Over 30 Billion dollars in trust fund money has been set aside for asbestos victims.
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The Hatch Asbestos Bill will introduce the operation of a specially set up trust and court to deal with mesothelioma compensation claims. But this bill has been widely opposed by both groups that work to protect Mesothelioma sufferers, and the victims themselves.
There are many reasons why this bill has been deemed unfair, unviable and unjust. Potentially horrendous delays coupled with unfair exclusions mean that many victims may not see a penny of the money to which they would otherwise have been entitled. In fact, the irony appears to be that it is the companies responsible for asbestos exposure that may benefit the most because they will be protected against further claims once they have contributed a specified sum of money into the trust fund.
Below you will find some commonly asked questions with regards to this bill, known as Senate Bill 1125. These questions relate to the viability of the bill and how – or if – the system will benefit mesothelioma victims.
Unfortunately, many victims may find themselves excluded from claiming under this new bill. There are very strict criteria with regards to exposure levels and dates, which could affect the claims of many people. For example, this bill requires that those exposed to asbestos after 1976 prove a far higher degree of exposure in order to be eligible. This clearly discriminates against some victims who have been sentenced to death through asbestos exposure, simply based upon dates.
This system is far more likely to cause long delays, which could make all the difference to a mesothelioma victim who is already on borrowed time. The initial period of operation, in particular, could mean major hold ups. There are likely to be over half a million claims in progress that must be dealt with, and in addition to these a plethora of new claims will be received each day. It is thought that each claims officer will be dealing with thousands of claims, which means that even those who already have pending claims will face long delays. There is also no timescale with regards to processing claims and finalizing payouts, which will lead to even further delays.
The money in the trust, which will be used to pay successful claimants, will be provided by the companies responsible for asbestos exposure. Each of the companies in question will be required to put a certain amount of money into the ‘pot’. Once they have done this, they will be protected against further claims for injury through asbestos exposure, which for many of these companies will save them from bankruptcy. Even cases currently going through trial and pending cases will be null and void, so the victims will miss out on the payment due to them and the companies responsible for the pain and suffering will save on a wide number of payouts.
Yes. For a start, many victims will find that they are not eligible to claim anything under this system. Those who do fit the specified criteria will still receive far less under this system. Even the most severe sufferers will be limited to one million dollars. For many, the amount of compensation that they will receive will not even cover their medical expenses, let alone pain, suffering and financial security for the family.
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