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Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been exposed to AFFF firefighting foam in Virginia, recent lawsuits may impact you. Health concerns about AFFF’s link to cancer have led to a series of legal challenges against its manufacturers.

This article delves into the ongoing Virginia firefighter foam lawsuit, exploring key updates, plaintiff eligibility, and the implications of these cases for affected individuals.

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Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

AFFF cancer lawsuits distinguish themselves in the realm of toxic tort litigation. Once hailed for their effectiveness in extinguishing jet fuel fires, firefighting foams are now under scrutiny.

Currently, AFFF producers are dealing with legal repercussions due to a firefighting foam lawsuit, purported negligence, and their failure to be cautious about the health hazards linked to their products. With the rise in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits, the issue has gained significant attention.

The AFFF lawsuits in Virginia have seen a notable shift in focus. While water contamination cases occupied the limelight in the past, the current year has seen a surge in individual claims by firefighters and military personnel.

This change of baton was marked by the establishment of the bellwether trial process in December 2023, signaling a new chapter in the AFFF litigation saga.

The recent Case Management Conference revealed promising settlement possibilities for those impacted by AFFF exposure. This, combined with the commendation from a federal judge on 3M Co.’s settlement proposal, sets a positive tone for future settlement negotiations in personal injury lawsuits.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Over the years, AFFF lawsuits have undergone notable developments. One such landmark event was the global settlement in October 2023, marking the resolution of numerous water contamination claims. This led to a shift in focus from water contamination to personal injury and wrongful death claims within Virginia.

The initiation of the bellwether trial process in December 2023 was another turning point in the AFFF litigation. This was followed by a Case Management Conference in March 2024 that hinted at positive settlement prospects.

Nonetheless, the AFFF lawsuit scenario is intricate, involving prominent defendants like 3M and DuPont, among others. The lawsuit filed by the City of Stuart, Florida, which used PFAS limits in drinking water as key evidence, could set significant legal precedents affecting future AFFF cases, including those in Virginia.

What Is AFFF?

According to a 2022 research by the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is also known as Aqueous film-forming foam or film-forming foam AFFF, and it is used as a type of firefighting foam [1]. Its purpose is to quickly extinguish fires by creating a film on the surface of the fuel, preventing oxygen from reaching the fire.

Renowned for its effectiveness in combating jet fuel fires, it was widely used in fire departments and military bases across Virginia and the rest of the country. However, AFFF’s reputation has suffered due to its toxic properties and the health hazards it presents.

Key among its toxic components are PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to various health issues, including cancer. To tackle the problem at its root, a bill was passed in Virginia in 2023, requiring more detailed reporting from certain facilities regarding the use of PFAS.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Virginia?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Virginia encompass a diverse group of manufacturers, including Tyco, 3M, DuPont, and others, all of whom are facing serious allegations.

These companies are implicated in legal actions due to their roles in producing and selling firefighting foams that contain toxic substances, which have been linked to numerous health risks, particularly cancer.

These companies have been accused of negligence and failure to warn about the health risks associated with their products. Among the accused, 3M stands out as a major defendant, facing allegations related to the manufacture and sale of toxic firefighting foam. DuPont also finds itself in the legal crosshairs for its involvement in the production of AFFF.

However, it isn’t just these giants who are under scrutiny. The AFFF litigation landscape is dotted with other defendants, including:

  • Kidde-Fenwal
  • Chubb National Foam, Inc.
  • Clariant Corp.
  • UTC Fire & Security Americas

As stated in a 2023 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, the link between AFFF firefighting foam and cancer has caused ripples of concern throughout the firefighting community and beyond. Scientific evidence, including studies linking PFAS chemicals in AFFF to various forms of cancer such as [2]:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFOA, a common PFAS chemical, as potentially carcinogenic to humans. This has escalated the apprehensions about AFFF.

The link between exposure to AFFF and an increased risk of cancer is now unmistakable, with proposed tiered ranking systems for settlement compensation reflecting these specific links.

Nevertheless, the complete range of health risks linked to AFFF exposure is still undergoing investigation. Ongoing research by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program (NIEHS/NTP) is actively investigating the toxicity and human health effects of PFAS exposure, including those from AFFF.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services research from 2024, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These chemicals, known for their heat resistance and ability to suppress fires, are what made AFFF a popular choice among firefighters [3].

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

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

A variety of health issues have been associated with exposure to AFFF. Foremost among these are various types of cancer, including kidney, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. These cancers are now being monitored as potential health impacts of PFAS exposure.

