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How Are Military Personnel Seeking Compensation for AFFF Firefighter Foam Exposure?

Unfortunately, military personnel is affected by regular exposure to AFFF and its PFAS components. They have reported various health issues, including respiratory problems, hormonal imbalances, kidney issues, and even certain types of cancer.

Military firefighters affected by health concerns related to AFFF exposure pursue lawsuits to hold manufacturers and other entities accountable for producing, distributing, and using the foam. Their legal actions seek compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain, suffering, and other damages resulting from firefighting foam exposure.

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What Are the Effects of Firefighting Foam Exposure on Military Personnel?

Researchers are still studying the full extent of AFFF exposure risks. Here are some potential effects of AFFF on military personnel:

Health Risks

  • Increased Cancer Risk: The research conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has associated AFFF exposure with an elevated risk of prostate, testicular, and kidney cancers, identifying PFAS chemicals in AFFF as potential carcinogens.
  • Thyroid Disease: Exposure to toxic firefighting foam increases the risk of thyroid dysfunction and thyroid cancer. PFAS compounds can disrupt thyroid hormone regulation and contribute to thyroid-related health issues.
  • Elevated Cholesterol Levels: Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also determined that exposure to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) leads to higher levels of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides. However, elevated cholesterol levels are also a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Immune System Dysfunction: PFAS can adversely affect the immune system, potentially leading to dysregulation and increased vulnerability to infections and diseases.
  • Other Health Effects: PFAS exposure has reproductive and developmental issues, hormonal disruptions, liver damage, and other adverse health outcomes. However, more research is required to fully understand the complete extent of these effects.

Environmental Impact

  • AFFF can contaminate water sources and soil, leading to environmental pollution. The PFAS chemicals in AFFF are persistent and can remain in the environment for extended periods, potentially affecting ecosystems and wildlife.
  • AFFF used on military bases can pose a risk of contaminating drinking water in nearby communities through the leaching of chemicals into groundwater sources. This contamination threatens both military personnel and civilians living in the vicinity. 
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) research has found that drinking water contamination caused by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is widespread in areas surrounding over 300 military bases in the United States. These military bases have historically utilized aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) for fire training and firefighting.

Psychological Impact

  • Military personnel exposed to AFFF and diagnosed with health issues may experience psychological distress, including anxiety, stress, and concerns about their long-term well-being.
  • The other potential health risks associated with AFFF exposure can contribute to mental health challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional strain.
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What Are the Potential Damages Military Staff Can Recover in AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?

Military firefighters can recover damages in a lawsuit related to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) exposure. The specific damages that are pursued and compensated will depend on the circumstances of the case, applicable laws, and the extent of harm suffered.

Here are some potential damages that military personnel can recover in an AFFF lawsuit:

Medical Expenses

Military personnel can seek compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses related to AFFF exposure. It includes costs for doctor visits, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any necessary ongoing medical treatments or therapies.

Lost Wages

If AFFF exposure results in an inability to work or loss of income. In that case, victims may be eligible to recover lost wages. It includes compensation for the time already missed from work, as well as any potential future loss of earning capacity or reduced work opportunities resulting from their health conditions.

Pain and Suffering

Military personnel can pursue damages for physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, and diminished quality of life resulting from AFFF exposure. Pain and suffering compensation addresses the non-economic impact of the injuries and the overall effect on the individual’s well-being.

Loss of Consortium

If AFFF exposure has affected the personal relationships of military personnel. In that case, their spouses or partners may be able to seek damages for loss of consortium. These damages compensate for losing companionship, affection, intimacy, and support for the injuries.

Punitive Damages

In some instances, if the actions of the responsible parties are severe, military personnel may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendants and deter similar misconduct in the future.

Wrongful Death Damages

In cases where AFFF exposure has resulted in the death of a military service member, their surviving family members may be able to pursue wrongful death damages. These damages can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and other related costs.

What Different Types of AFFF Foam Lawsuits Can Military Personnel File?

Military personnel affected by AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) exposure can consider filing various lawsuits to seek compensation for their damages. Here are different types of AFFF lawsuits that military personnel may pursue:

  1. Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury lawsuits seek compensation for physical or psychological harm caused by AFFF exposure. Military personnel can file personal injury claims against firefighting foam manufacturers, suppliers, or other responsible parties. However, to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs must establish a clear link between their injuries and AFFF exposure.

  1. Wrongful Death Lawsuits

When military personnel members die due to AFFF exposure, their surviving family members may pursue wrongful death lawsuits. These claims aim to seek compensation for various damages, including funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and emotional distress resulting from the loss of a loved one.

  1. Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits allow a group of individuals with similar grievances to sue a defendant or multiple defendants as a single unit rather than filing separate lawsuits. This approach streamlines the legal process and provides a more efficient way for affected individuals to seek redress. Through these collective legal actions, victims may seek justice and compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

  1. Mass Tort Lawsuits

Mass tort lawsuits involve individuals harmed by a common product or action, like AFFF exposure. Military personnel can join mass tort litigation, filing individual claims against responsible parties. These lawsuits allow plaintiffs to pursue compensation while maintaining their distinct legal identities.

