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Colorado Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

In Colorado, firefighters taking on AFFF manufacturers in court represent a landmark movement for justice over adverse health impacts.

This article brings you the latest on the Colorado firefighter foam lawsuit, including essential details on the fight against toxic exposure, its health ramifications, and compensation opportunities for victims.

If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to firefighting foam, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is prepared to provide help. Known for our proficiency in representing plaintiffs, our primary commitment is to ensure that you secure the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Firefighting foam, specifically AFFF firefighting foam, is widely used by firefighters across the nation, including those at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. This foam is vital in controlling and putting out flammable liquid fires, which are typically found in aircraft accidents or fuel storage facility fires.

However, the ‘forever chemicals’ present in AFFF has been linked to a host of health issues, leading to a surge in firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in the state of Colorado.

A standout among these is the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser filed against 15 firefighting foam manufacturers.

These companies, including major industry players like DuPont de Nemours, the Chemours Company, and 3M Company, are being held responsible for the ill effects of their products, leading to a series of ongoing firefighting foam lawsuits.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Examining these lawsuits further reveals two central allegations. First, there exists a tangible link between AFFF and serious medical conditions, notably cancer. Second, the manufacturers were allegedly aware of the health risks associated with their products.

Despite this knowledge, they continued to produce and sell AFFF, thereby placing countless firefighters and the public at large at significant risk.

As the legal battles unfold, there have been some noteworthy developments. Several AFFF manufacturers like 3M and Dupont have agreed to a global settlement of $10.3 billion, aiming to resolve PFAS contamination and municipal water contamination claims.

Recent rulings in Colorado Springs, including cases related to Peterson Air Force Base and other areas, have favored the plaintiffs, indicating that manufacturers can indeed be held liable for personal injury cases.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) is a fire suppressant specifically designed to handle flammable liquid fires. It works by creating a foam blanket that rapidly covers the flammable liquid, cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply and preventing it from spreading [1].

However, the Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concerns over the environmental impact of AFFF, especially its PFAS content.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are the chemicals causing alarm within the firefighting community. These chemicals posed significant threats and did not break down easily in the environment.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Colorado?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Colorado are primarily the companies that produced the AFFF. These include Buckeye Fire Equipment, DuPont de Nemours, The Chemours Company, and 3M, with the latter facing the most heat in these lawsuits.

3M, in particular, has been at the center of these lawsuits. The company has been sued in Colorado, with a lawsuit against 15 companies for their involvement in the manufacturing and distribution of AFFF.

Amidst the legal tussle, there’s talk about 3M offering a $10 billion settlement to address claims from various towns and cities, including those related to drinking water contamination.

DuPont, despite its claim of not producing or selling the foam, is also facing legal scrutiny, adding more complexity to the situation.

The essence of the lawsuits surrounding firefighting foam is the alarming connection between AFFF and cancer. Firefighting foam is composed of PFAS, chemicals that exhibit extraordinary resistance to heat and chemical reactions, according to a 2023 study by Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics [2].

This stability makes them perfect for firefighting applications, but it also implies that they don’t easily degrade in the environment or within the human body.

When firefighters use AFFF, the PFAS chemicals can seep into the environment and contaminate the groundwater. This contamination can directly expose firefighters and the wider community to these toxic chemicals. Over time, PFAS can accumulate in the body, leading to a range of health issues, including:

  • Several types of cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Immune system dysfunction

It is important to take precautions and minimize exposure to PFAS chemicals to protect both firefighters and the general public.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These chemicals, which include variants like PFOA and PFOS, are extremely stable and resistant to heat and chemical reactions [3].

Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer. – National Library of Medicine.

This stability allows them to withstand high temperatures and remain unreactive, making them ideal for firefighting purposes. However, their resistance to breaking down also means they persist in the environment and the human body.

