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Alabama Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

If you’re a firefighter or have lived near a fire training facility in Alabama, you might be concerned about the health impacts of AFFF firefighting foam.

The ongoing Alabama firefighter foam lawsuit alleges harmful exposure to PFAS chemicals from the foam, seeking accountability and compensation for affected individuals. This article covers the current state of the lawsuits, who is eligible, and potential outcomes.

If you or someone close to you has suffered from exposure to firefighting foam, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is ready to assist. Renowned for our expertise in representing plaintiffs, our foremost priority is to ensure that you obtain the justice and rightful compensation you deserve.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Firefighting foam lawsuits have taken center stage in recent years, with thousands of cases pending in the United States, including AFFF foam lawsuits. These lawsuits aim to hold manufacturers accountable for injuries and damages resulting from exposure to PFAS, a group of harmful chemicals found in firefighting foams.

An AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit has been initiated against 14 companies, including 3M, highlighting the severity of the situation and the growing number of AFFF foam lawsuit cases. If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to these harmful chemicals, it may be time to consider filing a foam lawsuit.

Key Points from Lawsuits

While each AFFF lawsuit has its unique aspects, there are common factors. Key among these is the goal to hold manufacturers accountable for the injuries and damages resulting from PFAS exposure. The lawsuits allege that manufacturers were aware of the health risks associated with their products but failed to warn users adequately.

This legal struggle is about more than compensation; it’s a quest for justice and accountability, aiming to secure assistance for those impacted. This fight is being spearheaded by law firms well-versed in personal injury claims and who are dedicated to pursuing justice for their clients.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF, Aqueous Film Forming Foam is a firefighting foam. It’s primarily used in places like military bases and airports to suppress fires, according to a 2023 study by the Department of Environmental Conservation [1].

However, film-forming foam AFFF contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals linked to serious health issues, including various types of cancer.

Instances of PFAS contamination due to AFFF usage have been confirmed at locations like Birmingham International Airport and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama [2]. This has led to increased scrutiny and several lawsuits against the manufacturers of AFFF, as people seek justice for their exposure to these harmful chemicals.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Alabama?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Alabama are major manufacturers such as 3M, DuPont, Tyco Fire Products, Chemours, and Chemguard.

These companies are accused of failing to warn users about the potential toxicity of their products, thus showing negligence and liability.

There’s evidence indicating that these manufacturers knew about the potential toxicity of their AFFF products as far back as the 1960s. Despite this knowledge, they continued to:

  • market and distribute these products without adequately warning users of the potential harm
  • prioritize profits over user safety
  • ignore the health risks associated with their products

This blatant disregard for user safety is a crucial factor in the ongoing lawsuits.

One of the most alarming aspects of AFFF exposure is its link to cancer. Research suggests that PFAS exposure might result in harmful health outcomes, including various forms of cancer [3]. This connection is of particular concern to firefighters and military personnel who have been regularly exposed to AFFF in the line of duty.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the most well-studied PFAS, was first classified in 2014 as a possible human carcinogen, and in 2023, the working group upgraded PFOA to a human carcinogen. – Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.

Occupational exposure isn’t the only concern. PFAS chemicals can seep into groundwater, thereby impacting the water supply of surrounding communities. This means that even individuals who have never directly handled AFFF could still be at risk due to contaminated drinking water.

The potential health risks associated with AFFF are significant and varied, ranging from increased cholesterol levels to immune system effects. However, the most concerning is the increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, a fact that has led to numerous lawsuits against AFFF manufacturers.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS chemicals. These chemicals resist degradation, leading to their long-term persistence in the environment. This can lead to contamination of groundwater, soil, and even the air.

PFAS chemicals have been used in many industry and consumer products, including firefighting foams, for over 70 years. Despite their effectiveness in suppressing fires, the health risks associated with PFAS are significant and have led to an outcry for safer alternatives.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

PFAS exposure from AFFF has been linked to a myriad of health issues. While increased cholesterol levels and immune system effects are common, the most alarming is the increased risk of developing certain cancers. Studies have indicated a link between PFAS exposure and the following cancers:

These findings have been instrumental in shaping the ongoing AFFF lawsuits, with plaintiffs claiming that their cancer diagnoses are a direct result of prolonged exposure to AFFF.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching, affecting not just firefighters and military personnel, but also residents of communities near military bases or airports.

These individuals, who may have been unknowingly exposed to PFAS through contaminated groundwater, are now at an increased risk of health issues and may be eligible to join the ongoing AFFF lawsuits.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Alabama?

Individuals who can prove that they were regularly exposed to PFAS from AFFF firefighting foam in an occupational setting and have been diagnosed with certain types of cancer qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Alabama.

