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Illinois Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

As a firefighter in Illinois who has worked with Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), it’s crucial to be aware of the ongoing Illinois firefighter foam lawsuit. This legal battle focuses on the health risks posed by the foam’s toxic chemicals, particularly PFAS, known for their link to certain cancers and other serious health issues.

If you have been affected by AFFF exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. This brief overview will cover the key aspects of the Illinois firefighter foam lawsuit, including eligibility, potential compensation, and legal proceedings in Illinois.

If you or a loved one has experienced adverse effects due to firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark LLP stands ready to support you. As a firm with a distinguished record in championing plaintiff rights, our primary commitment is to ensure you receive the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

The battle lines have been drawn in Illinois, where the state accuses AF manufacturers of contaminating water supplies at numerous community sites with toxic PFAS chemicals.

Contaminating the water supplies of no less than 149 community sites with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic chemicals tied to a host of health problems. This firefighting foam lawsuit is about more than just cleaning up the mess; it’s about accountability.

The essence of this legal battle hinges on allegations that companies like 3M and DuPont, despite being aware of the hazards associated with PFAS chemicals, continued to endorse their products as harmless.

A central concern in these claims is the widespread dissemination of PFAS from particular use locations into water sources and natural habitats.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Upon further examination of the lawsuits, several notable points emerge. The alleged negligence of manufacturers in the face of clear evidence of PFAS hazards is a central issue.

The lawsuits assert that manufacturers were aware of the health risks but continued to market their products as safe, leading to widespread contamination and potential public health crises.

Moreover, the contamination has gone beyond specific usage sites to affect water supplies and natural environments. This widespread contamination hints at the magnitude of the problem and the potential health risks to Illinois communities.

The lawsuits seek to hold the manufacturers responsible for their alleged negligence and the resulting environmental damage.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is also known as aqueous film-forming foam, and it is a type of firefighting foam widely used by firefighters and military personnel [1].

It’s incredibly effective at suppressing flammable liquid fires, making it indispensable in many firefighting scenarios, especially when using AFFF firefighting foams.

But the dark side of AFFF lies in its toxic ingredients. Specifically, it contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of human-made chemicals that have been linked to numerous health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Reproductive and developmental issues

These chemicals are persistent in the environment and the human body, earning them the moniker “forever chemicals.”

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Illinois?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Illinois are the heavyweight manufacturers of firefighting foam, including industry behemoths such as 3M and DuPont.

These companies are at the center of legal disputes for distributing the hazardous foam to various sectors, including military and firefighting operations, despite knowing the inherent risks tied to the claims made against the foam.

These manufacturers stand accused of negligence, failing to alert users about potential risks and intentionally misleading them about the safety of their products. The lawsuits accuse them of prioritizing profit over people’s health and safety, leading to widespread contamination and potential health crises.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the accusations leveled against AF manufacturers are grave, given the serious health risks associated with PFAS exposure. Chief among these risks is an increased likelihood of certain types of cancers. Specifically, kidney, prostate, and testicular cancers are most commonly linked to AFFF exposure [2].

But the list of potential health risks doesn’t end there. Yet, the spectrum of health concerns possibly linked to AFFF is even more extensive. Investigations continue into a wider array of cancers, such as kidney and testicular cancer, and the following:

This wide range of eligible conditions indicates the potential harm caused by PFAS exposure from AFFF.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

As stated by the Department of Natural Resources, firefighting foam does contain PFAS, a group of human-made chemicals that have been linked to a host of health problems [3].

These chemicals are persistent, meaning they don’t break down in the environment or the human body, leading to potential long-term health risks.

The presence of toxic firefighting foam is a significant concern. It means that firefighters and military personnel who use these foams are at risk of exposure to these harmful substances, potentially leading to serious health complications, including:

  • Various types of cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Reproductive issues

PFAS is one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to as occupational hazards. Elevated levels of PFAS have been observed in firefighters’ blood serum in recent studies. – National Library of Medicine.

It is crucial to address this issue and find safer alternatives to protect the health and well-being of those who serve and protect our communities.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

The list of potential health problems linked to PFAS exposure from AFFF is long and concerning. At the top of the list are various types of cancer, including testicular and kidney cancers. But that’s not all. Exposure to PFAS can also lead to thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis.

