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Vermont Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

The Vermont firefighter foam lawsuit is a critical issue facing many current and former firefighters. Understanding the implications of AFFF exposure and your legal rights is essential. This article aims to demystify the process, clarify who is eligible for compensation, and outline the potential health risks linked to PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foams.

If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to firefighting foam, Schmidt & Clark LLP stands ready to support you. With a well-established reputation for representing plaintiffs, our primary goal is to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation that you are rightfully due.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

In the heart of the battle against fires, many firefighters unknowingly expose themselves to harmful PFAS chemicals, which are toxic, found in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF). These ‘forever chemicals,’ which have been in use since the 1960s, accumulate in human organisms and pose severe health risks, including:

Firefighters must be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions to protect their health. Our brave firefighters in Vermont are persistently subjected to these dangers through ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact during their firefighting duties.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Recent updates in the firefighting foam lawsuits have brought several critical developments to light. Key points include:

  • Acknowledgment of the health risks associated with PFAS chemicals in AFFF and their potential to cause cancer.
  • Increased scrutiny on manufacturers for their alleged knowledge of these risks and failure to provide adequate warnings to users.
  • Progression of legal actions, with numerous cases being consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to streamline the process.
  • Significant settlements and verdicts, in some cases, set a precedent for potential compensation amounts.
  • Introduction of legislation aimed at regulating PFAS chemicals and funding for health studies and environmental cleanup efforts.
  • Ongoing research and studies further strengthen the link between PFAS exposure and serious health conditions.

What Is AFFF?

According to a 2022 study conducted by the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is short for Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, and it is a type of firefighting foam specifically designed for battling fuel fires that can be difficult to extinguish with water alone [1].

This foam forms a barrier between the fire and the air, effectively cutting off the oxygen supply and smothering the flames. PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a group of chemicals found within AFFF.

These substances are key in creating the foam’s unique texture and fire-suppressing abilities. However, their presence has raised significant health and environmental concerns due to their persistence in the environment and their potential to accumulate in the human body over time.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Vermont?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Vermont include several major manufacturing companies known for producing AFFF with harmful PFAS chemicals.

These companies, namely 3M, DuPont, Chemours, Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, Kidde Fire Fighting, and Buckeye Fire Equipment, are facing litigation for their roles in the distribution of these toxic substances.

The link between firefighting foam and cancer has been under scrutiny since the early 1990s. Medical literature has shown that firefighting foam containing PFAS can be harmful to human health.

As stated by the National Cancer Institute in their 2022 research, PFAS exposure from firefighting foam has been linked to over a dozen different types of cancers, including but not limited to kidney, testicular, pancreatic, liver, and prostate cancers [2]. Studies have indicated that PFAS can interfere with cell growth and hormone function, which may lead to the development of tumors.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFOA, one of the PFAS chemicals, as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans.’ This classification is a result of evidence suggesting an association between PFOA exposure and increased risk for certain cancers.

Firefighters, who are frequently in contact with AFFF during their line of duty, are particularly at risk, highlighting the importance of ongoing research and litigation in this area.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. Although it’s no longer produced in the United States, it remains in use across various parts of the globe. This foam has been a staple in fire suppression efforts, particularly in combatting high-intensity fires such as those involving flammable liquids like gasoline and oil [3].

PFAS have been used specifically in some synthetic Class B firefighting foams, including aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The unique properties of PFAS provide the foam with the ability to spread quickly over the surface of the fire, creating a barrier that deprives the fire of oxygen and brings it under control. Despite its effectiveness in firefighting, the environmental and adverse health outcomes associated with PFAS have led to a re-evaluation of its use and the development of PFAS-free alternatives.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Prolonged exposure to PFAS from firefighting foam has been linked to various types of cancer, including kidney and testicular cancer, among others. The carcinogenic nature of PFAS chemicals means that even firefighters who have used AFFF in the past could be at risk, as these substances can remain in the body for extended periods.

In addition to kidney and testicular cancer, there have been associations with other serious health conditions such as thyroid disease, liver damage, and other forms of cancer, including pancreatic and prostate cancers. The health implications of exposure to these toxic chemicals are widespread and may affect multiple body systems, leading to a range of symptoms and long-term health concerns.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Vermont?

Individuals who have a documented history of working as a firefighter, during which they were exposed to the potentially hazardous Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Vermont.

