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Montana 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 Montana firefighter facing cancer potentially caused by AFFF exposure, the Montana firefighter foam lawsuit may provide a path to compensation.

This article breaks down eligibility criteria, potential legal outcomes, and steps to join the litigation aimed at holding manufacturers accountable for the hidden dangers of firefighting foams.

If you or a loved one has been affected by occupational exposure to firefighting foams, Schmidt & Clark LLP stands prepared to support you. Recognized for our proficiency in client representation, our primary goal is to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you are rightfully entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

AFFF lawsuits in Montana represent a fight for justice by people living with cancer, who argue that their health problems are a direct result of exposure to AFFF during their work as firefighters or military personnel.

These lawsuits form a larger pattern of ongoing personal injury cases across the country, aiming to hold AFFF manufacturers responsible for the health risks tied to their products.

The lawsuits claim that despite knowing about the health risks of film-forming foam AFFF, the companies persisted in their marketing efforts toward the airport and military firefighters without providing sufficient warnings.

Key Points from Lawsuits

These firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in Montana have brought to light several critical issues regarding AFFF and the companies behind its production. The pivotal points of these legal actions include evidence indicating that manufacturers knew about the carcinogenic risks associated with AFFF but failed to inform or protect users adequately.

The lawsuits further emphasize the companies’ alleged negligence and the lack of transparency in disclosing the health hazards of their products. As a result, these corporations are now facing legal repercussions for their oversight in safeguarding the health and safety of those who used AFFF in life-saving operations.

Numerous AFFF lawsuits have been filed, with many yielding substantial settlements for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some cases have even been consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL), allowing for a more streamlined legal process with the help of firefighting foam lawyers.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is an acronym for Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a specialized firefighting foam designed to suppress high-intensity fires such as those involving jet fuel [1]. It is particularly valued by airport and military firefighters due to its efficacy in extinguishing fuel fires quickly.

It’s commonly used by airport and military firefighters, given its effectiveness in quickly suppressing fuel fires. But the same foam that’s cherished for its firefighting properties is now under scrutiny for its potential health risks.

Shortly after AFFF became the industry standard in 1969, Navy and 3M scientists warned about the foam’s risks to human health. This marked the beginning of awareness about the dangers posed by AFFF use.

Regrettably, such warnings were brushed aside, culminating in extensive exposure among firefighters and military personnel not just in Montana but also in other regions. Today, exposure to AFFF has been linked to several types of cancer, sparking a wave of AFFF cancer lawsuits.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Montana?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Montana are major manufacturers of AFFF, including Buckeye Fire Production, Tyco Fire Products, 3M, and Chemours. These companies are accused of negligence and failing to warn users about the health risks associated with their products.

A notable case that set a precedent involved a $55 million settlement against 3M over PFAS contamination. This landmark case has inspired further legal action against AFFF manufacturers.

The AFFF class action multi-district litigation (MDL) includes a significant number of Montana-related cases, reflecting the evolving public demand for accountability from AFFF manufacturers.

According to the National Institute of Health, studies have found a worrying link between AFFF exposure and an increased risk of several types of cancer, including kidney, testicular, and prostate cancer. This link is attributed to the presence of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam [2].

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.

These chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment and the human body, have been classified as potentially carcinogenic.

Hence, firefighters who face regular exposure to AFFF in their line of duty stand at an elevated risk of having developed cancer, particularly these types of cancers. The risk is even higher for airport and military firefighters who frequently deal with jet fuel and other high-intensity fires.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the National Cancer Institute, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These chemicals, known for their heat resistance and ability to repel oil and water, are what make AFFF so effective in extinguishing fires [3]. Nonetheless, these very properties result in PFAS remaining extremely persistent in the environment and the human body, giving rise to potential health risks.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified PFAS as “emerging contaminants,” indicating that their potential health and environmental impacts are still being understood.

However, what is clear is that these chemicals are linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including an increased risk of cancer. This has been the driving force behind the wave of AFFF cancer lawsuits in Montana and across the nation.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Exposure to firefighting foam PFAS has been linked to a variety of health issues. These include various types of cancers, immune suppression, and liver and kidney dysfunction. The risk depends on the type, concentration, and duration of exposure. For firefighters who are regularly exposed to these chemicals, the risk is significantly higher.

