What if you were able to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from a trust fund that has already been set up? For some victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, this might be a reality.

In the 1970s, scientists discovered asbestos was a primary cause of mesothelioma. As a result, many asbestos companies were forced to declare bankruptcy in the proceeding decades following an influx of lawsuits. Many of the companies that went bankrupt set up trust funds to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.

Since the early 2000s, trust funds have paid out more than $15 billion to victims of asbestos exposure. More than $30 billion dollars remains in asbestos trust funds for mesothelioma victims, according to the Mesothelioma Veterans Center.

To receive compensation from a trust fund, a person must prove two elements exist. First, he or she must be suffering from an asbestos-related disease. Second, the person must prove that the company is responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused the disease.

However, each company that has set up a trust fund for asbestos exposure victims might require claimants to prove additional criteria. Additionally, the government increased its standards for asbestos trust fund claims this fall to prevent fraudulent claimants from receiving funds intended for actual victims.

Filing a claim for an asbestos-related disease can be complex. If you or someone you love is a victim of asbestos exposure, consult with an attorney to discuss your options and determine if you might be eligible to receive compensation from a trust fund.