Mesothelioma is aggressive cancer that often takes the lives of those who suffer from it. It is also cancer caused specifically by asbestos exposure. As such, lawsuits abound, and manufacturers and distributors of asbestos have filed bankruptcy.

Through bankruptcy reorganization, trust funds to support victims have been established. There are currently around 60 trust funds today. Each trust fund has its own qualifications and guidelines for filing and claiming compensation. Generally speaking, none allow family members or other persons to file a claim on behalf of a victim of asbestos. Here’s what you should know if you are a family member of a person who died of asbestos exposure.

Who Can File A Trust Fund Claim & What’s The Process?

Only persons who were detrimentally impacted by asbestos exposure can file a claim for compensation from a trust fund. Currently, trust funds award around 25 percent of the claimant’s demand, though the award could be less or more, depending on the circumstances.

To obtain an award, the victim must file a claim while living. Evidence will be needed to support the claim, and this evidence must include medical records but should also include things like employment records — if the claim identifies employment as the means to your exposure.

Once you have filed the claim, there is a review process. During this time, trustees unrelated to the bankrupt company, review the claim against the trust funds specific criteria. When the criteria are satisfied, you may qualify for expedited review, meaning you will be compensated faster than if you otherwise did not satisfy all the criteria.

When a claim does not immediately qualify according to the criteria, the claim is reviewed individually, which takes longer. Some claimants have unique circumstances that may need to be identified, making the process more complex.

Upon completion of the review, the trustees determine how much money you can receive. Expedited claims are typically based on fixed amounts, so you won’t be able to negotiate a larger sum. Individual claims can sometimes be negotiated for larger awards, but they are not always successful.

Once the amount is set for a payout, you will be paid.

What Happens If The Claimant Dies?

If you or the claimant dies before any part of this process is completed, the claim is transferred to the estate. Therefore, any payout will be sent to the estate. From that point on, it will be dependent upon the estate of how funds are divided and distributed.

To avoid any complications with a mesothelioma trust fund payout, it is important to start the claim as early as possible. Each trust fund, however, may have its own deadline to file a claim. If compensation via a trust fund is what you are thinking about, then you should contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney in California. The attorney can help you with:

  • making sure a trust fund is the avenue you want to take considering payouts are generally low;
  • making sure you file with the correct trust fund since there are many;
  • making sure you file the claim with the correct supporting evidence; and, among other things,
  • making sure you file on time and while your health still remains good.

A qualifying family member will be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit has its limitations, too. If you live in California and need to file a claim, contact the Ledger Law Firm. We have the experience, resources, and insight to help you.