These health problems can range from immediate issues like nausea and headaches to severe long-term health complications, including an increased risk of cancer. The severity of these health risks underscores the potential damage caused by PFAS exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Cancer Society have recognized chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam as human carcinogens, reflecting the increased cancer risks firefighters face from exposure. This recognition from major health organizations further highlights the severity of the issue.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Illinois?

Firefighters in Illinois who have used AFFF in the line of duty and have been diagnosed with a specific type of cancer qualify for the AFFF lawsuits in Illinois. The same applies to military personnel who have used AFFF during their service and have since been diagnosed with cancer.

It’s important to note that each case is unique, and eligibility is determined based on individual circumstances, including the type and severity of the illness, the extent of AFFF exposure, and the timing of the diagnosis.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by first seeking legal counsel. A firefighting foam attorney can assist you in determining potential compensation from AFFF manufacturers, employers, or responsible agencies, covering both economic and non-economic losses.

It’s worth noting that punitive damages may also be pursued in instances of gross negligence or willful misconduct. This means if the manufacturers are found to have knowingly put people at risk, they could be ordered to pay additional compensation as punishment and deterrence.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Illinois

The settlement figures in Illinois AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits can fluctuate widely, hinging on a variety of factors, including:

  • The severity of the cancer diagnosis
  • The cost of medical treatments
  • The impact on the individual’s quality of life
  • The strength of the evidence presented in court.

While it’s impossible to predict the exact settlement amount, previous settlements provide some insights. For instance, 3 M’s $850 million and $10.3 billion settlements for groundwater and environmental PFAS pollution indicate the scale of potential payouts in PFAS-related litigations.

However, it’s crucial to remember that each case is unique, and the settlement amount will depend on the specific circumstances of each lawsuit. An attorney can provide a more accurate estimation based on the details of your case.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Illinois

If you are eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit, you could receive compensation covering a spectrum of damages. This includes:

The compensation is intended to cover both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses refer to the financial costs associated with the illness, such as medical bills and lost income. Non-economic losses, on the other hand, cover intangible damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Filing an Illinois Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

If you meet the eligibility criteria for the AFFF foam lawsuit and choose to pursue legal action, you’ll need to initiate a lawsuit. In Illinois, this involves acting quickly due to varying statutes of limitations. This means you have a limited time from the date of your cancer diagnosis to file a lawsuit.

Before filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to gather essential documentation such as medical records and expert testimony. Your legal counsel will guide you through this process, helping you draft the lawsuit and manage the evidence.

It’s important to remember that the defendants may challenge your lawsuit. They may argue that your health issues are not related to AFFF exposure or that you were not exposed to sufficient levels of PFAS to cause your illness. Having a strong legal team on your side will be crucial in addressing these challenges and building a compelling case.

Types of Evidence To Present

In any lawsuit, evidence is essential. It forms the bedrock of your case and has a significant impact on the result. In an AFFF lawsuit, this can include a variety of documents and testimonies.

Medical records documenting your cancer diagnosis and treatment are crucial. These can provide clear evidence of the health issues you’ve experienced as a result of AFFF exposure.

Expert testimonies from health professionals can also be valuable, as they can help establish the link between your health issues and PFAS exposure. Other documents that can prove your exposure to AFFF, such as work records or witness statements, can also strengthen your case.

Illinois Statute of Limitation

The concept of a statute of limitations is critical in the legal arena, as it establishes a finite window within which a lawsuit must be initiated. In the state of Illinois, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Missing this deadline could result in forfeiting your right to seek compensation. Thus, engaging with a legal advisor promptly is imperative to preserve your opportunity for legal recourse and to navigate the complexities of the statute of limitations.

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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 Illinois Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

The legal experts at Schmidt & Clark, LLP are available to assist you during these pivotal moments. If you or a loved one has suffered harm from firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out to us. Our proficient team of firefighting foam lawyers is well-versed in such legal matters and will guide your legal journey.

It’s crucial to comprehend your rights and determine your eligibility for an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations, and you will incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement in your case.

For a comprehensive assessment of your firefighting foam-related case, get in touch with Schmidt & Clark. Allow us to be your trusted guide during these complex times.

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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