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Kentucky Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

Kentucky firefighters are taking legal action against AFFF manufacturers due to cancer-causing PFAS exposure. If you’re seeking to understand if you’re eligible for the lawsuit or what steps to take next, this article provides key insights into the Kentucky firefighter foam lawsuit proceedings, eligibility criteria, and potential avenues for compensation.

If you or a loved one has been affected by firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark LLP stands prepared to support you. With a reputation for excellence in plaintiff representation, our primary goal is to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you are rightfully owed.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

The Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) has been a trusted ally of firefighters for decades, especially in extinguishing jet fuel fires. However, a dark truth has emerged from the shadows.

The firefighting foam, once hailed for its efficiency in AFFF firefighting foam applications, is now at the center of numerous firefighting foam lawsuits, casting a long shadow over its past accolades.

These lawsuits, which have been springing up across the United States, and Kentucky in particular, aim to hold manufacturers of AFFF accountable for the health risks posed by these products.

The lawsuits comprise a mix of individual personal injury cases and municipal water contamination cases, with a common thread linking them – the dangerous exposure to a toxic cocktail of chemicals.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Several key points have emerged from the AFFF lawsuits. One such point is the creation of the Initial Personal Injury Bellwether Discovery Pool on December 12, 2023. This pool consists of 25 plaintiffs who have allegedly developed cancers and diseases from exposure to AFFF.

This development marks a significant milestone in the litigation progress, as it sets the stage for potential future trials.

Alongside the formation of the Bellwether Discovery Pool, the volume of lawsuits filed has significantly risen. As of January 15, 2024, a total of 6,715 cases were pending, demonstrating the growing awareness and concern surrounding AFFF exposure.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is commonly known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam, and it has been used by Kentucky firefighters and the U.S [1]. Navy since the 1960s to combat fuel fires. Over the years, AFFF has become a required firefighting agent on all vessels and at military installations.

However, AFFF incorporates per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—termed ‘forever chemicals’ for their enduring environmental presence. These PFAS resist degradation, posing a profound risk to both the environment and firefighters’ health.

Despite mounting evidence of associated risks, toxic PFAS-containing firefighting foam continues to be used, leading to ongoing exposure.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Kentucky?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Kentucky primarily include companies like 3M and DuPont, which are the manufacturers of AFFF products. These companies stand accused of knowingly selling products that contain harmful PFAS chemicals.

In addition to 3M and DuPont, other manufacturers such as Chemours, Buckeye Fire Production, and Tyco Fire Products are also listed as defendants. All these companies have been accused of contributing to PFAS contamination through the use of AFFF, thereby endangering the health of countless firefighters and other individuals.

As stated by the National Cancer Institute, the link between toxic firefighting foam and cancer isn’t merely speculative; it’s a fact substantiated by extensive scientific studies. Studies have shown a significant link between PFAS chemicals present in AFFF and increased rates of various types of cancer in both volunteer and career firefighters [2].

This link is of particular concern as firefighters are routinely exposed to AFFF in their line of work, amplifying their risk of developing cancer. The gravity of this issue is further underscored by the fact that volunteer firefighters, who are often on call, face an accumulation of PFAS-related health risks over the years.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the Department of Natural Resources, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. The PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foam are a significant concern due to their harmful effects on health and the environment [3].

Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer. PFAS is one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to as occupational hazards. – National Library of Medicine.

PFAS, often referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ are highly resilient and resist degradation, thus posing a persistent risk. This longevity means that once firefighters are exposed to these toxic chemicals, they remain in the environment and the human body for a long time, potentially leading to various health issues.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

The range of health issues linked to PFAS exposure is extensive, with cancer being a primary concern. The specific types of cancer associated with PFAS exposure due to AFFF use include:

Notably, volunteer firefighters, comprising approximately 67% of the firefighting force, face a heightened risk for these cancers, attributed to their prolonged exposure to PFAS from fire suppression foams and protective gear. This makes the issue of PFAS exposure a significant concern for a large portion of the firefighting community.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Kentucky?

Individuals who have developed cancer and can demonstrate exposure to AFFF firefighting foam, including those with prostate cancer, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, or pancreatic cancer, are the ones who may qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Kentucky.

These cancers often develop into cancer cases due to AFFF exposure. Moreover, eligibility is not just limited to firefighters. It can extend to other individuals with regular occupational exposure to AFFF, like military personnel and chemical plant workers.

Verification of PFAS exposure through evidence like medical and employment records or testimony is necessary to qualify for these lawsuits.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by being consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) process, which is a special federal legal procedure that groups pretrial proceedings for cases with similar causation and injury claims related to AFFF.

These proceedings are managed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, where they are carefully examined and processed.

Important steps in this process include gathering evidence, which requires medical records, diagnosis information, employment records attesting to AFFF exposure, and personal or witness testimonies.

Additionally, bellwether trials play a crucial role, where a selection of cases are tried to predict outcomes and establish avenues for negotiating compensation.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Kentucky

A tiered ranking system determines the potential settlement amounts in Kentucky AFFF lawsuits. Higher tiers correspond to more substantial exposure and more severe types of cancer. This system ensures that those who have suffered the most receive the highest compensation.

For instance, top-tier cases involving prolonged exposure and severe health conditions like cancer may result in higher compensation, with some average settlement amounts ranging from $300,000 to $600,000.

This tiered compensation structure aims to deliver justice to victims, acknowledging the varying degrees of suffering and loss they have experienced.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Kentucky

Victims in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:

The compensation sought in these lawsuits is designed to address both immediate and future impacts of exposure, such as permanent disability, future medical care, and therapy costs.

Moreover, plaintiffs may also seek punitive damages, which serve to punish the manufacturers for their negligence and can significantly raise the total amount of settlement awarded to the victims.

Filing a Kentucky Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file an AFFF lawsuit in Kentucky, initiating legal proceedings is a pivotal step toward achieving justice. The first step in this process is selecting a Kentucky firefighter foam attorney with specialized experience in toxic tort, chemical exposure, and personal injury lawsuits, particularly involving AFFF and PFAS exposure related to a firefighting foam lawsuit.

Additionally, it’s vital to opt for a law firm boasting a successful history of procuring financial compensation for clients in comparable lawsuits. Ensure they have a history of securing substantial verdicts and settlements.

Types of Evidence To Present

Certain types of evidence are essential when presenting your case to validate the association between AFFF exposure and your cancer diagnosis. This includes:

  • Medical records that detail your diagnosis and treatment
  • Employment history that verifies your exposure to AFFF
  • Personal testimony that substantiates your claim

This evidence not only strengthens your case but also helps your attorney understand the extent of your exposure and the impact it has had on your health. This can help determine the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive.

Kentucky Statute of Limitation

Understanding the Kentucky statute of limitations is also part of navigating the legal terrain of AFFF lawsuits.

In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to AFFF exposure is one year from the date of injury or discovery of the injury, as per the 2023 legislative provisions.

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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 Kentucky Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

The team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is ready to stand by your side during these trying times. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, reach out to us without delay. Our AFFF lawyers are well-versed in such matters and will accompany you at every step of 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 our policy ensures that you incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf.

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark for a comprehensive assessment of your situation involving firefighting foam. Allow us to be your steadfast partner as you seek justice in these complex circumstances.

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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