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Florida Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

If you’re a firefighter in Florida grappling with the consequences of using AFFF, you may seek to understand your position within the Florida firefighter foam lawsuit.

This article outlines the current lawsuit status, details on who’s eligible, the alleged dangers of AFFF, and what compensation could look like for you. Cut through the complexity with clear, actionable insights.

If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by firefighting foam, the legal team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands ready to support you.

With a notable reputation for representing plaintiffs, we are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the justice and fair compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Justice, not a fire, is what causes alarm bells to ring this time. Florida’s firefighters, once unknowingly exposed to the toxic AFFF foam, are now filing lawsuits against the manufacturers. The firefighting foam lawsuit is a fight against a silent enemy that has caused unspeakable harm to our bravest.

The firefighting foam cancer lawsuits are not isolated cases. They are part of an alarming trend. Over 6,400 lawsuits have been filed in the AFFF firefighting foam MDL, including many from Florida, and these numbers are expected to rise.

There’s a valid reason behind the surge of these lawsuits. AFFF was once seen as a miracle foam, suppressing fires swiftly and saving countless lives. Little did the firefighters know that while they were protecting us, they were being exposed to a silent, toxic threat.

The growing number of AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits is a testament to their resolve and their demand for justice.

Key Points from Lawsuit

Keeping abreast of the latest developments is vital as AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits continue to gain momentum. These lawsuits have seen several key milestones.

For instance, a fairness hearing for the $1.18 billion DuPont settlement in the AFFF multidistrict litigation was scheduled for December 14, 2023. This fairness hearing signifies a significant move towards justice for the affected firefighters.

However, the path toward justice is filled with obstacles. The first bellwether trial in the AFFF multidistrict litigation, which was set for June 2023, was indefinitely delayed due to a potential global settlement with defendants like 3M.

Despite such setbacks, the drive for justice remains undeterred, with the total number of pending AFFF cases in the MDL reported as 6,715. This number is a stark reminder of the widespread impact of AFFF exposure and the urgent need for justice.

Legal Actions in Florida

The battle against AFFF exposure in Florida is being fought on several fronts. As of January 2024, there were 6,715 pending cases in the AFFF firefighting foam class action MDL, with an increase in cases observed over the months. This surge in cases bears witness to the rising awareness and recognition of the dangers posed by AFFF exposure.

The consolidation of AFFF lawsuits into multidistrict litigation (MDL 2873) has had a significant impact on the claims of Florida firefighters.

One of the most significant legal actions in Florida is the City of Stuart’s municipal AFFF lawsuit. This lawsuit was put on hold due to a probable global settlement by the defendants, which has implications for individual firefighter lawsuits in the state.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is a firefighting foam widely used by firefighters to put out liquid fuel fires. It is also known as aqueous film-forming foam [1]. The film-forming foam AFFF creates a barrier that cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply, thereby extinguishing it.

However, this seemingly harmless foam harbors a deadly secret. It contains PFAS chemicals, which are toxic and potentially carcinogenic.

For years, firefighters trusted AFFF to protect them and the communities they serve. They were unaware of the invisible threat lurking within the foam.

Today, as the truth unfolds, firefighters are waging a legal battle against the manufacturers of this toxic foam. They are standing up for their rights and the rights of countless others who may have been unknowingly exposed to the toxic chemicals in AFFF.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Florida?

In the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits, the defendants are the manufacturers of the foam that firefighters trusted for protection, not the flames they confront daily. The major defendants in Florida AFFF lawsuits are:

  • 3M
  • DuPont
  • Tyco
  • Chemguard

The lawsuits against these companies are not just about seeking compensation for the affected firefighters. They are also about holding these manufacturers accountable for their actions and ensuring that such negligence does not happen again.

While the defendants in the AFFF lawsuits are powerful corporations, the resolve of the firefighters and their pursuit of justice is even more potent.

According to the National Cancer Association, the link between firefighting foam and cancer is more than just speculation now. It is a grim reality supported by increasingly compelling evidence. Studies have shown that exposure to PFAS chemicals in AFFF can lead to a higher risk of developing various types of cancer, including kidney and testicular cancer [2].

The health risks associated with AFFF are not limited to firefighters. Military personnel, airport workers, emergency responders, and even residents living near contaminated areas are also at risk. This widespread risk underscores the urgent need for action against the manufacturers of toxic firefighting foam.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

As stated by the Department of Natural Resources, Firefighting foam does contain PFAS [3]. PFAS, a group of artificial chemicals in use since the 1940s, is a key component of AFFF. PFAS are resistant to heat, water, and oil, making them ideal for use in products like firefighting foam.

However, this resistance also means that PFAS don’t break down in the environment or the human body, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” Exposure to PFAS can lead to severe health problems, including:

Despite knowing this, manufacturers continued to use PFAS in AFFF, leading to the current health crisis faced by firefighters and others exposed to the foam.

There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam can lead to a variety of health problems.

