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New Mexico Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

If you’re navigating the complexities of the New Mexico firefighter foam lawsuit, let this article serve as your guide through the legal labyrinth. Here, you’ll find essential updates on the burgeoning number of claims against AFFF manufacturers, driven by the alarming cancer risks associated with PFAS exposure.

This litigation has particularly resonated in New Mexico, where the repercussions of PFAS contamination have been felt deeply within the community.

If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to firefighting foam, the law firm of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands ready to support you. Recognized for our proficiency in championing the rights of plaintiffs, our primary focus is to ensure that you receive the justice and financial restitution to which you are entitled.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Firefighters, military personnel, and airport staff, including those at Cannon Air Force Base and Holloman Air Force Base, are taking legal action against manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF).

With over 950 pending claims in the U.S. District Court’s Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) – 2873, firefighting foam lawsuits are snowballing, including the afff lawsuit.

These lawsuits primarily allege that manufacturers did not adequately warn users about the cancer risks associated with the PFAS chemicals in AFFF.

Key Points from Lawsuits

The lawsuits argue that AFFF manufacturers acted negligently in the design, manufacture, and sale of AFFF and failed to alert users of the associated health risks. They allege that manufacturers contaminated drinking water with harmful chemicals, causing severe health implications.

A noteworthy lawsuit in this wave of litigation is against the 3M company, which agreed to a $55 million settlement. This case, filed by the city water authority and other defendants, was primarily for property damage claims.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is a fire suppressant designed to combat flammable liquid fires. It creates a foam blanket with a thin aqueous film that rapidly spreads over the fuel, smothering the fire, cutting off its oxygen supply, and suppressing flammable liquid vapor [1].

But this life-saving foam contains PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which are extremely toxic and linked to various health conditions.

Even with the known health risks, AFFF remains in use due to its remarkable fire-extinguishing efficiency. This continued usage has led to the exposure of many to this harmful substance, especially within the U.S. military.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in New Mexico?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in New Mexico include 3M, DuPont, Chemours, Tyco Fire Protection Products, and Kidde-Fenwal, who are all facing legal action for their role in this health crisis at Holloman Air Force Base.

Despite allegedly being aware of the ‘forever chemicals’ in their products and their potential harm to human health, these companies continued to produce and sell them without sufficient warnings.

This has resulted in substantial contamination of New Mexico’s natural resources, raising concerns for both the Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department.

According to the Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, research conducted by various agencies, including the EPA, CDC, IARC, and the American Cancer Society, has established a link between firefighting foam and certain types of cancer [2].

The PFAS chemicals in AFFF are toxic and can accumulate in the body, leading to an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly kidney and testicular cancers.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

As claimed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. PFAS, used in certain synthetic Class B firefighting foams, helps in spreading the foam as surfactants, effectively smothering fires involving flammable liquids [3].

The risk of health effects associated with PFAS depends on exposure factors, individual factors, and other determinants of health – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

PFAS chemicals have been used in AFFF since the 1970s, leading to PFAS contamination. These substances persist in the environment and the human body for an extended period, causing severe health risks, including cancer.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Exposure to PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam has been linked to several illnesses, notably including certain types of cancer. The most commonly linked cancers are testicular and kidney cancer, with studies showing increased risk rates among individuals exposed to AFFF.

Furthermore, an analysis of over 1000 Air Force service members exposed to AFFF found an elevated risk of testicular cancer. Other studies have found a significant association between exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam and the development of prostate cancer.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in New Mexico?

Individuals who present reliable evidence of exposure to firefighting foam containing PFAS and a subsequent diagnosis of a related illness or injury, such as cancer, qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in New Mexico.

Family members of those who lost their lives to AFFF-related cancers can also file a lawsuit on their behalf. It’s crucial to present proof of regular exposure to AFFF anytime after 1960 to be eligible for these lawsuits.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by being grouped into multidistrict litigation (MDL) to streamline the legal process and enhance efficiency. The MDL-2873, which houses all AFFF lawsuits, has collected around five hundred Aqueous Film-Forming Foam cases into one federal court for pretrial proceedings.

The stages involved in an AFFF MDL lawsuit include filing the suit, the discovery process, trial proceedings, and post-trial proceedings. The cases are divided into different groups based on the type of exposure, such as contaminated municipal water supplies and occupational exposure cases like firefighters.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in New Mexico

Settlement amounts for AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits in New Mexico depend on a tiered ranking system. Lawsuits classified as Tier 1, being the strongest, are usually awarded the highest settlement amounts.

Factors influencing the settlement amount include:

  • The strength of the evidence
  • Number of plaintiffs
  • Degree of defendants’ responsibility.
  • Other considerations

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in New Mexico

Victims in firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in New Mexico are eligible for compensation from a $1.185 billion settlement fund. The exact amount awarded varies based on the defendant’s liability.

Compensation for cancer-related injuries may cover:

  • Medical expenses related to cancer treatment
  • Lost income due to illness
  • Long-term disability
  • Pain and suffering

Insurance companies in New Mexico typically use either the multiplier method or the per diem method to calculate pain and suffering.

Filing a New Mexico Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

Victims seeking to file a New Mexico firefighting foam cancer lawsuit must:

  • Provide substantial evidence of exposure to AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam)
  • Provide evidence of a subsequent cancer diagnosis
  • Comply with the state’s statute of limitations

Types of Evidence To Present

The evidence required for filing a lawsuit includes medical records reflecting AFFF-related injuries or illnesses, particularly cancer diagnoses. It’s also essential to include any relevant military medical records.

The plaintiff’s employment history is another crucial piece of evidence demonstrating the length and nature of AF exposure. To obtain accurate records, background checks may be required, and firefighters may need to reach out to the New Mexico Law Enforcement Records Bureau.

New Mexico Statute of Limitation

In New Mexico, the typical statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or product liability lawsuit is three years from the date of the incident. This duration can vary depending on factors such as the plaintiff’s age or disability, the defendant’s location, and the nature of the offense.

Furthermore, the discovery rule in New Mexico stipulates a three-year statute of limitations from the date of harm, irrespective of when the injury was discovered. For cancer cases and other harm from medical malpractice, the limit is four years from discovery.

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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 New Mexico Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we stand ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to AFFF exposure, we encourage you to reach out to us. Our seasoned professionals are adept at handling such cases and will provide comprehensive guidance at every step.

It’s crucial to grasp your legal options and determine your eligibility for a claim related to firefighting foam injuries. We offer no-cost consultations, ensuring that you incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf.

For a detailed assessment of your firefighting foam-related case, connect with Schmidt & Clark.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html

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