the burden of financial stress.