What are Asbestos Trust Funds?

Quick Summary

One channel through which mesothelioma patients and their families can obtain compensation is asbestos trust funds. Asbestos trust funds were set up by liable companies who weren’t able to pay the settlements of lawsuits brought against them. To avoid having to pay these extensive costs, many companies filed for bankruptcy. Because of the protections afforded to these companies by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the corporations cannot be sued, even by those who suffered from their negligence. However, you might be entitled to compensation from the asbestos trust funds established in the wake of these companies’ bankruptcy filings.

History of Asbestos Trust Funds

Although the human use of asbestos extends back thousands of years, its use on a large industrial scale did not occur until the mid-1800s. Awareness of asbestos’ adverse health effects began to emerge in the early 20th century, but asbestos litigation didn’t come about well into the 20th century. In other words, the act of holding companies liable for exposing workers and consumers to this deadly substance is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Many companies were aware of the dangerous impact asbestos could have on their employees, but chose to keep this information behind closed doors. The asbestos industry and the companies themselves aimed to cover up the health risks associated with the substance. As demand for asbestos products grew throughout the mid-20th century, corporations prioritized profit over safety, exposing millions of innocent people to the toxic and carcinogenic fibers.

However, with the widespread use of asbestos, the health implications soon became hard to ignore.  When, as a result of this increased awareness, the first asbestos lawsuits were brought, companies immediately looked to for ways to protect themselves.

These companies were overwhelmed by the claims brought against them and filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  This chapter permits the debtors (the companies at fault) to create a proposal for reorganization which will allow them to pay their creditors (the asbestos victims). It also protects the companies from being sued, granting them immunity from lawsuits. In these cases, the companies were required set aside money from assets and insurance for victim compensation.

The asbestos trust funds were formed so that these companies could allocate money to pay the claims of both current and future victims of asbestos—related illnesses who became sick due to their operations. Meanwhile, they could remain in business if they met certain legal conditions.

First Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Fund

One of the high-profile cases that led to asbestos trust funds becoming standard procedure was that of Johns-Manville. One of the biggest producers asbestos products, this corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1982. The company was able to recover from bankruptcy in 1988 with its liabilities now the responsibility of Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust.

While the intent was for the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust to pay claimants the same amount of money they would have received through a lawsuit, the organization greatly underestimated the number of claims that would be made. The extent of the asbestos damage was more extensive than they had predicted and they found themselves out of their depth. The trust was insolvent by 1992.

However, three years later, the Manville Trust was recreated as part of a settlement. The new trust prioritized claims from claimants with serious illnesses such as mesothelioma. Payouts are often significantly lower than what a claimant would have received from a lawsuit. However, within the first decade of the trust’s formation, more than $2.5 billion in compensation was paid to claimants. The Manville Trust is still active today.

Determining Eligibility for Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos Trust Funds Update

In order to be eligible for compensation from an asbestos trust fund, you’ll need to prove the company’s negligence led to your or your loved one’s exposure and subsequent illness. In the case that you were exposed by using a certain product, this will need to be proven too. Most trusts limit compensation to claimants who meet certain criteria. These criteria are related to your health and the circumstances of your exposure. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can help you assess your eligibility and help you gather the information needed to prove it.

It’s also crucial for you to file a claim as soon as you can after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Although you’ll understandably want to focus on your health, how soon you file your claim could decide whether you receive compensation. Each state has its own statute of limitations, which limits the time frame for filing a claim after diagnosis. An attorney will also be able to assist you in understanding the rules for your state.

How to File an Asbestos Trust Claim

Now that you have the basic information about what asbestos trust funds are, you should be aware of the general process that goes into filing a claim. Depending on the amount of information you have about your exposure to asbestos, the process can be straightforward or more complex. However, a good mesothelioma lawyer can assist you each step of the way and mitigate many of the tougher aspects of filing a claim.

Diagnosis: An official mesothelioma diagnosis from your doctor is critical no matter which trust fund you’re filing a claim with. Your doctor will need to provide an in-depth overview of your illness, and mesothelioma will need to be confirmed through medical examinations. These can include imaging scans, biopsies and blood work. Your doctor will also need to describe how asbestos exposure contributed to your illness and to what extent.

Selecting a lawyer: Choosing the right law firm and lawyer to help you file your claim is an essential part of the process. When choosing a mesothelioma lawyer, take advantage of free consultations to assess the firm’s reputability and clear up any questions. Research the firm’s record and experience in asbestos litigation. Although selecting a law firm is an entirely personal choice, we at Mesothelioma Help Now have lawyers we recommend for their extensive expertise and mesothelioma specialization. Our network of mesothelioma lawyers means we can connect you with law offices throughout the country. Our affiliated law firms offer free consultations for prospective clients. Find a local office near you.

Consulting: Your first consultation with your mesothelioma lawyer may be overwhelming, but a good attorney will help you feel confident in their abilities and in the process. They will clearly and openly answer questions and address any concerns. However, in order for your attorney to file your claim, you’ll need to provide as much information as you can. This may include personal details such as your work and medical histories. Your age, diagnosis, military involvement, and details of your asbestos exposure will all play a role in how your case is processed. Giving your lawyer the maximum amount of accurate information you’re able to offers you a better chance of receiving compensation.

Submission: Once your mesothelioma lawyer has all the information they need to proceed, they will file your claim. After this is done, you will likely need to be patient, as the process can take some time. It is lengthy partially because trust funds usually have an annual maximum of money they can pay out. Your lawyer can provide you with a general estimate of the time it will take, but the exact timeline will rely on the number of claims being processed and the details of your case.

Payment: If your claim is settled, the defendant will pay an amount of money agreed upon by your legal team and theirs. Trust funds will liquidate all claims that they deem valid. The amount paid will depend on the type of illness you have and what your lawyer can negotiate.

List of Companies with Asbestos Trust Funds


A-Best Products Company

A&I Corporation

A.B.B. Global, Inc.

A, C & S Inc.

A.P. Green Industries, Inc.

A.P.I. Group, Inc.

Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

A.R.T.R.A. Group, Inc.

Asarco Incorporated

Asbestos Claims Management Corp.


Babcock & Wilcox Company


Brauer Supply

Burns & Roe Enterprises, Inc.


C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc.

Celotex Corporation/Carey Canada, Inc.

The Christy Refractories Company

Combustion Engineering, Inc.

Congoleum Corporation


DII Industries, LLC (Dresser Industries)


Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.


Federal Mogul Corp.

Ferodo America, Inc.

Fibreboard Corporation (subsidy of Owens Corning)

Flexitallic, Inc.

Flintkote Co./Flintkote Mines Ltd.


G-I Holdings, Inc.


General Motors Corporation



Harbison-Walker Refractories Company

Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.

H.K. Porter


J.T. Thorpe, Inc.

Johns-Manville Corp./Philadelphia Asbestos Corp.



Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation

Keene Corporation


Leslie Controls, Inc.


MacArthur Co. (also known as Western Asbestos Company)


North American Refractories Co.


Owens Corning


Pittsburgh Corning

Plant Insulation Company

Plibrico Company

Porter-Hayden Company


Quigley Company, Inc.


Raymark Industries, Inc.


Shook & Fletcher Insulation

Swan Transportation Company


T H Agriculture & Nutrition, L.L.C.

Thorpe Insulation Company


United Gilsonite


United States Gypsum Company

United States Mineral Products Company


W.R. Grace & Co.