There is an estimated $37 billion tucked away in asbestos trust funds, according to figures provided by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2011. While some companies continually fund the trusts, not every trust remains active and well-funded. Some trusts saw their funds diminished or even exhausted over the years.
Of those asbestos trusts that remain solvent, many do not have the funds or assets to pay every claim in full, according to the Rand Institute for Civil Justice. While some trusts may only pay out a certain percentage of a claim, others may pay 100% of any claims. Therefore, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly how much money from a trust fund may be available for a claimant.
The availability of any awards or compensation depends on the specific company or companies a claimant worked for, and on how much money is left in their respective trust funds. Every asbestos personal injury or wrongful death claim is, therefore, unique and needs to be carefully considered.
The amount that you might receive from an asbestos trust fund can also depend on several other factors, for example, the severity and type of your disease, and the evidence you have gathered to prove your asbestos-related illness, such as medical records.
Asbestos is a cancer-causing substance. Once you inhale asbestos fibers, they can stay in your lungs for a very long time, and can cause illnesses many decades later. Asbestos exposure in the workplace can be responsible for several different diseases, some of which may be life-altering as well as life-threatening.
While mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos inhalation, the fiber can play a factor in many others, according to the National Cancer Institute. There is evidence that asbestos also causes cancers of the larynx, lung, and ovaries. Asbestos exposure may also increase the risks of contracting stomach, colorectum, and pharynx cancers.
Asbestos not only causes cancer, but it is also one of the causes of several lung diseases such as asbestosis, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The symptoms may include shortness of breath, and permanent lung scarring. Other asbestos-related diseases that attack the lungs are pleural effusion, pleural plaques, which inflame the tissue in your lung cavity, and a general thickening of the tissues around the lungs.
Since asbestos-related diseases may not appear until many decades after exposure, it is important to pay close attention to any related symptoms. If you suffer from shortness of breath or a persistent and unexplained cough, you may be suffering from an asbestos-related disease.
When you visit your primary medical care provider with any symptoms that could be asbestos-related, do not fail to mention any asbestos exposure, even if it occurred many decades ago. Although the effects of asbestos on your lungs is typically irreversible, the NHLBI says early treatment can help you live longer and may keep symptoms somewhat in check.
If tests reveal a condition resulted from asbestos exposure, you can contact an asbestos law firm to find out about your options, as you may be entitled to compensation.
The Legal Rights of Asbestos Victims
If you have suffered from any illnesses related to asbestos exposure in the workplace, you should not have to pay for your losses. You may be able to hold your workplace accountable.
The settlement you could receive can help pay for:
- Medical costs
- Transportation costs
- Lost income
- Medical equipment
- Home aides
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Funeral bills
There may be other compensation available to you, including punitive damages.
Depending on your work history, you could claim awards from one or several companies that might be responsible for your asbestos-related illness. Some companies may need you to prove your claim with any work history documentation and medical records, for example. An asbestos lawyer may be able to help with any of the required paperwork.
Time is of the essence in asbestos cases. Not only will it be more challenging to obtain evidence after decades have passed, but asbestos trust funds may run low on assets over time, with more plaintiffs filing lawsuits. Many trusts only pay a percentage of the awards to plaintiffs, and those percentages could also decrease over time. Trusts that now have funds available to pay claims in full may have to introduce paying only a percentage of any claims in the future.
Additionally, there may be statutes of limitations to consider. These vary by state, and can be challenging to interpret in asbestos cases. An asbestos lawyer can help with all the legal aspects of asbestos cases, and explain your options to you.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm offers free consultations to victims of asbestos-related diseases, and there are no attorney’s fees for you unless your case is successful. Contact us today to speak to our team and to find out more at (800) 794-0444.