FREE Case Review (866) 588-0600

West Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

Awards & recognition
C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

West Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been exposed to AFFF firefighting foam in West 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.

If you’ve been exposed, you might be entitled to compensation. This article provides an overview of the latest developments, eligibility facts, and what claimants can expect moving forward in the legal landscape.

Please click the button below for a Free West Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit Review or contact our lawyers toll-free 24 hrs/day for a free case evaluation by dialing (866) 588-0600.

Start My Free West Virginia Firefighter Foam Lawsuit Review

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

The multi-district litigation involving AFFF, including cases from West Virginia, is an enormous endeavor, with around 9,200 lawsuits estimated by February 2024. The tide of justice seems unstoppable, with 280 new lawsuits added to the count in January 2024 alone.

The MDL judge has been active in managing the litigation, setting deadlines for discovery disputes, and organizing the selection of cases for upcoming bellwether trials.

The firefighting foam lawsuits primarily stem from firefighters and military personnel who have been exposed to the toxic PFAS chemicals in AFFF during their service. Victims and their families, particularly those in firefighting or military roles who have been exposed to AFFF, might have the right to pursue compensation legally.

Key Points from Lawsuits

The firefighting foam lawsuit reveals a grim reality. AFFF, a once trusted tool, has become a silent enemy due to the toxic PFAS chemicals it contains. Firefighters and military personnel, the very people who risk their lives to keep us safe, are the primary victims of this tragedy. As a result, numerous firefighting foam lawsuits have emerged, seeking justice for those affected.

These lawsuits also illuminate the role of major manufacturers in this debacle. Accusations against companies like 3M and DuPont suggest a ruthless pursuit of profit, with little regard for the lives of those using their products. The manufacturers allegedly:

  • Concealed the hazardous nature of AFFF
  • Failed to warn consumers about the risks
  • Didn’t provide adequate warnings about the dangers of PFAS chemicals or the need for personal protective gear

What Is AFFF?

According to a 2022 research by the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is an Aqueous Film Forming Foam, and it is a firefighting foam that contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) [1].

The film-forming foam AFFF was originally patented by the US military and 3M in 1965 and has since been used extensively, particularly on military bases and at airports, to extinguish high-temperature fires.

Several organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society, have labeled PFAS chemicals in AFFF as carcinogens.

These chemicals are also linked to various health risks, including liver damage, birth defects, elevated cholesterol levels, infertility, diabetes, and more. Despite these known risks, AFFF continues to be used, putting thousands of people at risk of exposure and subsequent health issues.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in West Virginia?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in West Virginia are the major manufacturers – 3M, DuPont, and Tyco Fire Products.

The defendants are not just facing a handful of cases but a deluge of legal pursuits. Among these is an ongoing class action lawsuit filed by the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and a potential class action lawsuit on behalf of military service members.

These lawsuits further implicate the manufacturers in the health risks associated with PFAS chemicals, drawing the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency.

As stated in a 2023 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, decades of scientific research have uncovered a worrying link between AFFF and cancer. Studies show that exposure to AFFF firefighting foam increases the risk of certain types of cancer, including [2]:

The liver, in particular, is vulnerable as it plays a crucial role in filtering toxins, leading to a higher risk of individuals who develop cancer, such as liver cancer and pancreatic cancer. At the same time, other organs, like the bladder, may also be at risk for conditions such as bladder cancer.

In West Virginia, cases involving kidney, testicular, prostate, and liver cancer among plaintiffs are deemed solid grounds for AFFF lawsuits. These cases highlight the significant connections between AFFF exposure and these specific cancers.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. The health risks associated with AFFF exposure don’t end there. PFAS exposure has been linked to pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and small decreases in infant birth weights [3].

Possible sources of occupational exposure to PFAS include turnout gear, aqueous film-forming foam, and air and dust at both the fire scene and fire station. Preliminary discussion on PFAS includes definition, classification, and chemical structure – National Library of Medicine

Furthermore, exposure to AFFF may result in a declined vaccine response in children, adding to the concern regarding the full spectrum of health effects from PFAS exposure.

The dangers of PFAS exposure are not limited to those directly handling AFFF. Studies have found that firefighters have triple the PFAS levels in their blood compared to the general population.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

The injuries linked to PFAS exposure in AFFF include:

  • Thyroid disease, including disruptions in thyroid hormone production and function
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Eye and skin problems, including persistent irritation, conjunctivitis, rashes, itching, and chemical burns

Other health consequences of PFAS exposure include endocrine disruption and hormonal imbalances, which can lead to fertility issues and pregnancy complications. The immune system can also be impaired, increasing susceptibility to infections and potentially leading to autoimmune disorders.

The broad range and seriousness of these health problems underscore the importance of the AFFF lawsuits. With such a wide range of potential injuries, determining who qualifies for these lawsuits is crucial.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in West Virginia?

Individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer potentially linked to exposure to AFFF and who are within the statute of limitations qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in West Virginia.

Beyond timing, plaintiffs must have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to AFFF to meet the eligibility criteria. Typically, eligibility for filing an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit is determined by occupational exposure, such as that experienced by firefighters or military personnel.

But what does the process of filing a lawsuit entail?

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work via multidistrict litigation, a protocol that amalgamates thousands of related cases for unified pre-trial proceedings. This process streamlines the complex legal landscape when there are a large number of plaintiffs, typically involving cases of occupational exposure to harmful chemicals in AFFF.

At the heart of the MDL process are the bellwether trials. These test cases may affect the course of the litigation and potential settlements for other cases within the MDL. The first round of AFFF MDL bellwether trials typically focuses on municipal water contamination, followed by personal injury claims related to AFFF exposure.

Settlement discussions in AFFF litigation are complex due to the diversity of claims, which include individual personal injury and municipal water contamination claims.

The outcomes of bellwether trials are crucial in compelling defendants to offer reasonable settlements and can influence the compensation amounts for other plaintiffs in the litigation.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in West Virginia

Settlement amounts in AFFF cases have shown considerable variation, mirroring the diversity in case details and damages involved. Some examples include:

  • A $17.5 million class action settlement
  • Up to a $4 billion settlement
  • A $54 million settlement in a PFAS class action lawsuit in Kent County, Michigan, involving 3M and Wolverine Worldwide in September 2022

High-profile settlements relating to PFAS include:

  • 3M agreeing to pay $55 million to the state of Michigan over PFAS drinking water contamination
  • DuPont facing a $671 million settlement for waterway contamination in West Virginia
  • DuPont making a $50 million payment to a person living with testicular cancer due to PFAS in drinking water

These cases illustrate the significant impact that PFAS contamination can have.

The final settlement amounts in West Virginia are yet to be disclosed. However, the law firm representing AFFF plaintiffs has successfully recovered millions of dollars in lawsuits against major corporations. As these lawsuits progress, factors influencing the settlement amounts will come into play.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in West Virginia

Compensation potential for victims of AFFF exposure in West Virginia exhibits a wide range. Estimates suggest that settlement amounts range from $40,000 to $300,000 on average, with second-tier cases spanning $150,000 to $280,000 and top-tier cases reaching $300,000 to $600,000.

Claimants in individual cases within the West Virginia MDL process may receive compensation for various damages, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Other personal losses due to AFFF exposure

Therefore, victims of AFFF exposure in West Virginia can anticipate settlements that reflect their specific circumstances, implying the potential for considerable compensation tailored to their injuries and losses.

The pursuit of justice and compensation is a challenging endeavor. However, with the right legal assistance, victims of AFFF exposure stand a chance against the corporations that have, so far, evaded accountability. And that’s where West Virginia AFFF litigation lawyers step in.

Filing a West Virginia Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

A series of steps are involved in filing a West Virginia AFFF lawsuit. First, individuals must comply with the state’s specific time limits for such legal actions.

Beyond timing, plaintiffs must have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to AFFF to meet the eligibility criteria for an AFFF cancer lawsuit. Typically, eligibility for filing an AFFF lawsuit is determined by occupational exposure, such as that experienced by firefighters or military personnel.

Types of Evidence To Present

The robustness of an AFFF lawsuit is largely contingent on the evidence furnished. For victims of AFFF exposure, evidence of long-term exposure to AFFF and subsequent cancer diagnosis is crucial for the success of a lawsuit in West Virginia. Affected individuals should retain records of:

  • their medical diagnosis and treatment
  • employment or service history indicating AFFF use
  • any other documentation that supports their exposure to the harmful PFAS chemicals

It’s vital to keep detailed records and make copies of all related documents to substantiate claims in an AFFF lawsuit. From medical records to employment history, every piece of evidence is a building block in the construction of a strong case. The more substantial evidence showing significant exposure, the stronger the legal claim.

West Virginia Statute of Limitation

In West Virginia, time is of the essence for filing an AFFF lawsuit. As with other personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is typically 2-3 years from the date of injury.

However, it’s adjusted by the discovery rule, which allows the time limit to start when the plaintiff becomes aware of the injury and its cause. It’s crucial to bear this timeframe in mind when pursuing an AFFF lawsuit in West Virginia.

Related Articles:

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

Choose our lawyers

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 West Virginia Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we stand by your side during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries or have developed cancer linked to firefighting foam exposure, we urge you to reach out to us. Our proficient team specializes in such cases and pledges to accompany you throughout each step of your legal journey.

It is imperative to comprehend your legal entitlements and determine your qualification for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations, and our services are contingent upon securing a favorable verdict or settlement in your 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

Free Confidential Case Evaluation

Verified 100% Secure SiteTo contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 588-0600.