A diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease can leave you facing a mountain of medical bills, an uncertain future, and the urgent need for justice. However, many companies that make or used to make asbestos products have filed for bankruptcy, making it harder for people with asbestos-related illnesses to recover the money they need. A claim with a bankruptcy trust can help in these situations, but pursuing these claims requires help from an experienced and knowledgeable asbestos bankruptcy claims lawyer.

At Vinson Law, we stand with those affected by asbestos-related illnesses and can help you pursue compensation for your financial, physical, and emotional losses. Our seasoned attorneys understand the intricacies of asbestos bankruptcy trust claims and can handle this complex legal process on your behalf. We can take care of all the legal work in your case while you concentrate on your medical treatment and spend time with loved ones. For a free consultation, call us today at (888) 752-7582 or complete our contact form.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a term referring to six distinct types of silicate minerals that occur naturally in the environment. These minerals consist of thin, needle-like fibers. Because asbestos is a strong material and is resistant to heat, electricity, and chemical corrosion, it is (or used to be) a valuable material widely used across numerous industries.

When people inhale or ingest asbestos fibers, the fibers linger in the body and don’t break down, leading to a range of severe diseases. Because it takes years, sometimes even decades, for symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses to manifest, many people don’t know they’re sick until long after their initial asbestos exposure.

There are significant asbestos deposits worldwide, including in North America, South America, and parts of Europe. The United States was a significant asbestos producer for many years, as companies extracted it from open-pit mines in states like Montana and Vermont. Companies advertised asbestos as a “miracle material,” leading to its widespread use across numerous industries.

What Illnesses Does Asbestos Exposure Cause?

It’s crucial to understand that even though the use of asbestos has drastically declined, many people still suffer the consequences of past exposure. Asbestos exposure can cause various deadly illnesses, including mesothelioma and other types of cancer. (The American Cancer Society reports that eight out of ten people with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos.) The four main types of mesothelioma are:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma: This is the most common form of mesothelioma and affects the protective lining of the lungs. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, chest pain, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. Symptoms can include abdominal pain or swelling, nausea or vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, and unusual weight loss.
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma: This rare form of mesothelioma affects the lining around the heart. Symptoms typically involve chest pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and an irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
  • Testicular Mesothelioma: This is the rarest type of mesothelioma and develops in the lining around the testes. Symptoms may include a lump in the testicle and swelling or discomfort in the scrotum.

In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos exposure can cause many other illnesses. Some common health conditions related to asbestos exposure include:

  • Asbestosis: This is a chronic lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Over time, these fibers can cause scarring in lung tissue, leading to shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, chest tightness, loss of appetite, and finger clubbing. Asbestosis is a progressive disease that can lead to respiratory failure if left untreated.
  • Lung Cancer: While smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, asbestos exposure also significantly increases the risk of contracting this deadly disease. It’s often difficult to distinguish between lung cancer caused by asbestos and that caused by other factors. Symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, and recurring infections like bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • Other Cancers: Research has demonstrated a link between asbestos exposure and other types of cancer, including laryngeal (throat) and ovarian cancer.

What Are Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts?

The creation of asbestos bankruptcy trusts originated during the surge of asbestos-related lawsuits in the late 20th Century. As more and more people developed illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis due to past asbestos exposure, they began to sue the companies responsible. Faced with an overwhelming number of lawsuits, many of these companies filed for bankruptcy.

Recognizing that this could leave victims without recourse, lawmakers changed U.S. bankruptcy laws in the 1990s to ensure these companies set aside funds specifically for asbestos victims. This led to the formation of asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

An asbestos bankruptcy trust is a legal entity established to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases. Unlike typical bankruptcy proceedings, these trusts were established specifically to ensure that current and future victims of asbestos exposure can receive compensation even if the responsible company is no longer in business. These trusts cover various losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, helping victims manage the financial burden of their condition.

How Do Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Work?

Filing a claim with an asbestos bankruptcy trust requires specific legal and medical knowledge and experience. Here’s an overview of how these claims typically work:

  • Identify the Responsible Trusts: The first step is identifying the asbestos bankruptcy trusts responsible for your exposure. There could be multiple trusts linked to your case, depending on where and how your asbestos exposure occurred. An experienced attorney can help determine the appropriate trusts to file claims against.
  • Gather Necessary Documentation: Once you have identified the relevant trusts, you must gather all the necessary documentation to prove your claim. This generally includes medical records confirming your asbestos-related illness diagnosis and evidence of your exposure to asbestos products linked to the bankrupt companies.
  • Submit the Claim: After collecting all the necessary documentation, your attorney will submit a detailed claim to each relevant trust. This claim will outline the specifics of your asbestos exposure, your resulting medical condition, and the impact the exposure has had on your life.
  • Review and Response: The trust will then review your claim. This process can vary in length depending on the specifics of your case and the particular trust’s review process. They may accept the claim and offer a settlement, deny the claim, or request additional information.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: If the trust offers a settlement, you and your attorney can decide whether to accept or negotiate for a higher amount. If the trust denies your claim, your attorney can review the reason for the denial and may be able to resubmit the claim with additional information or corrections.

Potential Compensation from an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claim

A successful asbestos bankruptcy trust claim can help provide compensation for a variety of damages related to asbestos exposure and its resulting illnesses. Depending on the specifics of your case, an asbestos bankruptcy trust claim could include compensation for the following losses:  medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and wrongful death damages.

Deadline to File an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claim

Unlike traditional lawsuits bound by state statutes of limitations, the deadlines for filing a claim with an asbestos bankruptcy trust are typically set by the trust itself. Most trusts allow you to file a claim at any time, but they also establish what’s known as a “bar date.” This is the deadline for those exposed to asbestos before the creation of the trust to file their claims. However, suppose you were diagnosed or exposed after the trust’s creation. In that case, you usually have a specific amount of time from the date of your diagnosis or from when you first discovered your asbestos-related illness to file a claim.

Furthermore, if you’re filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who passed away from an asbestos-related disease, the deadline is usually based on the date of death.

Given the variable nature of these deadlines and their importance in the claim process, it’s critical to consult with a knowledgeable asbestos attorney as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Our Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts Lawyers Will Protect Your Rights

The compassionate and dedicated attorneys at Vinson Law have the knowledge and experience to guide you through an asbestos bankruptcy trust claim. From identifying responsible trusts and gathering critical documentation to ensuring your claim is filed on time, we will stand by your side every step of the way and pursue the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 752-7582 today or fill out our contact form for a complimentary case evaluation.

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