Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently signed into law a bill that could end up severely limiting access to compensation trust funds set up by asbestos manufacturers for mesothelioma cancer victims harmed by deadly products. Iowa Democratic lawmakers decried the legislation, which one state senator described as containing “trap doors” for mesothelioma cancer victims trying to recover vital compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
Dubbed the “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act,” the law aims to reduce what many call “double dipping” by plaintiffs lawyers filing claims victim’s trust set up by asbestos companies as part of their condition for bankruptcy and then filing a separate lawsuit against other entities. The law now requires plaintiffs to disclose certain information within 90 days of filing a claim in an asbestos cancer bankruptcy trust or be barred from any recovery with the trust.
Furthermore, the act focuses on identification of additional or alternative asbestos trusts by the defendant, legal discovery and use of materials, identification of asbestos trust claims by the plaintiff, valuation of claims, and failure to comply with disclosure requirements. Supporters claim the new law will help ensure the money set aside in these trusts will go to deserving victims and the funds will be available for many years to help victims diagnosed with mesothelioma in the future.
According to reports, more than 2000 Iowans have died of asbestos-related cancer since 1999 and there are currently an estimated 17 mesothelioma asbestos cancer lawsuits working their way through state courts. The new law would not affect mesothelioma cancer lawsuit already filed in Iowa, but will surely have a tremendous impact on future claims brought in the state. The law is similar to the federal Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT) working its way through both houses of Congress.
How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?
For many decades, companies manufactured their products with a fire resistant mineral called asbestos. The material was cheap, plentiful, and was useful in a variety of industrial applications, including ship building, construction, and even consumer products. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is linked directly with developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer normally affecting thin linings of tissue around the lungs and abdomen.
Manufacturers knew for years about the serious health consequences of asbestos exposure but did nothing to warn consumers and individuals working with the material. While nothing can undo a mesothelioma diagnosis, the law nonetheless prescribes legal remedies for victims to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and to hold wrongdoers accountable for putting profits before the health and safety of innocent victims.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
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.