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New York Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

In the face of mounting cancer cases linked to firefighting foam, the New York firefighter foam lawsuit aims to hold manufacturers accountable.

The legal battles center on AFFF’s harmful PFAS chemicals, with plaintiffs, including firefighters and affected community members, seeking compensation for health risks that were not adequately disclosed. This article unpacks the ongoing AFFF litigation, key facts, and what this could mean for the victims involved.

If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to firefighting foam, the team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is on hand to provide support. Recognized for our proficiency in championing plaintiffs’ rights, our foremost commitment is to secure the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

A storm has been brewing in the legal arena, centered around the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) a firefighting foam commonly used to extinguish jet fuel fires.

The firefighting foam lawsuit has gained traction due to the presence of harmful chemicals linked to cancer, with affected individuals seeking compensation for medical expenses and other damages.

Lawsuits claim that manufacturers knew about the health risks related to these chemicals but did not adequately warn the public or take necessary actions to mitigate the risks. As of February 2024, there are over 3,300 plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and in June, over 480 lawsuits were filed into the firefighting foam MDL.

These lawsuits primarily stem from the presence of PFAS (perfluorooctane acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) in firefighting foam. The risk of developing various types of cancer increases with long-term exposure to these chemicals, triggering a wave of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits.

Unlike class action lawsuits, these are individual lawsuits consolidated in an MDL (Multi-District Litigation), a legal procedure specifically designed to simplify the handling of complex cases.

Key Points from Lawsuits

The legal arguments in these lawsuits hinge on a few key points. First, plaintiffs argue that manufacturers, such as DuPont and 3M, knowingly produced and sold products containing PFAS chemicals, which pose a significant health risk.

PFAS chemicals, particularly PFOA, which is associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer, play a significant role in the firefighting foam lawsuits as they are key components of AFFF firefighting foam and are associated with health risks like cancer.

Another cornerstone of these lawsuits is the impact on high-risk occupations. Medical studies cited in lawsuits have specifically highlighted the risks firefighters face due to their occupational exposure to these toxic substances.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF is an acronym for Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a firefighting agent specifically designed to tackle blazes involving flammable liquids, which are categorized as Class B fires [1]. It is a water-based solution that includes:

  • fluorosurfactants (PFASs)
  • hydrocarbon surfactants
  • solvents
  • inorganic salts
  • corrosion inhibitors
  • water

The foam works by forming a barrier over the flammable liquid, effectively smothering the fire by preventing flammable vapors from escaping. However, the toxic chemicals in AFFF, particularly PFOS, and PFOA—also known as ‘forever chemicals’—pose significant health risks.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in New York?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in New York are manufacturers and sellers of firefighting foam, such as DuPont and 3M. These companies stand accused of producing and selling products containing PFAS chemicals, which are believed to have contaminated drinking water sources.

The lawsuits allege that these companies were aware of the risks of PFAS but failed to inform the public or authorities. Evidence presented in the AFFF lawsuits points to past production and distribution of AFFF foam with harmful PFAS by DuPont, 3M, and other companies.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the connection between firefighting foam and developed cancer has drawn significant attention. Research indicates that chronic or regular exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam correlates with an increased risk of developing various types of cancer [2].

Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer – National Library of Medicine

PFAS chemicals, linked to serious health issues such as cancer, hormone disruption, and liver and kidney damage, present a considerable health risk, leading to a wave of firefighter foam lawsuit cases against manufacturers.

In addition to cancer, PFAS exposure has been associated with other health problems, including liver dysfunction and high cholesterol levels. This wide range of potential health consequences underscores the severity of the risks associated with firefighting foam.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, firefighting does contain PFAS chemicals. These artificial chemicals, formally known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been used in a variety of consumer products since the 1940s [3].

These chemicals are used in firefighting foams because they form a barrier over liquid fuel, preventing flammable vapors from escaping.

They have been used for decades in fire protection equipment and are commonly found in Class B firefighting foam, such as AFFF. Concerns about the environmental and health impacts of these chemicals have led to a firefighting foam class action.

However, the presence of PFAS in firefighting foam poses significant health risks. These chemicals can accumulate in the body and may cause cancer, among other health problems.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Firefighters exposed to PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam have been found to experience a range of health issues. These chemicals have been associated with various negative health impacts. These include different types of cancer, such as testicular, kidney, and prostate cancer.