  1. Third-Party Lawsuits

Military personnel may have grounds to file lawsuits against third parties, such as contractors or subcontractors, responsible for the use, storage, or disposal of AFFF. Third-party lawsuits can be based on negligence or product liability claims, asserting that the third party’s actions or omissions contributed to the AFFF exposure and resulting harm.

However, military personnel needs to consult with experienced firefighting foam attorneys to determine the most suitable type of legal action based on their individual circumstances.

How Can Victims Prove Their AFFF Exposure?

Proving AFFF exposure for military personnel can be a complex process. However, several sources and evidence can help substantiate their claims. Here are some ways military personnel can gather evidence to demonstrate occupational exposure to firefighting foam:

Documentation of Job Responsibilities

Military personnel in firefighting or related services can gather documents detailing their duties and responsibilities. It can include participation records in fire suppression training exercises, firefighting certifications, or job descriptions specifically mentioning the usage of AFFF.

Service Records

Military personnel should review their service records for any references to AFFF exposure. It can include performance evaluations, incident reports, or safety briefings that mention using AFFF during their service.

Witness Statements

If some colleagues or supervisors witnessed AFFF exposure of military personnel, obtaining statements from them can strengthen the case. These witnesses can provide firsthand accounts of the individual’s involvement in firefighting activities or exposure to AFFF during training exercises.

Medical Records

Medical records are valuable evidence to demonstrate health issues and potential links to firefighting foam exposure. Military personnel should gather relevant medical records that show diagnoses, treatment plans, or symptoms associated with conditions linked to AFFF exposure, such as cancer or thyroid disease.

Water and Soil Testing Reports

Military personnel at bases or facilities where AFFF was used can actively request water and soil testing reports from regulatory agencies or environmental organizations. These reports can indicate the presence of PFAS compounds, the chemicals found in AFFF, in the surrounding environment.

Expert Opinions and Studies

Seek the assistance of medical professionals or environmental experts who specialize in the health effects of AFFF exposure. These experts can provide opinions based on scientific research and professional expertise, further supporting the case.

Military Installation Documentation

Military bases may have records related to the installation of AFFF, including storage, training, or firefighting procedures. Obtaining access to these documents through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests can provide additional evidence of AFFF use and potential exposure.

Photographs or Videos

If military personnel have any visual evidence, such as photographs or videos, showing their involvement in firefighting activities or using AFFF during training exercises. In that case, these can help establish their exposure to AFFF.

Are You Affected by AFFF Exposure? Get Help from Uptown Injury! 

As a military firefighter battling cancer, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. At Uptown Injury Law Firm, we’re dedicated to making sure you fully comprehend your legal rights while tenaciously fighting for the compensation you are entitled to.

Our seasoned firefighting foam cancer lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of AFFF lawsuits. They’re ready to guide you through this process and give you the support you need in tough times.

Contact us today or call us at 917-540-8728 to schedule a FREE consultation today!

FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Firefighting Foam Lawyer?

A firefighting foam attorney typically works on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay upfront fees. Instead, the attorney’s fees depend on the outcome of the case. This arrangement makes legal representation more accessible and affordable for victims seeking compensation for issues related to firefighting foam.

How Are Military Firefighters Exposed to AFFF?

Military firefighters actively expose themselves to AFFF during training exercises and firefighting operations. The level of exposure can vary depending on the circumstances, but even low levels of exposure can be harmful.

Are There Specific Time Limits for Filing a Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit?

Yes, there are time limits, known as statutes of limitations, within which lawsuits must be filed. These time frames vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of each case. It is crucial to consult with a firefighting foam attorney specializing in product liability or personal injury claims to ensure compliance with the applicable deadlines.

What Are the Alternatives to PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam?

A few alternatives to PFAS-containing firefighting foam include protein-based and fluorine-free foams. These alternatives are less effective than AFFF but are also less harmful to the environment and human health.

Who Can File a Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit?

Anyone exposed to firefighting foam and who has developed cancer and AFFF-related health issues is eligible to file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit. It includes firefighters, military personnel, airport workers, and others exposed to firefighting foam.

Is PFAS Still Used in AFFF Firefighting Foam?

Yes, PFAS are still not completely banned. However, progress is being made at the state level, with several states passing legislation to restrict its use in firefighting foams. The EPA has a PFAS Strategic Roadmap focusing on public education, usage restrictions, and cleanup. In addition, the Department of Defense is actively addressing PFAS health risks by remediating contamination on military bases and seeking safer firefighting foam alternatives.

Who Are Liable in AFFF Lawsuits?

In AFFF lawsuits, the liable parties include manufacturers and distributors of AFFF. Some well-known manufacturers and distributors include 3M Company, Chemours, Tyco Fire Products, National Foam, and Angus Fire. However, the parties held liable can vary depending on the case.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Exposed to AFFF?

If you have been exposed to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam), seek medical attention immediately. Inform medical professionals about the exposure for proper evaluation and care. AFFF contains potentially harmful chemicals, so prompt action is crucial.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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