Many have fallen victim to the harmful effects of exposure to asbestos, but not everyone fully understands the options for financial recovery after asbestos-related injuries have been sustained. While some turn to lawsuits in hopes of a settlement, many individuals are not familiar with the quicker route to financial recovery by way of an asbestos trust fund. In some cases, pursuing legal remedies through a lawsuit or settlement may be your best option. However, under specific circumstances, the fastest and sometimes the only option for financial recovery is to collect from an asbestos trust fund. To understand how this process works, it is helpful to gain a basic understanding of asbestos and what an asbestos trust fund actually is.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to six silicate minerals that are naturally occurring. These can be released into the environment through various methods. When released, asbestos can cause harm to humans, sometimes leading to affected humans suffering from mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Additionally, there are some non-cancerous ways that asbestos exposure can harm humans, including medical conditions with varying symptoms and severity.
Beyond the damage asbestos can cause to your physical well-being, many may not realize the damage goes beyond physical elements to that of one’s financial well-being as well. Medical treatment for any harm done to the human body by asbestos can be costly. So much so, that a victim of asbestos exposure can easily find themselves in deep debt and overwhelmed by the constant bills and collectors that come knocking. With this in mind, victims of asbestos exposure have to consider their options for financial relief.
Financial Recovery Related to Asbestos
If you are a victim of asbestos exposure, know that you may be able to pursue these following legal avenues for financial recovery:
If you believe you have been wrongfully harmed by asbestos exposure largely due to the fault of another, pursuing a lawsuit against the party at fault may be an option. This option generally costs the most money to pursue and usually carries the most risk as well. In order to collect under this option, you must be ready to continue this course of action for a period of time that could easily exceed a year. While pursuing this legal remedy, you may be faced with the opportunity to settle with the defendant being pursued.
With this approach, victims will generally try to start with a lawsuit but then turn towards settlement discussions soon after. If the defendant determines that they would rather settle on a predetermined amount of money to pay you for your damages, rather than commit the resources to a lawsuit that may not end well, they may approach the victim with a settlement offer. At this point, the victim may have to determine if the settlement offer is sufficient enough to cover their losses and move on. However, there are situations where a lawsuit or a settlement may not be the best option.
Asbestos Trust Funds
When financial relief through a lawsuit or settlement may not be an option for you, it wouldn’t hurt to see if the defendant you are pursuing has an asbestos trust fund recovery option. If this is an option for you, definitely look into the path that often leads to quicker and cleaner recoveries. However, before recovery is an option, it would be in your best interest to understand how an asbestos trust fund operates at a high level.
Asbestos trust funds are created on behalf of companies that were admittedly negligent in their handling of asbestos and now gone bankrupt. In an attempt to help victims of their negligence, these trust funds also protect companies from lawsuit attempts. Alternatively, victims can file a claim against particular trust funds to collect compensation.
Depending on which asbestos trust fund(s) you file a claim against, the process for collecting compensation may vary. For some trust funds, the requirement may include proof of a mesothelioma diagnosis or exposure to particular asbestos. This filing process is very important to get right, so consulting with an experienced asbestos trust fund attorney is generally advised.
It is important to understand which companies still have funds remaining in their asbestos trust fund to collect against. While many established the trusts with a few billion dollars each, the amount remaining in each fund has definitely deteriorated over time as individuals continue to collect. If you have been injured, be sure to pursue this option as soon as possible to avoid being left out from recovery funds.