Furthermore, there must be a medically confirmed diagnosis of a type of cancer that has been scientifically linked to PFAS exposure, such as kidney, testicular, or other related cancers. These individuals must have a clear connection between their profession, the exposure to toxic firefighting foam, and their subsequent health issues to qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Vermont.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by adhering to specific time limits, known as statutes of limitations, which dictate when legal action must be initiated. For these lawsuits, the legal process may involve being part of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), centralizing pretrial proceedings for cases with common factual questions.

This can streamline the legal process, reduce court costs, and speed up the handling of numerous related cases. Adhering to these timelines and understanding the MDL process is crucial for preserving your right to seek damages.

By consolidating cases, the MDL process allows for a more efficient exchange of information between parties, avoids inconsistent pretrial rulings, and serves to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.

It is designed to help individuals combine their efforts and increase their bargaining power against large corporations. This collective approach can be particularly advantageous when dealing with complex litigation involving extensive scientific and legal research, as is the case with AFFF-related lawsuits.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Vermont

While the firefighting foam lawsuit settlement for AFFF lawsuits is not guaranteed, they can range significantly, with some estimates based on prior mass tort cases and settlements for cancer diagnoses related to AFFF exposure potentially reaching into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Look at the substantial settlements agreed upon by major companies like 3M and DuPont in national AFFF litigation. A whopping $55 million settlement in one case and a combined $10.3 billion in another, alongside DuPont’s $1.18 billion settlement, certainly set a precedent for potential financial recoveries in Vermont.

Supporting this notion, law firms like Sokolove Law and the LLN team have secured over $9.1 billion and more than $400 million in various litigations, respectively.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Vermont

Suppose you are a firefighter in Vermont who has encountered AFFF and has since been diagnosed with cancer. In that case, you may be entitled to seek financial restitution through a lawsuit specifically targeting AFFF-related injuries.

Compensable medical costs include those for immediate medical interventions like surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy that are necessitated by conditions linked to AFFF contact. These costs can be substantial, and the compensation sought in a lawsuit may cover past, present, and anticipated future medical expenses.

Firefighters incapacitated by illnesses attributable to AFFF and thus unable to fulfill their work duties might be eligible to recover compensation for wages lost during their period of recovery. This can extend to compensation for future earning capacity if the illness has caused long-term impairment that affects the ability to work.

Furthermore, it is possible to pursue compensation for the psychological suffering and diminished quality of life resulting from the detrimental health impacts of diseases connected to AFFF exposure. This includes compensation for emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and the impact on family and social relationships, which are often profound but less tangible than other types of damages.

Filing a Vermont Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

Vermont residents who developed cancer from AFFF exposure need to act swiftly to protect their claim. It’s crucial to understand that there are specific legal timeframes, known as statutes of limitations, that dictate the window in which you can bring forth a lawsuit. Missing this critical period could result in the loss of your right to seek compensation.

Therefore, it is imperative for individuals affected by AFFF-related cancers to promptly seek legal advice to ensure their claims are filed within the allowable time. Quick action can be the difference between securing the compensation needed for medical treatments, lost wages, and suffering and being barred from obtaining any legal remedy due to time constraints.

Types of Evidence To Present

Upon filing an AFFF cancer lawsuit, your legal team is responsible for collecting evidence in support of your claim. This evidence can include medical records that document your cancer diagnosis, employment history that establishes your use of AFFF during your firefighting service, and expert testimonies that can link PFAS exposure to your specific type of cancer.

Additionally, your attorneys may gather environmental samples, internal company documents, and other relevant materials that can demonstrate the presence of PFAS in the firefighting foam you used and its impact on your health. It is through the meticulous gathering and presentation of such evidence that your legal team will build a compelling case to support your pursuit of justice and compensation.

Vermont Statute of Limitation

In Vermont, claimants must file their AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit within a certain timeframe, known as the statute of limitations, which is typically within six years from the date of diagnosis or discovery of the illness.

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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 Vermont 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 caused by firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out to our firefighting foam lawyers. Specializing in such cases, we will provide comprehensive guidance throughout the entire legal journey.

It’s crucial to be informed about your legal entitlements and determine your qualification for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer free initial consultations, and our no-win, no-fee promise means you incur no costs unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement for you.

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark for an in-depth analysis of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your steadfast partner in overcoming these complex challenges.

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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