In addition to cancer, PFAS exposure can lead to liver dysfunction and high cholesterol levels. The broad range of potential health issues highlights the severity of the risks associated with PFAS exposure.

Even neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and confusion have been reported among individuals who have been exposed to AFFF for extended periods. This wide range of potential health consequences underscores the seriousness of the risks associated with firefighting foam.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in New York?

Firefighters, military personnel, and those residing near contaminated sites who have been diagnosed with cancer or other serious health conditions linked to PFAS exposure qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in New York.

In the New York legal cases, PFAS exposure has been linked to the following cancers:

The alleged link between AFFF exposure and these serious health conditions forms the basis of the ongoing AFFF class action lawsuit.

To determine if individuals near polluted sites have been exposed to PFAS, health departments and agencies like the New York State Department of Health and ATSDR conduct assessments, which may include blood tests and environmental checks.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by channeling individual claims through the multi-district litigation (MDL) process, which is a sophisticated legal mechanism intended to streamline the handling of complex cases.

This process groups cases that share common factual and legal issues into a single court for pre-trial proceedings, promoting efficiency and uniformity in the handling of discovery, motions, and rulings.

The MDL structure is particularly adept at managing the intricacies of mass tort cases, including those involving AFFF, and often paves the way for settlement negotiations that can resolve large numbers of lawsuits collectively.

The AFFF MDL is essentially a method for handling multiple similar cases, especially those from military firefighters who were exposed to the harmful chemicals in AFFF. By bringing together numerous cases into one federal court, the MDL proceedings have reshaped the legal strategies in AFFF lawsuits and highlighted the significance of this issue.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in New York

Settlement amounts in New York’s AFFF lawsuits are based on various factors, including the severity of the cancer and the level of exposure to PFAS chemicals. The worse the impact of cancer from exposure to firefighting foam, the higher the potential firefighting foam settlement, which can range from $40,000 to $300,000 or even more.

The amount of the settlement is influenced by:

  • The strength of the evidence
  • The number of plaintiffs
  • The level of liability of the defendants
  • The severity of the injuries and financial losses incurred

The highest recorded payout in a New York firefighting foam cancer lawsuit is over $4 billion. This substantial payout underscores the seriousness of the damages caused by PFAS exposure and the potential compensation available to victims.

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

Victims of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in New York may be eligible to receive compensation for various damages. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The amount of compensation for medical expenses varies greatly, typically ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 or even more, depending on the specifics of each case.

Compensation for lost wages is calculated based on the victim’s income before the cancer diagnosis, future earning potential, and any other factors that might have affected their income.

In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, victims may also receive compensation for:

  • pain and suffering
  • medical treatments
  • income loss
  • any other sufferings related to the cancer diagnosis and treatment

Filing a New York Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file a New York firefighting foam cancer lawsuit, victims must first consult with a firefighting foam attorney. The attorney will evaluate their case and help gather important evidence, including medical records, expert opinions, and proof of AFFF exposure.

Evidence of exposure to firefighting foam in a lawsuit can involve keeping records of being exposed to harmful chemicals found in AFFF firefighting foam, like PFAS and other forever chemicals.

Victims must also provide evidence of a cancer diagnosis linked to AFFF exposure. Research has found a link between AFFF firefighting foam exposure and a higher risk of cancer, leading to a surge in legal actions.

Types of Evidence To Present

In New York, AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits, proof of exposure to AFFF is another pivotal piece of evidence in these lawsuits. Victims must gather documentation, including:

  • Medical records
  • Employment records
  • Detailed service records
  • Witness testimonies
  • Other relevant documentation related to the exposure

New York Statute of Limitation

In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is usually 3 years from the date of injury. However, in some cases, it could be as short as 1 year from the act for civil cases, with some variations depending on specific circumstances.

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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 York Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

Schmidt & Clark, LLP stands ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out. Our seasoned attorneys excel in AFFF firefighting foam cases and will support you at each step.

It’s crucial to comprehend your legal options and determine your qualification for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations, and our no-win, no-fee policy ensures you incur no costs until we secure a favorable verdict or settlement for you.

Enlist the aid of Schmidt & Clark for an in-depth analysis of your firefighting foam-related case.

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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