Asbestos Trust Claims may be the best source of financial compensation.
Most veterans know that they can file a VA disability compensation claim for a military service-connected disability (injury, illness, and condition) caused by asbestos and other hazardous materials exposure. However, few recognize that veterans (and non-veterans) can also file claims against asbestos trusts and file lawsuits for asbestos injuries against companies still in business.
Trust Funds vs. Lawsuits
There are two ways a veteran (other than through a VA Disability Claim) or non-veteran can get financial compensation for asbestos injuries and illnesses.
One way is to file a lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers or others for wrongful exposure or wrongful death. The lawsuit avenue takes a long time and the fate of the outcome is in the hands of a judge or jury.
Perhaps a better way to get financial compensation is to file a claim with one or more asbestos trusts. Normally, a veteran can file claims against multiple asbestos trusts, which will not require discovery, a trial, or proof that asbestos caused injuries or illnesses. An Asbestos Trust Claim needs to only show that asbestos injuries were CONTRIBUTED TO by the exposure to asbestos.
In some cases, victims will file claims against Asbestos Trust Funds and file asbestos lawsuits. In any case, victims should use a firm like ClearTrust Claims LLP and its highly skilled lawyers to guide them through the process.
The Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust System
Asbestos was used everywhere in the country prior to the 1980s. Today, thousands of veterans are suffering from life-threatening illnesses that are a result of exposure decades ago to asbestos. Asbestos is a material that was commonly used in hundreds of military applications, products, vehicles, and ships because of its resistance to heat.
Every branch of the military used asbestos products during the 20th century, causing high rates of asbestos-related cancers and non-cancer injuries among veterans today. The timing of these high rates of injuries and claims is due to the delayed and insidious nature of asbestos-related diseases, in which the manifestation of the disease can occur 25-40 years after exposure.
Starting in the 1980s, companies mining, manufacturing, and using asbestos faced tens of thousands of lawsuits in court. In 1994, Congress passed an amendment to US bankruptcy law that allowed companies to set up asbestos trusts to compensate asbestos victims and spare the companies further lawsuits.
Veterans (and non-veterans) can receive compensation from the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products to which they were exposed. Currently, there are more than 50 asbestos bankruptcy settlement trusts with billions of dollars set aside for the purpose of compensating workers injured by their products. Today, more than $20 billion in assets reside in the trust system.
Good News for Asbestos Trust Claimants
- Veterans and non-veterans do not, in an Asbestos Trust Claim, have to prove their injuries are caused by asbestos exposure, they only need to prove their condition was contributed to or worsened by asbestos. Veterans can establish their exposure simply by showing that they served at locations (which include Navy vessels) on the very extensive site lists maintained by the trusts.
- Veterans and non-veterans can file claims with Asbestos Trusts for NON-CANCER related injuries such as lung scarring and chronic bronchitis, kidney damage, and heart problems.
- ClearTrust Claims LLP is an industry leader in submitting claims with Asbestos Trusts, especially in filing claims for non-cancerous injuries.
Multiple Asbestos Trusts
Veterans, who are eligible to file a claim against an asbestos trust, can normally file claims with multiple trusts and receive separate payments from each trust when their claim is approved. Because Veterans’ exposure is presumed for any site listed on the Approved Asbestos Trust Site Lists, veterans are often awarded thousands of dollars for non-cancer-related injuries and six-figure amounts for cancer injuries. ClearTrust Claims LLP maintains updated copies of the Approved Asbestos Trust Site Lists
Trusts are set up on a model similar to Medicare: if a claimant meets the eligibility requirements, the claimant gets paid. There is no litigation, no discovery, and no courts in claims against asbestos trusts. Eligibility is determined by information and documentation submitted by the claimant and if the claimant can check the required boxes, he or she gets paid.
Approved Asbestos Trust Site Lists
There are thousands of military bases and sites on the Approved Asbestos Trust Site Lists. For example, this author was stationed at Forts Jackson, Polk, Gordon, Campbell, Bragg, Eustis, Benning, and Rucker – and in Vietnam, Iran, Germany, and Sierra Army Depot, and all these locations are on approved asbestos trust lists.
Veterans are especially at high risk for asbestos injuries. Veterans make up about 30 percent of all people diagnosed with mesothelioma and are paid by asbestos trusts. According to Asbestos.com, veterans from every branch of military service, who served before the late 1980s are at high risk of asbestos injuries. Veterans who served as aircraft, wheeled, and tracked vehicle mechanics, navy jobs, water port workers, and other maintenance specialties were at high risk for asbestos exposure. Before the 1980s, the military (and industry) had weak hazardous material handling programs and few Hazardous Material Data Sheets —- and did not provide adequate personal protective equipment to workers handling asbestos (and other Hazardous Materials).