Beyond cancer, AFFF exposure has also been linked to other health concerns, such as liver enzyme changes. As research into the health effects of PFAS continues, the list of AFFF-related injuries is expected to grow.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Virginia?

Firefighters and military personnel in Virginia, who are most frequently in contact with AFFF due to their occupational duties, are the individuals at a heightened risk of exposure and the subsequent health issues that may qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Virginia.

Those who have been exposed to AFFF and subsequently diagnosed with related cancers may qualify for an AFFF lawsuit. This includes not only firefighters but also military personnel and other individuals who have been near AFFF.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by providing a legal remedy for those impacted by AFFF exposure. This process begins with contacting a lawyer specializing in toxic exposure litigation to navigate the complexities of an AFFF case.

Once a lawyer is hired, a lawsuit is filed against one or more AFFF manufacturers based on exposure evidence. From here, the case either goes to litigation, where it is presented to a judge for a decision, or a settlement agreement is reached with the liable parties.

Compensation for successful AFFF lawsuits may cover medical expenses, lost income, and non-economic damages. Law firms offer case reviews at no cost to help individuals understand their potential for recovery.

In Virginia, AFFF cases are generally grouped into multidistrict litigation instead of class action lawsuits. This means that:

  • The cases are grouped for pretrial proceedings
  • Each claim is considered individually
  • Individualized settlements are based on the specifics of each case

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Virginia

The settlement amounts in AFFF lawsuits can greatly fluctuate, with factors such as:

  • the level of exposure to firefighting foam
  • the cancer diagnosis
  • medical costs
  • other compensatory or punitive damages

Lawyers estimate that AFFF lawsuit settlement amounts in Virginia may range from $40,000 to $300,000 or more depending on the case details and strength of evidence. However, past verdicts have seen larger amounts awarded, such as the $50 million paid by DuPont to a person living with testicular cancer due to PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

The anticipated tiered settlement system aims to offer higher payouts for cases in the top tier. These cases are likely to involve plaintiffs with significant exposure histories and diagnoses of cancers with the strongest links to AFFF exposure.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Virginia

Victims involved in AFFF cancer lawsuits in Virginia could be entitled to compensation, which may cover medical costs, compensation for income loss, and damages for pain and suffering caused by AFFF exposure.

The individual settlement amounts for AFFF claimants are expected to range from $300,000 to $450,000 on average, depending on the specifics of each case. Factors determining the settlement tier and amount include the type of cancer, the extent of the plaintiff’s AFFF exposure, and the plaintiff’s age.

Filing a Virginia Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

The process of filing a Virginia AFFF cancer lawsuit requires careful attention and professional expertise. It starts with contacting a lawyer specializing in toxic exposure litigation to handle the complexities of an AFFF case.

From there, your legal team will file an AFFF lawsuit against one or more AFFF manufacturers based on the evidence of exposure. The case will either go to litigation, where it will be presented to a judge for a decision, or a settlement agreement may be reached with the liable parties.

Regardless of the path your case takes, it’s important to remember that these firefighting foam lawsuits aim to hold manufacturers accountable for the known health risks posed by toxic chemicals in firefighting foam.

These lawsuits, including firefighting foam lawsuit cases, are available to those with extended exposure and specific cancer diagnoses, with most claimants falling within applicable time limits.

Types of Evidence To Present

When embarking on the journey of an AFFF lawsuit, the arsenal of evidence you’ll want to compile is crucial.

This should include detailed documentation of AFFF exposure, such as records or witness statements confirming the use of firefighting foam, comprehensive medical records that correlate with the timeframe of exposure, and authoritative expert testimony to solidify the connection between AFFF contact and the resultant health issues. These pieces of evidence are pivotal in constructing a robust case to demonstrate causality.

Virginia Statute of Limitation

It’s worth mentioning that Virginia imposes a time limit for filing AFFF cancer lawsuits, known as a statute of limitations. Specifically, the statute of limitations in Virginia is typically two years from the date of diagnosis for personal injury claims.

This means that there is a limited period of two years within which a lawsuit must be filed after a cancer diagnosis is confirmed.

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Schmidt & Clark, LLP are here to offer support in critical times. If you or a family member has experienced injuries due to exposure to firefighting foam, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team has expertise in managing such cases and will guide you through every part of the process.

You need to understand your legal rights and assess if you are eligible for a firefighting foam lawsuit. Our consultations are always free, and you will not face any charges unless we achieve a positive outcome in your case.

Contact Schmidt & Clark today for a thorough evaluation of your case related to firefighting foam. Let us be your reliable ally in navigating this challenging situation.

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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