This includes firefighters and military personnel who were directly exposed to AFFF in the line of duty, as well as residents of communities near airports or military bases where AFFF was used.

With contamination by PFAS chemicals found in 61% of wells tested near military bases, the potential number of plaintiffs is vast. Further, nearly 20% of firefighters exposed to AFFF have been diagnosed with some form of cancer, underscoring the serious health risks associated with AFFF exposure.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by engaging in intricate and multi-dimensional legal processes, commonly referred to as AFFF litigation. The court has predominantly focused on municipal cases, which comprise over half of the 6,400 claims. This focus has led to a delay in individual personal injury claims, which are projected to progress further into 2024.

Bellwether trials are a pivotal component in these proceedings. These trials act as test cases for individual injury claims against the AFFF defendants.

The results of these trials can shape larger settlements and steer future litigation, making them a vital element of the legal process. Thus, the AFFF litigation process has sparked significant change within the firefighting industry.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Alabama

The projected settlement compensation for Alabama AFFF lawsuits is as follows:

  • Range: $75,000 to $600,000
  • Factors considered: case strength, duration of AFFF exposure, and severity of cancer diagnosis
  • Compensation distribution: from a settlement fund to individual plaintiffs
  • Ranking system: tiered ranking system, with top-tier cases expected to receive higher settlement amounts.

Currently, there are over 6,700 total pending AFFF firefighting foam class action cases in the multidistrict litigation (MDL), with individual cancer cases progressing toward bellwether trials. These trials are crucial in compelling defendants towards reasonable settlement offers.

While the highest settlement tier for AFFF firefighting foam cases could see average amounts ranging from $300,000 to $600,000, the estimation of settlement values for second-tier cases ranges from $150,000 to $280,000. Meanwhile, third-tier cases may receive $75,000 or less.

Regardless of the tier, each settlement offers a ray of hope for the victims, reflecting their ongoing fight for justice.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Alabama

Apart from the monetary compensation, the lawsuits aim to address the full spectrum of losses experienced by the plaintiffs. This includes ongoing and future costs associated with medical treatment for illnesses linked to AFFF exposure.

Compensation evaluations factor in the following:

  • The duration of AFFF exposure
  • The seriousness of the cancer diagnosis
  • Economic losses from medical bills
  • Non-economic damages like pain and suffering

Victims with stronger cases and more severe diagnoses, resulting from longer-term occupational exposure to AFFF, are likely to be placed in higher settlement tiers and receive larger payouts.

Filing an Alabama Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

The process of filing an AFFF lawsuit in Alabama is detailed, necessitating evidence of long-term exposure to PFAS chemicals and a corresponding cancer diagnosis. Individuals who have used AFFF products, were exposed to PFAS over a long period, and have been diagnosed with certain types of cancer might be eligible to file a lawsuit.

Legal representation is available on a contingency fee basis, offering free case evaluations for victims seeking to join the AFFF lawsuit. This means that attorneys get paid only if they successfully resolve a case, ensuring that legal assistance is accessible to all who need it.

It’s worth noting that the statute of limitations for AFFF lawsuits in Alabama is two years from the date of discovery of the injury. This means that individuals must file their lawsuit within two years of when they first became aware of their injury or illness related to AFFF exposure.

Types of Evidence To Present

Presenting a strong case in an AFFF lawsuit requires substantial evidence. This may include:

  • Medical records
  • Occupational records documenting exposure to AFFF
  • Any other documents that can demonstrate a link between AFFF exposure and the individual’s cancer diagnosis?

Maintaining organized records of treatments, health costs, and personal accounts is vital for plaintiffs. Financial compensation can be awarded based on tiered case strength, so detailed records will not only support your case but could also enhance potential settlement values.

Alabama Statute of Limitation

Alabama’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including AFFF exposure-related ones, is two years from the injury discovery date. This means that potential plaintiffs have two years from the time they first became aware of their injury or illness related to AFFF exposure to file a lawsuit.

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Have you or a loved one been injured or exposed to a toxic chemical at work or in the home that has caused a severe life-threatening side effect, illness, disease, or death?

Get Your Free Consultation Alabama Firefighter Foam Lawyers

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is here to offer support in critical times. If you or a family member has experienced injuries due to exposure to firefighting foam, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team has expertise in managing such cases and will guide you through every part of the process.

You need to understand your legal rights and assess if you are eligible for a firefighting foam lawsuit. Our consultations are always free, and you will not face any charges unless we achieve a positive outcome in your case.

Contact Schmidt & Clark today for a thorough evaluation of your case related to firefighting foam. Let us be your reliable ally in navigating this challenging situation.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://www.elglaw.com/maxwell-air-force-base/
  3. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas

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