Testicular cancer and kidney cancer are the most commonly reported health issues linked to exposure to firefighting foam PFAS. However, other health issues such as thyroid disease, immune suppression, and liver and kidney dysfunction have also been reported. With such a wide range of potential health risks, it’s no wonder that there’s been a surge in AFFF cancer lawsuits.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Montana?

A Montana resident who has been exposed to AFFF in their line of work and has since been diagnosed with a qualifying type of cancer qualifies for the AFFF lawsuit in Montana. The qualifying cancers include:

It’s important to note that while the statute of limitations varies, most individuals with AFFF-linked cancer diagnoses are likely within the time frame to claim. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with legal counsel promptly for timely action.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by joining MDL proceedings in Montana, where individual cases are consolidated for pre-trial processes to increase efficiency and streamline resolutions. This approach means that while each lawsuit maintains its unique circumstances, they share a pre-trial phase to avoid repetitive discovery and conflicting court decisions.

Within the MDL, bellwether trials serve as test cases, helping gauge jury responses and guiding settlement discussions for the rest. Montana plaintiffs must work with lawyers skilled in MDL proceedings to ensure their claims are represented effectively within this complex litigation format.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Montana

While settlement amounts in AFFF lawsuits can vary, the benchmark for potential compensation is set by a precedent-setting $55 million settlement with 3M. This settlement was reached in a case involving PFAS contamination, which has been instrumental in inspiring further legal action against AFFF manufacturers.

Another notable settlement is the $10.3 billion payout by defendants such as 3M and DuPont to resolve substantial AFFF water contamination claims involving local water authorities and municipalities, including those in Montana. These settlements demonstrate the potential for significant compensation for victims of AFFF-related cancers.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Montana

Victims of AFFF-related cancers can seek various forms of compensation, including:

  • Compensation for lost income
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of consortium
  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering caused by AFFF-related health conditions

The amount of compensation can be determined through negotiated settlements or by proceeding to trial and obtaining a verdict. It’s worth noting that most law firms handling AFFF lawsuits operate on a contingency basis.

This means that they only charge legal fees if they win compensation for their clients. This can be a significant advantage for victims, as it allows them to pursue their claims without worrying about upfront legal costs.

Filing a Montana Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

If you’re contemplating filing an AFFF lawsuit in Montana, choosing a competent lawyer with a proven track record in handling such cases is essential. A good lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process, including proving negligence and failure to warn by the manufacturers.

Once you’ve selected your lawyer, you’ll need to present evidence to support your claim. This can include medical records, employment history, and documentation of AFFF exposure.

Types of Evidence To Present

The evidence you put forth in your lawsuit can determine the strength of your case. Therefore, it’s important to gather all relevant evidence to strengthen your claim. This can include:

  • Medical records that confirm your cancer diagnosis
  • Employment records that show your history of exposure to AFFF
  • Any other documentation that can support your claim

It’s also a good idea to gather any internal documents from the AFFF manufacturers, such as memos, emails, and studies, that may prove they were aware of the health risks associated with their products but failed to warn users. Your lawyer can assist you in gathering and presenting this evidence in the most compelling way possible.

Montana Statute of Limitation

In Montana, the statute of limitations for filing an AFFF lawsuit is generally 2-3 years from the date of injury. This implies that your lawsuit should be filed within this timeframe to qualify for compensation. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Montana’s discovery rule may extend this deadline, allowing plaintiffs to file once they become aware of both the injury and its connection to the defendant’s negligence.

This means that if you were diagnosed with cancer years after your exposure to AFFF, you may still be eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit. It’s important to consult with a lawyer to understand how these rules apply to your specific situation.

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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 Montana Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we stand ready to assist you during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, reach out to our team of AFFF lawyers without delay. With our extensive experience in these cases, we will support and guide you at every step.

It’s crucial to be informed about your legal options and to determine your eligibility for an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations, and you will incur no fees unless we secure a favorable resolution in your case.

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark for a comprehensive assessment of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your trusted partner as you face these complex legal challenges.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10698640/
  3. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas

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