How Are AFFF Exposure Lawsuits Affecting Firefighters?
Firefighters, often regarded as heroes who fearlessly protect lives and property, face numerous risks and hazards in the line of duty. One significant threat that has emerged in recent years is exposure to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) and its potential health consequences. AFFF is widely used in firefighting operations to suppress flammable liquid fires. However, it contains harmful chemicals, including per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Firefighters are suing AFFF manufacturers like 3M, Chemours, and Tyco over health damages, including increased cancer risk, hormonal imbalances, and organ harm. The lawsuits seek compensation for medical costs, lost earnings, and pain, and aim to hold these companies accountable for their actions.
How Are Firefighters Exposed to AFFF?
Firefighters can come into contact with AFFF during their work through various routes of exposure, such as:
During firefighting activities, the deployment of AFFF releases vapors and aerosols into the air. Firefighters can inhale these airborne contaminants, which contain harmful chemicals PFAS and PFOA. Prolonged exposure to AFFF vapors can lead to the inhalation of toxic substances.
- Skin Contact
Skin contact with AFFF-contaminated surfaces or equipment can result in AFFF exposure. Firefighters often handle AFFF-soaked hoses, nozzles, and personal protective equipment (PPE), increasing the likelihood of AFFF exposure through skin contact. Moreover, firefighting foam exposure through skin contact can also occur when firefighters come into contact with AFFF-contaminated water.
During operations, firefighters may accidentally ingest AFFF by consuming contaminated food or water. For instance, if individuals use AFFF-contaminated water sources for drinking or food preparation, ingestion becomes a potential route of AFFF exposure.
What Are the Potential Long-Term Health Impacts of AFFF Exposure on Firefighters?
Scientific research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)have noted increased risks of certain cancers and several long-term health effects associated with AFFF exposure, such as:
Increased Risk of Cancer
The CDC and NCI have indicated a correlation between AFFF exposure and various cancers, including kidney, testicular, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. The presence of per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in AFFF has raised concerns due to their potential carcinogenic properties.
Studies have shown that toxic chemicals in firefighting foam, particularly PFAS compounds, can disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system. This includes interfering with hormone function, potentially leading to reproductive and developmental problems.
Adverse Effects on Liver and Kidney Function
Research indicates that exposure to AFFF may lead to damage in the liver and kidneys, consequently disrupting their regular function. Elevated levels of enzymes indicating liver and kidney impairment have been found in individuals who have been in contact with AFFF firefighting foam.
Potential Impact on Cardiovascular Health
A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows a connection between AFFF exposure and cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and heart disease. While further research is needed to establish a definitive causal link, early findings indicate potential cardiovascular risks associated with AFFF exposure.
Other Health Concerns
AFFF exposure also has associations with other health issues, such as immune system disorders, neurotoxicity, and adverse respiratory effects. Researchers are still exploring the precise reasons behind these health concerns. However, evidence shows the potential health risks posed by the chemicals present in AFFF.
How Can a Firefighter File an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
A firefighter who has suffered adverse health effects from exposure to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) can file an AFFF lawsuit. To file a firefighting foam claim, you need to follow the below steps:
Step 1: Consult With an Attorney
Seek the guidance of an experienced firefighting foam attorney specializing in AFFF firefighting foam cases. They will assess the merits of your case, guide you through the legal process, and ensure the protection of your rights.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Collect relevant evidence that supports your claim. It may include medical records documenting your health issues and linking them to AFFF exposure. Keep records of your firefighting foam exposure history, such as incident date, location, witness statements from fellow firefighters, and other supporting documentation.
Step 3: Identify Responsible Parties
Work closely with your firefighting foam attorney to identify the manufacturers, distributors, or other entities that may be held liable for the harm caused by AFFF exposure. A firefighting foam attorney will help determine who are defendants in your lawsuit and how to negotiate a settlement with them.
Step 4: Build A Strong Case
Your firefighting foam lawyer will help you develop a strong legal case by utilizing expert testimonies, scientific studies, and other evidence to establish a link between AFFF exposure and your health conditions. They will gather supporting documentation, research relevant laws and regulations, and construct a compelling argument to support your claim. In addition, they may also hire expert witnesses to support your case.
Step 5: File the Formal Complaint
Next thing you need to draft a formal complaint that outlines the allegations, damages sought, and the legal basis for your AFFF lawsuit. Your lawyer will file the AFFF litigation in court within the designated timeframe specified by the applicable statutes of limitations.
Step 6: Engage in Legal Proceedings
Insurance companies and the defendant’s lawyer will try their best to lowball you. Here your lawyer will not only guide you through legal processes but also negotiate with the insurers and secure a fair settlement on your behalf. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, where your AFFF lawyer will present your case to the court.
