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Ohio Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

Amidst the legal battles faced by firefighters and residents in Ohio who have potentially suffered due to AFFF exposure, understanding the risks and your rights is crucial.

This article provides an overview of the ongoing multidistrict litigation and the connection between firefighting foam and cancer and guides you through the steps to take if impacted.

If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands ready to lend a hand.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

If you’re an Ohio resident, you may have heard of the over 2,500 AFFF lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the state. MDL is not a class-action lawsuit.

It allows for individual compensation based on the specific details of each case, meaning you could get compensation that effectively mirrors your unique situation.

July 2023 saw the announcement of a global settlement, hinting at a potential decrease in pending cases in the firefighting foam lawsuit. This settlement instills hope in numerous Ohio residents grappling with the aftermath of AFFF exposure.

Nevertheless, the struggle persists, underscored by fresh cases such as that filed by a South Carolina man exposed to firefighting foam. The fight against the health consequences of exposure remains ongoing, a topic we will explore further in the context of AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Digging deeper into the AFFF lawsuits, it’s significant to highlight that settlements in the AFFF MDL are yet to be reached. However, the winds may be changing direction. The outcome of impending trials may have a significant impact, potentially leading to a global settlement, as seen in previous cases.

In Ohio, new lawsuits are sprouting like mushrooms after a rain. Take, for example, the City of Mansfield’s suit against AFFF manufacturers over local drinking water contamination. The AFFF multidistrict litigation is a behemoth, consisting of over 6,000 lawsuits, with recent additions increasing this number significantly.

The first bellwether test trial case is set to start in April 2023, and the parties involved in the litigation are required to present selected parts of depositions and evidence lists for the approaching trial.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is the acronym for Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, a type of firefighting foam widely utilized by fire departments, military forces, and various industries since its development in the 1970s [1].

In Ohio, this film-forming foam AFFF has been a critical component in military installations and the equipment of firefighters since the 1960s, and its use has expanded to over 90 airports and numerous civilian fire departments throughout the U.S.

The military, including Ohio’s military bases, represents the largest user group of firefighting foam, known as AFFF, consuming millions of gallons annually and constituting nearly 75% of the market for these firefighting foams.

AFFF operates by forming a blanket over fuel, isolating the fire from its oxygen supply, effectively smothering and extinguishing it. Although exceedingly effective in firefighting, AFFF harbors a sinister side, which we will reveal in the subsequent section.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Ohio?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Ohio tend to be a recurring group, specifically major chemical companies like 3M and DuPont, among others. These entities are the manufacturers and producers of AFFF, the ones who brought the product to market without adequately informing the public and users about the associated health risks.

Some may argue that they didn’t know about the health risks, but as the saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” These defendants are facing a barrage of legal actions from affected individuals and communities who have suffered from exposure to the toxic chemicals in AFFF.

The mounting evidence against these manufacturers and their products forms the backbone of the thousands of AFFF lawsuits, including AFFF foam lawsuits, in Ohio and beyond.

According to a 2023 study by the National Cancer Institute, one of the most concerning aspects of AFFF is its link to cancer. Several research studies have established a connection between AFFF firefighting foam and cancer, with the toxic chemicals in AFFF contributing to various health risks [2]. This revelation has stoked the fires of the ongoing lawsuits against AFFF manufacturers.

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

The toxic chemicals in AFFF are known as PFAS, a group of artificial chemicals that have been used in various industries around the globe since the 1940s.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These are a group of toxic “forever chemicals” that do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in the human body over time.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the term “forever chemicals” stems from their persistence in the environment and the human body. This persistence is what makes PFAS so dangerous [3].

PFAS have been found to affect the human body in various ways, including:

  • affecting growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
  • lowering a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
  • interfering with the body’s natural hormones
  • increasing cholesterol levels
  • affecting the immune system

The presence of these toxic chemicals in toxic firefighting foam, such as AFFF, is a significant concern for those exposed, particularly firefighters and military personnel who use AFFF regularly.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFA

Exposure to AFFF and its toxic PFAS chemicals has been linked to a host of health problems, including PFAS contamination-related illnesses such as:

Studies have shown that elevated PFOS blood levels, common among those exposed to AFFF, are particularly associated with an increased risk of testicular cancer.

In addition to cancer, firefighters exposed to AFFF can face a wide range of other health problems. These include:

  • liver damage
  • thyroid disorders
  • hypersensitive skin disorder
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • fertility issues

Firefighters using AFFF have significantly elevated blood levels of PFAS, which can contribute to these health risks. As you can see, the effects of AFFF exposure are far-reaching and potentially devastating.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Ohio?

Ohio residents who have been diagnosed with specific types of cancer after exposure to AFFF qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Ohio. This includes firefighters, military personnel, and even residents living near facilities where AFFF was routinely used.

The eligibility criteria may vary, but generally, you would need to prove that you were exposed to AFFF and that your health problems are a result of this exposure. It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney to understand if you qualify for the AFFF cancer lawsuit.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits in Ohio can be filed either individually or as part of a class action, with claimants seeking compensation for damages suffered due to PFAS exposure. These lawsuits aim to hold the companies that supplied AFFF responsibly and compensate individuals for their exposure.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Ohio

It’s tough to give an exact figure as the settlement amounts can vary considerably depending on individual factors and the strength of the case. For instance, a case where the exposure to AFFF was minor and the resultant health issues were not severe might not fetch a high settlement amount.

Conversely, a case where the individual was exposed to AFFF over a long period and suffered severe health problems could potentially result in a larger settlement. It’s essential to work with an AFFF attorney who can help you understand the potential value of your case.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Ohio

Victims of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in Ohio may be able to recover compensation for their damages. These damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other losses incurred as a result of AFFF exposure

The damages sought in Ohio AFFF lawsuits can be broken down into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Filing an Ohio Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file an AFFF lawsuit, you need to consider several steps. First, you need to select a firefighting foam attorney with specific expertise in handling fuel fires and firefighting foam lawsuits.

Your attorney should be well-versed in the health and environmental impacts of AFFF, along with the relevant legal frameworks and regulations. It’s essential to consult with experienced firefighting foam lawyers to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Your attorney should also offer a free case evaluation and operate on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if you win the case.

Types of Evidence To Present

Gathering evidence is a critical step in filing an AFFF lawsuit. This could include:

  • Medical records detailing health conditions related to PFAS exposure
  • Work history records confirming exposure
  • Testimonies from peers validating the claim

A legal team experienced in AFFF cases can significantly aid in the evidence-gathering process, ensuring that all relevant documentation for the case is secured. It’s also crucial to gather evidence within the timeframe specified by state statutes of limitations, as failure to do so can result in losing the right to file a lawsuit or join a class action.

Ohio Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitations for AFFF claims in Ohio is typically two years, but this can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. The clock usually starts ticking from the date you were diagnosed with a disease linked to AFFF firefighting foam exposure.

It’s crucial to act promptly and file your claim within the specified timeframe. Failing to do so can lead to your case being dismissed, regardless of the merits of your claim. An experienced attorney can guide you through these timelines and ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines.

Related Articles:

See all related toxic tort lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.

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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 Ohio Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

Schmidt & Clark, LLP stands ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries attributed to Aqueous Film Forming Foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out. Our team will support and lead you through each phase of the legal journey.

It’s imperative to comprehend your legal entitlements and determine your eligibility for an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations, and our fee structure is contingent upon securing a favorable verdict or settlement in your lawsuit.

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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