Nuts and Bolts of a Bankruptcy VCF Claim
The decades-long asbestos cover-up began unraveling in the late 1960s, when the first asbestos exposure victims filed legal action. By 1980, the jig was up, as the adverse health effects were well-documented and widely known. Rather than accept responsibility for selling poisoned products to a generation of consumers, many asbestos providers declared bankruptcy. Federal judges allowed them to do so if they set up victim compensation funds. Today, all these years later, these trust funds still contain over $30 billion.
However, this money is not available for the taking. Instead, an asbestos-exposure lawyer must meticulously build a case from the ground up. Then, a lawyer must work equally hard to guide this case through the complex VCF system and resolve it on favorable terms. Most asbestos-exposure victims, especially mesothelioma victims, are extremely ill. They need all the compensation they can get to provide for their families in future years. So, a lawyer must never look for a quick settlement or an easy way out.Building a Claim
Primary and secondary exposure victims could be eligible for VCF funds if their cases are factually and medically sound.
Bankruptcy VCF claims, like court claims, must pinpoint the asbestos exposure source. Usually, an asbestos-exposure lawyer uses a combination of the victim’s work history and the victim’s medical profile to establish this connection.
For example, if the extent of Mike’s current illness suggests he was exposed to asbestos in 1975, and he worked for XYZ Company in 1975, it is more likely than not, which is the burden of proof in these claims, that he was exposed to asbestos while working at XYZ. That is especially true if the company declares bankruptcy to avoid these legal actions.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-exposure medical conditions are very difficult to diagnose. Therefore, a board-certified industrial oncologist or other such professional should make the official diagnosis. Anything less, and the Fund Administrator could delay settlement. Many of these victims are old and ill. Time is a very precious resource.Types of Review
The type of review varies in different VCF claims. Each fund usually sets its own rules within the guidelines provided by the Bankruptcy Court. Usually, however, standard and expedited review are available.
The standard review is more time-consuming. The Fund Administrator reviews the claim in detail. However, since more facts come to light in standard review claims, compensation is usually higher.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. An attorney can usually obtain additional punitive damages in these cases as well.
Expedited review is much faster. These claims might reach the resolution phase in a few weeks. A quick look means the claim is less well-developed, and less compensation is available.Resolving a Claim
The final phase of a VCF claim is often the most difficult one. In court, a looming trial date motivates parties to settle. Furthermore, during mediation, they have a duty to negotiate in good faith. But in non-court VCF claims, there’s no motivational trial date and never a duty to negotiate in good faith.
Therefore, Fund Administrators are very stingy. They know the more compensation they pay, the more claims will be filed. When the fund runs out of money, their jobs end.
So, an asbestos exposure lawyer must be a very good negotiator. Good negotiators know when to stand firm and when to compromise. A letdown in either area usually means settling for less.Count on a Hard-Hitting Attorney
Compensation may be available even if the responsible provider is no longer in business. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.