Asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma has become an epidemic that has continued to harm individuals across the United States for decades. Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits have been on the works for more than thirty (30) years, and many companies facing lawsuits have simply run out of money. As such, because so many companies involved in the asbestos/mesothelioma litigation have run out of money, they have turned to bankruptcy to protect themselves from future lawsuits. When a company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it is essentially seeking protection of United States bankruptcy laws to ensure it can continue to function while its finances face reorganization.
However, while a company may be protected from lawsuits while it is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, there is still a way for injured victims to seek and obtain compensation. With the asbestos/mesothelioma litigation, many companies that filed for bankruptcy subsequently established trust funds that are used specifically to satisfy asbestos claims. While the companies establish the trust funds, independent trustees are appointed to manage the trust fund. Therefore, the trustees determine the amount of compensation a mesothelioma victim may be entitled to, and the amount is often commensurate with the severity of a person’s condition.
Mesothelioma victims have an opportunity to file a claim against a trust fund to receive compensation that is intended to help cover the costs of medical treatment, the costs associated with lost wages and the inability to work, and general pain and suffering. Because there are so many companies involved in the asbestos/mesothelioma litigation, it is important to work with a mesothelioma lawyer to determine if a mesothelioma victim should consider filing a claim against a trust fund or by filing a lawsuit, as some asbestos companies are not in bankruptcy and therefore have not established a trust fund.