Florida Asbestos Trust Funds
What is Asbestos Trust Funds in Florida
Florida has one of the highest diagnoses and death rates for mesothelioma in the USA, with almost 2000 reported deaths from malignant mesothelioma. Given that the disease has delayed latency and Florida has a high rate of immigration for retirees, it cannot be ascertained if the deaths are the result of asbestos exposure in the state or not. However, Florida mesothelioma settlements are likely to result from each mesothelioma diagnosis or death resulting from asbestos exposure.
Asbestos trust funds are created to help mesothelioma patients and other victims of asbestos-related diseases recover financial remuneration from delinquent companies that have negligently used asbestos in a way that is harmful to employees of that company. Asbestos trust funds may be formed when an asbestos company files for chapter 11 bankruptcy. During the reorganization, the company is required to set up a trust by setting aside some money to resolve claims against them presently and later in the future.
What is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund in Florida?
In the wake of an avalanche of claims against some major manufacturers, they quickly discovered that liabilities were increasing exponentially in an unpredictable manner. Many of these businesses sought to create trusts to manage asbestos-related claims that arise through litigation.
A Florida mesothelioma trust fund is money set aside by asbestos companies so victims of mesothelioma can file claims against the trust fund and receive financial compensation following a claim.
Who is Eligible to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim in Florida?
To successfully file a trust fund claim, claimants must meet stringent requirements set by the specific trust's criteria, given that requirements for specific asbestos trust funds may vary slightly.
To be eligible to submit a trust fund claim, one must either be:
- An employee who is exposed to asbestos by their employer, workers who handle asbestos-containing products
- Household members who were exposed to second-hand members of their families who worked in asbestos industries
- Family members who have lost loved ones from asbestos-related diseases; are known as wrongful death claims.
Asbestos Trust Fund Companies in Florida
Florida asbestos trust funds are set up in the state under state laws by companies who have filed for bankruptcy and created a means to dispense financial compensation to claimants who contacted and have been adversely affected by an asbestos-related disease gotten from working in these companies. Two companies have set up asbestos trust funds in the state of Florida:
- Leslie Controls, inc. asbestos Personal Injury Trust
This company supplied ship parts and other products to numerous clients, including the US navy. The trust was set up in 2011 as part of a reorganization plan due to the multiple lawsuits brought against the company. The trust's headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida.
- Lykes Tort Claims Trust.
A Canadian shipping company purchased Lykes Lines in 1997. The company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995 due to an avalanche of litigation. It has since been rebranded to CP ships.
What are My Mesothelioma Compensation Options in Florida?
Asbestos compensation in Florida is dependent on the victim's work history and data collected linking asbestos exposure to one or more asbestos materials or products potentially made by one or more companies.
A claimant may qualify for compensation through:
- Asbestos or mesothelioma trust fund claims: depending on an individual's history of exposure, victims may be entitled to payouts from one or several asbestos trust funds.
- Mesothelioma lawsuits: claimants can also file a lawsuit against companies responsible for exposure that hasn't declared bankruptcy.
People who served in the US army are at risk of mesothelioma because US military ships, trucks, and barracks were made of asbestos-containing materials exposing service members to asbestos. Veterans with mesothelioma can also seek benefits and assistance from the US department of veterans affairs in the form of compensation for disability,
How Much Money is Left in Florida Asbestos Trust Funds?
It is estimated that about 30 billion US dollars is left in about 60 active asbestos trust funds in the United States.
Since the late 1980s, these trusts have paid out about $20 billion to claimants. This sum includes $15 billion in payments made between 2006 and 2012.
The top trust funds with the most funds in the US include:
- United states Gympsum trust with estimated initial assets of 3.9 billion US dollars.
- Owens corning corporation trust with estimated initial assets of 3.4 billion US dollars
How Do Trust Fund Payment Percentages Work in Florida
Trust fund percentages determine how much a claimant is paid. A trust fund can pay 100% of the claimant's amount, but this is not practical. In reality, an asbestos trust fund pays a percentage of the amount a victim is awarded. For example, if a trust has a fixed 50% payout and an individual has been awarded a compensation of $200,000 the trust fund pays out $100,000, which is 50% of the initial amount awarded.
Trustfund percentages ensure that the fund can compensate many claimants in the present and the future. These payment percentages are also subject to change. If payout percentages increase, many trusts will pay past claimants to make up the shortfall. Prior claimants are not required to pay back the difference if the percentage drops. Average payment percentages run from 1.1 to 100 percent, with a median of 25 percent.