Asbestos Is All Around Us
The people with the heaviest exposure to asbestos are those who worked in asbestos industries, such as shipbuilding, insulation, maintenance, and mining. Asbestos is found in plumbing insulation, electrical box insulation, wall insulation, attic insulation, auto/aircraft parts (brake pads, transmission bands, heat shields, gaskets, clutches, etc.), personal protective equipment (gloves, firefighting suits, hoods, aprons, etc.), talc-based powders, electric blankets, heat resistant fabrics, some popcorn ceilings, clothes dryers, gardening products (vermiculite), hairdryers, ironing board covers, paints, sealants, adhesives, cement powder mix, children’s crayons, crime scene kits, and hundreds of other seemingly harmless products.
Asbestos was used in military mess halls, barracks, waterproofing grease, boiler rooms, laundries, asphalt cement, asphalt shingles, firebrick, millboard, HVAC duct vibration dampers, jet engine exhaust cones, aircraft ignition systems, rocket motor insulation, gas mask filters, ammunition wadding, torpedoes, bedding compounds, aircraft spray coatings, siding, shingles, and cockpit cooling systems.
Asbestos was used extensively in shipbuilding and ships. Asbestos has been used in all modes of military transportation, including military wheeled and tracked vehicles, trailers, automobiles, ships, and aircraft.
Lung Cancer Risk Is High
The risk of lung cancer among people exposed to asbestos is seven times greater than that of the general population. Read more about this at the National Cancer Center Fact Sheet online at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet.
Eligibility To File A Claim Against An Asbestos Trust
In order to qualify for an asbestos trust payment, you must (1) be diagnosed with one of several specific asbestos-related diseases; (2) have spent at least six months exposed to the specific trust company’s asbestos; and (3) have been exposed to asbestos from any source for at least five cumulative years.
An individual is eligible for payment from asbestos bankruptcy trusts if he or a family member suffers from an asbestos-related disease and can document exposure to a specific company’s asbestos and asbestos generally. Asbestos bankruptcy trust sites are presumptive that you have been exposed to asbestos if you were present at that location.
How To File A Claim Against An Asbestos Trust
Veterans have two options for filing claims against the trusts: (1) either attempt to self-file via a multitude of complicated asbestos trust websites or mail-in applications or (2) use a law firm to help them file their claim. The asbestos trust claim process requires veterans to obtain military records, if applicable, employment verification, and medical documentation.
There are many lawyers qualified to help veterans file claims for “cancer” with asbestos trusts and businesses. There are also many qualified Veterans’ Service Organizations (VSOs), claim agents, and law firms available to help veterans file claims with the VA.
However, veterans and non-veterans need to carefully research whom to use to help them because some charge much higher rates (after a claim is approved and paid) than others, and none, that I can find, charge less than ClearTrust Claims LLP.
Veterans And Non-Veterans Need To Beware
Many law firms only represent cancer patients and will not help with non-cancer injuries such as less lucrative claims for lung scarring, respiratory problems, heart problems, and kidney damage. ClearTrust Claims LLP is your “go-to” organization to help you file these kinds of non-cancer claims.
How To Find A Highly Qualified Lawyer
Finding a highly qualified lawyer that best meets your needs in filing a non-cancer-related claim with Asbestos Trusts may be harder than filing the claims. It was especially hard for me to find a law firm that would help veterans to file asbestos trust claims for non-cancer-related injuries.
You may want to contact your state or local area Bar Association to help you find a qualified lawyer. The SC and my local Bar Associations could not help me find a lawyer who would handle non-cancer Asbestos Trust Claims.
ClearTrust Claims, LLP specializes in non-cancer-related claim. They have a low-cost fee and I am totally satisfied with their handling of my non-cancer claims for heart, lung, and kidney injuries.
Veterans With Asbestos Injury Symptoms Should File An Asbestos Trust Claim And A VA Disability Claim
The bottom line is if you are a veteran, especially an older veteran, you are almost certain to have been exposed to asbestos. If you have been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, other asbestos-related cancers, or asbestos-related non-cancer injuries or illnesses or have symptoms of those injuries or diseases, you should file a claim against multiple asbestos trusts or file a suit with existing firms who mined, manufactured, or used asbestos in their products. Veterans should also file a claim with the VA for any military service-connected disabilities they have.
The Asbestos Trust Claim process and litigation process are totally separate from VA disability claims. If your doctor has determined that you have asbestos injuries and illnesses, that is Prima facie evidence that will help veterans win a claim with Asbestos Trusts or a lawsuit and a VA Service-Connected Disability Claim.
Sources of information
National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet on Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet.
US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration online ASBESTOS site https://www.osha.gov/asbestos.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Asbestos site at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asbestos/default.html.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – https://www.epa.gov/asbestos.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) – https://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.
The Environmental Working Group, www.asbestosnation.org/facts/.
South Carolina Bar Association – https://www.scbar.org.
The Mesothelioma Center – https://www.asbestos.com, 888-709-1298, email@example.com.
ClearTrust Claims LLP – https://www.cleartrustclaims.com, 202-449-7681.
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