These health issues can have devastating effects on the lives of the affected individuals and their families. They can lead to long-term health complications, loss of income, and significant medical expenses.

This is why it’s crucial for those affected by PFAS exposure to seek legal help from experienced firefighting foam lawyers and file lawsuits against the manufacturers of toxic firefighting foam.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Florida?

Individuals who have come into contact with AFFF and have later been diagnosed with specific cancers or other serious illnesses qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Florida.

This eligibility extends beyond firefighters and includes U.S. military service members who have served post-1960, airport workers, emergency responders, and residents living near areas where AFFF contamination has occurred.

To establish eligibility for the lawsuit, individuals must present evidence such as employment records indicating AFFF exposure and medical records depicting the diagnosis and treatment of related health conditions. The process can be complex, which is why it’s crucial to seek legal assistance.

Moreover, there are various factors, including the location of injury and discovery date, that determine the filing deadline for an AFFF lawsuit. Hence, affected individuals should promptly consult with an attorney and work with their doctors to discuss compensation claims.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by involving a series of legal actions where plaintiffs seek to hold manufacturers accountable for the harm caused by exposure to AFFF. The process typically begins with the filing of a complaint, where the plaintiff’s legal team presents evidence linking the exposure to AFFF to their medical condition.

The lawsuit may involve discovery, where both parties exchange information relevant to the case and may include depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. Expert witnesses may be called upon to provide testimony about the toxicity of AFFF and the health implications of exposure.

If the case does not settle out of court, it may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome. Throughout this process, the expertise of a dedicated legal team is crucial as they strive to secure maximum compensation by taking into account the severity of the injury and the degree of exposure.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Florida

The settlement amounts in AFFF lawsuits, determined by a tiered ranking system, vary significantly. This system accounts for the strength of the plaintiff’s case and the severity of their cancer diagnosis.

For instance, plaintiffs with long-term occupational exposure to AFFF and more serious cancer diagnoses may be allocated to the top settlement tier, potentially receiving average amounts between $300,000 to $600,000.

However, it’s important to understand that these projected settlement amounts are mere predictions and do not guarantee future AFFF settlement ranges for individual claims.

Actual compensation will depend on various case-specific factors. The outcomes of bellwether trials and the progress toward settlements are critical factors in determining the timeline and amount for AFFF lawsuit settlements.

Despite the complexity of the process, the potential for significant payouts in individual lawsuits is real. Large-scale settlements, such as the $10.3 billion agreement to resolve municipality cases, indicate the potential for substantial payouts in individual lawsuits.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Florida

Florida victims of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits can pursue compensation for a variety of damages. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by illnesses linked to AFFF exposure. The amount of compensation awarded will depend on the severity of the health condition, the strength of the case, and various other factors.

For instance, plaintiffs with more severe cancer diagnoses and stronger cases may receive higher compensation. While compensation can never truly make up for the pain and suffering caused by exposure to toxic firefighting foam, it can help alleviate financial burdens and provide some form of justice for the victims.

Compensation for Florida AFFF lawsuits can come through either out-of-court settlements or court verdicts. In either case, the compensation awarded will be a step towards justice for the affected individuals, holding the manufacturers accountable for their actions and preventing further harm from AF exposure.

Filing a Florida Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

If you’re a Florida firefighter exposed to AFFF, seeking legal assistance promptly is vital. Experienced attorneys specializing in toxic exposure cases can help you navigate the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

To file an AFFF lawsuit, it’s important to remember that the legal process can be complex and time-consuming, but with the right legal assistance, you can navigate it successfully.

Upon diagnosis, firefighters must:

  • Inform their employer of their condition, especially if it affects job performance
  • Discuss options for disability benefits and maintaining health insurance coverage during treatment
  • Communicate with health insurance providers to understand coverage details for treatments and financial responsibilities such as copays and deductibles.

Types of Evidence To Present

The evidence presented when filing an AFFF lawsuit can significantly determine the success of your case. This evidence can include employment records indicating AFFF exposure and medical records depicting the diagnosis and treatment of related health conditions.

Remember that gathering the right evidence is crucial to establishing the link between your condition and AFFF exposure. This is where an experienced legal team can be invaluable. They can guide you through the process, helping you gather the necessary documentation and build a strong case.

Florida Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitations sets the time limit for filing a lawsuit. In Florida, this time limit is typically four years from the date of injury or two years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.

These timeframes can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, including the location of injury and discovery date.

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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 Florida Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

The legal professionals at Schmidt & Clark, LLP are at your side during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, reach out to us without delay. Our team of firefighting foam attorneys is adept at handling such cases and will steer you through each step of the legal journey.

It’s essential to grasp your legal entitlements and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. Our initial consultations are complimentary, and we operate on a contingency basis, meaning you incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement in your case.

Enlist the help of Schmidt & Clark for a comprehensive review of your firefighting foam case. Allow us to be your steadfast partner in this complex ordeal.

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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