The assets available to some trusts allow them to pay only a small proportion of the value assigned to the claim, while other trusts can pay a much higher proportion.
Filing an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim in Florida
To file an asbestos claim in Florida, the claimant must give proof of:
- Diagnoses with an asbestos-related illness.
- Exposure to asbestos materials by any company that has set up an asbestos trust fund.
To file a claim in Florida, it is recommended to seek the legal counsel of an attorney to navigate the laws concerning asbestos trust claims properly, gather evidence, and collect testimonies. Attorneys have the experience and power to get maximum compensation from trust funds.
Based on the exposure information, the attorney will recommend either an expedited or individual claim review.
- Expedited review: This is based on the requirements for payout set by the trust fund; if the claimant meets the predetermined condition, the individual gets money every claimant with the same disease will receive.
- Individual review: For peculiar cases, the attorney will determine if a claimant deserves more money based on the evidence of the case. The trust might decide to award a larger financial compensation than the expedited review. It is also possible that the trust awards a lower monetary compensation.
Filing Limitations for a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim in Florida.
Florida statutes chapter 95 defines the limitations on asbestos lawsuits in Florida. The statutes of limitation are laws that determine the time limits for filing a claim; these laws also give prerequisites for filing a claim after death or diagnosis of the disease. They are timelines for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
Certain factors affect statutes of limitation in the state of Florida. For example, the severity of the disease could lead to time limit extensions. Other factors such as the location of the claimant, time of diagnosis, or death could equally affect the statute of limitations on a case by case basis.
- Personal injury statute of limitation in the state of Florida: The statute of limitation for personal injury claims is four years from diagnosis
- Wrongful death statute of limitation in the state of Florida-The statute of limitation for wrongful death claims are two years from death.
How are Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts Created in Florida?
For a company to create a trust, it must first file for bankruptcy. Most companies file for chapter 11 bankruptcy which allows companies with escalating liabilities and debts due to asbestos litigation to pay debts over a long period instead of shutting down and undergoing crippling liquidation as codified in chapter 7 bankruptcy rules.
After filing for bankruptcy under chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, the company is entitled to a reorganization of its liabilities by creating a trust to handle claims both in the present and future. The trust is part of a channeling injunction that will handle claims against a company and give compensation to the claimants.
Three main conditions for creating and funding trust funds include:
- The trust must payout present and future claims.
- The trust is funded by securities or debt from the debtor(parent company).
- The trust owns a majority of the voting stock of the debtor company(delinquent company).
What is the Average Asbestos Trust Fund Payout in Florida?
The payout from the asbestos trust fund varies wildly and is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to years of exposure and the seriousness of the disease. Mesothelioma claims usually have the highest payouts, with an average of $1,000,000 - $1,400,000.
Claims based on pulmonary fibrosis and asbestosis usually have the lowest payouts of about $10,000 - $50,000.
Other factors that greatly affect asbestos trust fund payouts are:
- The percentage that the trust fund where the claim is made uses.
- The money left in the trust fund
- The number of claimants making requests to the trust fund at the time of filing the claim
Obtaining Financial Assistance to Help with Mesothelioma Treatment
The financial burden of fighting this cancer can be overwhelming. Treating mesothelioma alone can cost anywhere from $500,000-$1,000,000 or even more in some cases. When other expenses such as travel costs and basic living expenses are factored in, the financial implications can be dire.
Several governmental and non-profit agencies and institutions offer financial assistance to cover health care cost.
Some government institutions that provide this service include:
Health resource and services administration (HRSA): This agency provides health care to disadvantaged populations regardless of their ability to pay. they also help fund primary health care and provide financial support to support health infrastructure.
Medicare: Medicare is a federal insurance scheme that covers inpatient hospital care, access to skilled nurses, lab tests, and surgery. It is a health insurance scheme for the elderly(65 or older)
Medicaid: Medicaid is a federally instituted and state-maintained program that caters to low-income people. It has two organizations under it that provide health care insurance for low-income families and communities. These are the children's health insurance program and the basic health program.
Non-profit organizations typically comprise patients, physicians, researchers, and families providing financial, emotional, and educatory assistance to mesothelioma victims and ultimately collectively geared toward finding a cure to the disease.
Some foundations also have a travel grant program that helps cover travel costs for patients traveling for an initial mesothelioma consultation with a specialist and for patients traveling to participate in clinical trials.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim in Florida?