Step 7: Seek Compensation
Through the lawsuit, you can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from AFFF exposure. Your attorney will help you secure the maximum compensation based on the merits of your case so you don’t have to worry about bearing the financial burden.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Firefighters in AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits?
Due to the harmful effects of AFFF exposure, firefighters are eligible for various types of compensation through AFFF foam lawsuits, such as:
Medical Expenses (Past and Future Treatments)
Firefighters affected by AFFF exposure are entitled to seek compensation for their medical expenses. It includes costs associated with diagnosis, treatments, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care required to address the health conditions caused by AFFF exposure. In addition, future medical expenses related to ongoing monitoring and management of health issues are also included.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
AFFF-related health problems can result in lost wages and diminished earning capacity. Individuals may seek compensation to cover the wages and benefits lost during treatment, recovery, and potential disability resulting from firefighting foam exposure. Furthermore, if the health issues significantly impact a firefighter’s ability to pursue their chosen career or earn the same income. In that case, they may pursue compensation for the loss of earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Individuals suffering from the physical and emotional consequences of AFFF exposure are eligible for compensation. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the negative impact on their overall quality of life. It also considers the physical pain, mental anguish, emotional trauma, and reduced enjoyment of life caused by AFFF exposure.
Are You in Need of AFFF Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers? Contact Uptown Injury Today!
If you or a loved one were exposed to AFFF firefighting foam while serving as a firefighter and developed cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
At Uptown Injury Law, our firefighting foam attorneys are here to fight for your rights and represent you in the firefighting foam class action lawsuit. With more than 15 years of experience in dealing with mass tort, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases, our lawyers have what it takes to secure a fair settlement on your behalf.
What Is AFFF and What Is It Used For?
AFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) is a type of firefighting foam widely used in combating flammable liquid fires. It is specifically designed to create a thin, cohesive film that spreads over the surface of the fuel, forming a barrier between the fire and the surrounding oxygen. This film helps to suppress the fire by cooling the fuel, separating it from the ignition source, and preventing reignition.
What AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawyers Can Do for You?
AFFF firefighting foam lawyers specialize in assisting individuals exposed to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam. These lawyers offer legal expertise in investigating and gathering evidence to build strong cases. They also skillfully negotiate lawsuit settlement amounts and represent you in court while protecting your rights throughout the legal process.
How Long Does It Typically Take to Resolve an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Seeking Compensation?
The timeline for resolving an AFFF lawsuit can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, and the legal process. Some cases may be resolved through settlements, which can occur within months or years. Others may proceed to trial, which can extend the timeline. However, it is best to consult with an AFFF foam attorney for a more accurate timeline based on the specifics of your case.
Can Firefighters Join Class-Action Lawsuits for AFFF Exposure?
Yes, firefighters may be able to join class-action lawsuits if they meet the defined criteria. A class action lawsuit can provide a collective legal approach for individuals with similar claims, streamlining the litigation process. However, it is essential to consult with a firefighting foam lawyer to determine the most appropriate legal strategy for your case.
Can Retired Firefighters Who Were Exposed to AFFF File Lawsuits for Compensation?
Yes, retired firefighters exposed to AFFF and have experienced health issues can file AFFF lawsuits for compensation. The effects of AFFF exposure can manifest even after retirement. Retired firefighters need to consult with an attorney specializing in AFFF firefighting foam cancer lawsuits to evaluate their case and determine the best legal approach.
How Can Firefighters Gather Evidence to Support Their AFFF Exposure Lawsuit?
Firefighters can gather evidence by collecting their medical records. It includes obtaining diagnoses, treatment records, and any documentation that establishes a link between their health issues and AFFF exposure. Documenting AFFF exposure history is essential such as incidents, dates, and locations. Witness statements from fellow firefighters who can confirm AFFF use and its potential impact can also be valuable. Additionally, consulting with experts such as toxicologists or environmental specialists can help strengthen your case.
How Can Firefighters Protect Themselves Against AFFF Exposure?
To ensure protection from AFFF exposure, firefighters should undergo proper training on the hazards of AFFF and how to minimize its exposure. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during firefighting operations, following decontamination practices after exposure, and implementing engineering controls in fire stations are essential. Safe handling, storage, and disposal of AFFF and regular health monitoring are also necessary.
How Much Can I Get From a Firefighting Foam Settlement?
The amount you can receive from an AFFF lawsuit settlement can vary widely depending on several factors. These factors include the extent of damages you suffered, the number of claimants involved, and the specific terms of the settlement agreement. It is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in AFFF lawsuits to assess your potential compensation accurately.