Tracing back the source of exposure to asbestos after a person develops a devastating lung disease or cancer can be difficult. Often times, victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses have been exposed to asbestos in a number of environments and job sites. However, when a company is already facing a number of claims related to making or selling dangerous products containing asbestos, it may be a little easier to track for people who worked there or used their products.
Recently, a manufacturer of coatings, sealants and paints found themselves facing several lawsuits related to the use of asbestos in their products. The company is now seeking bankruptcy protection and has developed a reorganization plan in order to handle the payments that may be required in the 950 lawsuits in which they are currently involved.
The huge number of claims that the company may be responsible for has prompted the company to suggest setting up a trust for victims of their dangerous products. According to reports, as part of their reorganization plan, the company would set up a trust worth about $11.75 million that would be awarded to claimants. This is in addition to the $25 million the company and their insurers have already paid. The company’s insurance company would also contribute a still-unspecified sum to the trust.
If the trust is approved, plaintiffs would need to petition a committee in order to request and determine payments. While this may sound confusing, many victims of asbestos-related illnesses frequently work through this complex legal process with an attorney who can navigate the system. In many cases that involve a product that contains asbestos, the negligent company manufacturing or selling the product can be held liable for any damage it causes.
Source: Citizens Voice, “Dunmore-based UGL considers $11.75M trust to settle asbestos-related claims,” James Haggerty, Oct. 5, 2012