In a victory for asbestos cancer victims across the state, Idaho lawmakers recently rejected an asbestos lawsuit reform bill aimed at making it more difficult for plaintiffs to proceed with lawsuits to recover badly needed compensation for medical bills and lost wages. The bill was one of many similar pieces of legislation proposed in other states legislatures across the nation. Many of them sponsored by powerful business interest lobbying groups trying to limit liability for defendants accused of failing to warn victims about the deadly risks asbestos exposure posed.
The Idaho House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee rejected the bill at a crucial preliminary stage, preventing the legislation from coming up for a vote in the full Idaho House of Representatives. The measure, sponsored by the influential Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, would require asbestos cancer lawsuit plaintiffs to disclose certain information to defendants and potentially delay proceedings.
Bill Supporters Claim Legislation Would Prevent “Double Dipping” into Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Supporters of the bill claim the legislation would have prevented so-called “double dipping” into asbestos bankruptcy trusts by plaintiffs already filing personal injury lawsuits against other asbestos manufacturers. Under the law, plaintiffs would have to exhaust attempts at filing claims with the bankruptcy trusts before proceeding with formal asbestos cancer lawsuits in civil court to recover compensation for damages.
In addition to utilizing asbestos bankruptcy trusts before filing lawsuits in court, the law would have required plaintiffs to disclose to defendants any and all other asbestos claims, both civil and administrative. Bill supporters claim the legislation would eliminate unscrupulous claimants from making the same claim with multiple bankruptcy trusts and depleting funds for deserving claimants in the future.
What is an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust?
Asbestos bankruptcy trusts were established many years ago by asbestos companies and other manufacturers as a condition for approval of bankruptcy proceedings. Companies set up these trusts as a mechanism to quickly compensate plaintiffs, settle claims, and avoid any future litigation over allegations the entity knowingly produced dangerous, asbestos-contaminated products and did nothing to warn users about the risks.
According to reports, approximately 60 asbestos trusts hold an estimated $37 billion to compensate current and future claimants for mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. While the material has not been used in new products for many decades, the disease can take decades to develop and show diagnosable symptoms. Often times, claimants can draw compensation from these trusts much quicker compared to filing formal asbestos cancer lawsuits in court, which can take many years to litigate and settle appeals before defendants finally take responsibility for their careless actions.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.