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Delaware Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

In the Delaware firefighter foam lawsuit, affected parties are holding manufacturers accountable for the health risks from PFAS in AFFF. This litigation has significant implications for firefighters and exposed residents. This article covers crucial lawsuit updates, the science behind the claims, and legal rights for those impacted.

If you or a loved one has experienced harm due to exposure to firefighting foam, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is prepared to assist. Recognized for our proficiency in advocating for plaintiffs, our primary commitment is to ensure that you secure the justice and fair compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Delaware has initiated a lawsuit against 14 companies, such as 3M, for their involvement in producing and distributing PFAS-infused firefighting foam, potentially hazardous chemicals. This significant litigation underscores the grave concerns around the use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) in firefighting.

The correlation between cancer risk and PFAS present in firefighting foam is a primary instigator of these lawsuits. These are not baseless claims; the connection between AFFF and cancer has scientific backing, paving the way for victims to seek justice.

Key Points from Lawsuits

The firefighting foam lawsuits claim that AFFF manufacturers fell short in numerous aspects, including:

  • Product design
  • Manufacturing
  • Sales
  • Failing to guarantee product safety

PFAS contamination in places as critical as Dover Air Force Base leads to potential health risks for those exposed and the need to restore impacted natural resources, which is essential for the well-being of the environment and the community.

Apart from the tangible harm caused by PFAS contamination, the lawsuits also highlight a critical issue – the lack of adequate warnings about the dangers of AFFF and PFAS exposure. The manufacturers, it seems, chose to prioritize profits over safety, leaving consumers and the environment to bear the brunt of their negligence.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF is an acronym for aqueous film-forming foam, and it is a vital tool in firefighting. It’s used to extinguish high-hazard flammable liquid fires, a task it performs remarkably well, according to a 2023 study by the Department of Environmental Conservation [1]. The foam forms a film over the fuel, preventing flammable vapors from escaping, and the surfactants help spread the foam to cool and suppress the fire effectively.

However, beneath its fire-fighting prowess lies a dark side. AFFF contains PFAS chemicals, known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their resistance to natural degradation. These chemicals are not only harmful to health but also to the environment, making PFAS contamination a significant concern.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Delaware?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Delaware include industry giants such as the 3M Company, along with several chemical companies known for their supply of AFFF to fire departments, military bases, and airports, including New Castle County Airport.

Interestingly, while the U.S. military has been implicated in significant environmental contamination due to AFFF use, they have not been named as a defendant in Delaware’s AFFF lawsuits. Instead, the focus is on the manufacturers, with local fire departments among those named as defendants.

Scientific research suggests a chilling link between firefighting foam and cancer. Regular or prolonged exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam has been associated with an increased risk of various types of cancer [2].

The resistance of PFAS to natural degradation processes means that these ‘forever chemicals’ can persist in the environment and the human body, causing potential health risks.

From bladder to breast, colorectal to kidney, leukemia to liver, lung to lymphoma, and even multiple types of cancer – the list is long and alarming. The issue isn’t confined to a single type of cancer, making it a matter of broader public health concern.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS, specifically in fluorinated foams. These PFAS chemicals, while contributing to the foam’s firefighting effectiveness, are potentially toxic and harmful to human health and the environment [3].

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. The working group classified perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) for the first time in 2023 as a possible human carcinogen. – National Cancer Institute.

The use of PFAS in firefighting foam isn’t an accident. These chemicals create a film over fuel that prevents flammable vapors from escaping and serve as surfactants that help spread the foam to cool and suppress the fire effectively.

However, the same properties that make PFAS effective in firefighting foam also make them resistant to natural degradation, leading to potential contamination of several Delaware water utilities and other environmental risks.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam isn’t just linked to cancer. It’s associated with a range of health issues, affecting various systems in the human body. Some of the health issues linked to PFAS exposure include:

The scope of injuries linked to PFAS exposure is wide and concerning.

Even the hormone system isn’t spared. Excessive exposure to PFAS can disrupt thyroid function, leading to thyroid disease. The breadth of potential health issues underscores the seriousness of the situation and the urgency of addressing it.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Delaware?

Individuals who have been exposed to AFFF and subsequently developed related health complications qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Delaware. This includes firefighters, police officers, and others who have been regularly exposed to AFFF foam.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer due to AFFF exposure, you may be eligible to file one of the AFFF cancer lawsuits in Delaware. One thing to note is that a direct link between AFFF exposure and the cancer diagnosis is necessary to qualify for a lawsuit.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by grouping individual cases into multi-district litigation (MDL), a federal legal procedure designed to manage complex cases with common factual questions. By consolidating these cases across various districts under one judge, MDL facilitates a more streamlined and coordinated legal process.

By combining similar cases before one judge, MDL encourages attorneys to work together more effectively and eases the load on federal district courts. This makes the legal process more convenient and efficient for everyone involved and, importantly, for the victims seeking justice.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Delaware

Settlement amounts in Delaware’s firefighting foam cancer lawsuits show considerable variation. They can range from $40,000 to $300,000, and some big settlements have even reached $50 million.

For instance, DuPont, Chemour, and Corteva recently reached a $50 million settlement with the State of Delaware regarding PFAS water pollution.

The exact settlement amount depends on the specifics of each case. Factors that come into play include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Type and extent of PFAS-related cancer or other diagnoses
  • Other case-specific factors are the strength of the case and the contributions of the defendants.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Delaware

Those affected in Delaware’s firefighting foam lawsuits may be granted compensation for a range of damages sustained. This can include medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. With the increasing number of firefighting foam lawsuits, victims must seek legal advice and understand their rights.

The exact compensation is determined by considering factors like:

Importantly, compensation for emotional distress is also considered, recognizing the psychological toll these health issues can take.

Filing a Delaware Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit in Delaware, it’s crucial to meticulously collect and present compelling evidence of AFFF exposure and ensuing health issues.

This can be a challenging and complex process, but experienced firefighting foam lawyers can guide victims through it, from gathering evidence to understanding the statute of limitations.

Types of Evidence To Present

Typically, the evidence presented in AFFF lawsuits encompasses:

  • Medical records
  • Career history in firefighting
  • Records of AFFF exposure
  • Medical documentation outlining the resultant health complications

This evidence helps to establish a clear link between AFFF exposure and the health complications suffered by the victim.

Your employment history can also serve as critical evidence, especially if you were a firefighter or worked in a job that involved regular exposure to AFFF. This can help to demonstrate that you were indeed exposed to PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam.

Delaware Statute of Limitation

For personal injury claims in Delaware, there is a two-year statute of limitations. This means victims have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a lawsuit. However, the discovery rule can extend this timeframe if the injury is not immediately known.

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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 Delaware Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is available to assist during challenging times. If you or a family member has suffered injuries due to exposure to firefighting foam, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is well-versed in handling such cases and will navigate you through every step of the process.

It is crucial to comprehend your legal rights and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. Our consultations are complimentary, and you will not incur any fees unless we achieve a positive outcome in your case.

Contact Schmidt & Clark today for a comprehensive assessment of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your steadfast ally in navigating this complex situation.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10698640/
  3. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/PFAS/AFFF.html

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