Once PFAS chemicals enter the body, they do not break down easily. This persistence means that they can accumulate over time, leading to long-term exposure. This chronic exposure to PFAS has been linked to a host of health issues, including:

  • Cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Decreased fertility
  • Developmental delays in children

It is important to limit exposure to PFAS chemicals to protect public health.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Exposure to firefighting foam PFAS has been linked to several serious health conditions. Among the most alarming are various types of cancer, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

In addition to cancer, exposure to PFAS can also lead to a range of other health issues. These include:

  • Neurological symptoms
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin irritation
  • Gastrointestinal issues

The wide range of potential health impacts underscores the severity of the risks associated with aqueous film-forming foam, commonly used as firefighting foam; exposure to chemicals poses significant threats to both human health and the environment.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Colorado?

Individuals who have been exposed to AFFF and subsequently developed specific types of cancer qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Colorado. The qualifying cancers include:

However, merely being diagnosed with one of these cancers is not sufficient to qualify for the lawsuit. Individuals must also provide evidence linking their cancer diagnosis to exposure to AFFF. The timeline for cancer development after exposure can vary, and as such, each case is evaluated individually.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by first initiating a process of evidence collection. This involves gathering medical records that establish a connection between the cancer diagnosis and PFAS exposure, compiling details of your firefighting history, and obtaining proof of AFFF exposure.

Once the evidence is gathered, it is recommended to seek the advice of a lawyer who has expertise in handling such cases.

Finally, a complaint against the responsible parties is filed, followed by a legal process that may include discovery, settlement discussions, and possibly a trial. While the legal process may seem daunting, it’s worth noting that several AFFF lawsuits have reached successful conclusions.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Colorado

Settlement amounts in firefighting foam cancer lawsuits vary significantly, typically ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 in the top tier, with an average settlement amount hovering around $300,000 in the top settlement category.

The total settlement amount awarded to an individual depends on several factors, including medical expenses, the severity of injuries or damages, and specific details of the type of cancer. For instance, AFFF kidney cancer cases can lead to some of the highest settlement amounts, typically ranging from $275,000 to $650,000.

The highest settlement amount ever awarded in an AFFF-related cancer lawsuit in Colorado is $1.185 billion, highlighting the severity of these cases.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Colorado

In Colorado, victims of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits could be eligible for compensation in various forms, such as settlement payouts, medical bill assistance, and lost wages compensation.

The average compensation amount for people living with firefighting foam cancer in Colorado typically ranges from $40,000 to $300,000. However, these figures are only averages, and individual compensation amounts can vary significantly depending on the specifics of each case.

Filing a Colorado Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer associated with AFFF exposure, you may be considering filing a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit in Colorado.

The first step in this process is gathering evidence. This includes medical records proving the cancer is linked to PFAS exposure, details of your firefighting history, and evidence of AFFF exposure.

Once you have gathered the necessary evidence, it is crucial to consult with a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. A firefighter foam lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, ensure you meet all filing deadlines, and correctly evaluate your case in the context of PFAS exposure.

Types of Evidence To Present

The success of your lawsuit significantly depends on the evidence you present. Crucial pieces of evidence include medical records proving your cancer diagnosis, details of your firefighting history, and any evidence of AFFF exposure.

Your employment history can also play a critical role in your lawsuit. It can provide evidence of potential exposure to AFFF and PFAS on the job, helping establish the link between your occupation and your exposure to these harmful substances.

Colorado Statute of Limitation

In Colorado, personal injury cases, including AFFF lawsuits, are subject to a statute of limitations. Victims typically have 2 to 3 years from the date of their cancer diagnosis to file a lawsuit, depending on the specific circumstances.

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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 From Colorado Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we’re here to provide the support you need during these challenging times. If you or a loved one has suffered from exposure to firefighting foam, reach out to us without delay. Our team is skilled in handling such cases and will walk you through each step of the journey.

It’s crucial to understand your legal rights and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. Rest assured, our consultations are always free, and we only charge if we win your case.

Get in touch with Schmidt & Clark today for a comprehensive review of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your trusted partner in navigating this complex situation.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam/
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/PFAS/AFFF.html

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