Even though it is not compulsory to file a claim through an attorney, it is highly recommended to do so because the submission process can be complex. The lawyer will also be able to navigate the legal system much easier, help to gather relevant information, and make sure all documents required are valid and compiled. A lawyer will also know the type of claims to file and which asbestos trust should be the target of the claims
Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Florida
Trustfund claims and lawsuits are equally viable options for receiving financial compensation for mesothelioma victims, but that is where the similarities end. It is possible to file both trust claims and lawsuits simultaneously, but this is an extremely complicated process. It is much easier to obtain money from a trust fund by claims because lawsuits can be a much longer ad complicated process.
Generally, lawsuits cannot be filed against bankrupt companies that have set up trusts. To file a lawsuit, it is compulsory to hire an attorney, but this is not necessary (but highly recommended) when filing a claim.
Trust fund claims and lawsuits also involve different processes; for example, to file a claim, all vital paperwork and information is gathered and submitted to the trust in question for settlement. On the other hand, when filing a lawsuit, an attorney writes a written complaint to the defaulting company. The defendant company can give a response to the lawsuit or propose an out-of-court settlement.
Even though most lawsuits do not make it to trial, claimants are not required to make court appearances, and if the claimant wins, the defendant company can appeal; this can be a long and drawn-out process that can take anywhere from several months to even years in some cases.
Can Asbestos Trust Fund Claims Impact Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Florida?
Trust fund claims can have an impact on lawsuits. Most jurisdictions allow "setoffs" for mesothelioma lawsuits. This simply means if an individual is awarded compensation and wins payments from court awards in a lawsuit, the company can deduct the amount of any initial trust fund payment from claims.
Claimants are authorized to pursue both trust fund and asbestos fund cases simultaneously, although this may influence the amount of money they get from each. certain courts will also seek any trust fund claims forms submitted throughout a dispute
Florida Asbestos Trust Fund Laws
Florida has uniform requirements to file for bankruptcy and subsequently set up a trust fund in the state. The state bans punitive damages in asbestos-related lawsuits.
Florida also upholds the asbestos and silica compensation fairness act which was introduced to limit and remove unfounded litigations and claims from the court system to enable the system to focus on essential and serious claims. The law requires claimants to produce better and more substantial evidence when filing claims.
Set-offs are permitted in several places, including Florida. If a claimant receives compensation from a trust fund, the amount of trust compensation may be deducted from the court award by any defendants they suit.
Florida Mesothelioma Compensation Disclosure Laws
The furthering asbestos claim act (FACT) bill passed in 2015 requires that asbestos trust must produce "quarterly reports, available on the public docket, that identify each demand the trust has received from a claimant and the justification for any payment given to that claimant," according to the act.
The bill aimed to slow down implausible and inconsistent claims and find fraud that can arise from asbestos-related allegations and litigation.
This act requires disclosure within 30 days of commencing asbestos action against a company and reveals if a request for deferral, delay, suspension, or tolling of the Asbestos Trust claims procedure was made or will be made, and when the claim was or will be submitted.
Are Asbestos Trust Fund Payments Taxable in Florida
The laws regarding taxation of an asbestos settlement depend on the type of compensation the claimant is awarded.
As a general rule, financial compensation for personal injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, and settlement resulting from wrongful death lawsuits are not taxable.
Taxable payment types include punitive damages and compensation for lost wages. The court's discretion awards punitive damages in cases of particularly notorious negligence on the company's part.
Can a Family Member File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim?
Family members, life partners, and management of a deceased estate can file an asbestos trust fund claim on behalf of a victim in cases of wrongful death claims.
Also, family members who have contracted an asbestos-related disease due to second-hand exposure by members of their families working for an asbestos company can file claims and file a lawsuit against the company.
How Long Do I Have to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim?
Time limits for filing asbestos trust fund claims depend on the type and severity of the claimant's asbestos-related diseases and the statute of limitations where the claim is made.
In Florida, the time limit set for claimants is four years from the date of diagnosis with an asbestos-related disease. In cases of wrongful death, claims families have two years from the death to file claims.
How Soon Will I Receive Payment From an Asbestos Trust Fund?
Claims are usually straightforward, especially with concrete evidence linking asbestos exposure to the victim's disease. Claimants can receive funds anywhere from 3-6 months after beginning the application process; however certain factors can delay time for compensation for up to a year. Some of these factors include:
- Case complexity: Number of asbestos-related diseases by single claimant and number of companies involved in the claims; multiple diseases can require more time to collect evidence and further research to establish asbestos exposure.
- Size of trust funds: multiple claims against a single trust fund can stall the compensation process as the company might need to review payout percentages to compensate numerous claimants.
In general, mesothelioma claims have the shortest waiting period because it is caused purely by asbestos exposure, and no other proof is necessary.