If you have been diagnosed with or think you might have an asbestos related condition such as Asbestosis, Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma, you may have the right to collect. The reality of asbestos litigation; however, is that there are very few defendants remaining that have the financial resources to pay claims. Since the first major bankruptcy filing by Johns-Manville Corp., in 1982, nearly 70 companies that either made or installed asbestos insulation or that sold or used products containing asbestos have filed for bankruptcy. For that reason, more and more victims of asbestos exposure must seek compensation by filing claims within the bankruptcy courts. Since the early 1980’s, companies responsible for inflicting asbestos-related illness on hundreds of thousands of Americans have sought to limit or escape legal liability through filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. By filing Chapter 11, a company is given immediate immunity from lawsuits filed by the victims of its asbestos products. The company is then given many years to satisfy a number of legal requirements while the victims, many of whom do not have the luxury of time, are forced to wait. Upon meeting the bankruptcy court’s requirements, the company is granted permanent immunity from lawsuits filed by all past and future victims, and is able to emerge from bankruptcy and continue doing business as usual. Simply stated, you cannot sue a bankrupt company.
Several common misconceptions are as follows:
- One, that if I wait to see if the company reorganizes and becomes profitable again, I may be entitled to a larger settlement. Agreeing to a settlement now may prevent me from receiving a larger settlement later from a reorganized company.
- Secondly, that because I can go to the store and find product manufactured by the same defendant I am filing a claim against, this companies current profitability should be reflected in the amount of the settlement I should agree to now. Waiting to file a claim or not accepting a current settlement offer may allow for future claims at a larger value.
- Finally, if I settle now and my condition worsens, I may give up my right for a larger settlement.
The facts are as follows: Once a company files for Bankruptcy, assets are seized and the determination of the ability to pay is based on those funds. Any profits made by a reorganized company are NOT factored into the original company’s ability to pay and moreover are protected from such claims. Companies can reorganize and continue to do business, selling their product, and cannot be held liable for the actions of the original company. The trend of asbestos bankruptcies is that as time passes and more asbestos claims are filed, the company’s ability to pay diminishes and the percent of the *”Liquidated claim value” that is paid is reduced, thus paying out a lesser amount to the claimant or injured party. And finally, sufferers of a non-malignant asbestos condition are often in fear that by settling now, if their condition develops into a malignancy, they will not be able to pursue an additional settlement for a malignant asbestos related disease. Bankruptcy trust offer what is known as a limited release for non-malignant claimants. Although this release precludes the claimant from filing again for the same non-malignant condition, should the claimant develop an asbestos related malignant condition, he/she may file a second injury claim and receive additional compensation.
SEC – Rules and Practices
Delaying any asbestos claim only runs the risk of reducing any potential settlement. Protect your rights and seek legal counsel now. Our mesothelioma dedicated attorneys at Reyes, O’Shea and Coloca fight for the rights of these individuals who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.
* Liquidated Claim Value or amount is The Liquidated Amount is also sometimes referred to as the liquidated value and means: (a) the amount set forth in an applicable Settlement Agreement, provided that the Claimant satisfies the conditions for payment set forth in such agreement, (b) with respect to an Asbestos Final Judgment Claim, the amount of such judgment, or (c) for all other Asbestos PI Trust Claims, the amount established pursuant to the TDP. – The total value of the claim as allowed by the trust if the claim were paid at 100%