The life of a firefighter is far away from easy! Even though it appears to be heroic and larger than life, the reality is highly different. Ceasing fire effectively to ensure that people are safe and the property isn’t heavily damaged are just surface-level challenges. The real danger is the very act of extinguishing fire for which they use firefighting foam, which leads to a host of health hazards among firefighters.
Today, the number of lawsuits filed by firefighters because of the impact of ‘forever chemicals’ is gaining more attention. The firefighting foam has PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) that doesn’t break down and persists in the environment and the human body for years, thereby causing harm to both.
In December 2023, Roll Call reported the case of a Memphis firefighter, Jesse Powell, who in 2021 got diagnosed with prostate cancer because of exposure to firefighter foam. Powell had to undergo 34 radiation therapy rounds, which changed his life completely.
And the unfortunate fact is that there are more like him. The International Association of Fire Fighters reports that almost two-thirds of firefighters who died between 2002 and 2019 developed cancer.
Hence, it is natural for firefighters to file a lawsuit to ensure that they get the required justice and fair compensation. In this article, we will discuss the essential facts victims should know before they head out to file a legal complaint against firefighter foam manufacturers.
Firefighting Foam Lawsuits: Essential Points to Know
The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has linked PFAS with a wide range of health issues, including immune system ailments, hormone disruption, cancer, and other fatal diseases.
Naturally, Powell is part of over 20,000 firefighters who filed their lawsuit against PFAS distributors and manufacturers and are waiting for their respective firefighter foam cash settlements. It seems that they are one of the three plaintiff classes in the MDL who are being heard at the U.S. District Court located in South Carolina.
Most firefighters are seeking monetary compensation for the damages that they had to endure after getting exposed to turnout gears and flame-suppressing foams that contain PFAS. They think that companies like 3M Company and DuPont de Nemours Inc. were aware of the issue but didn’t update people about it, which resulted in increased havoc and life-threatening ailments.
Hence, if you have suffered from PFAS exposure and would like to file a lawsuit to receive the cash settlement that you deserve, you need to stay updated with a few essential data and facts. They are:
Know the Defendants
Before you file a firefighter lawsuit, it is essential to know the defendants. These are companies that manufacture and supply firefighting foam to military bases, fire departments, and airports. Once you know the name, you check their business record and learn about the damages they have caused to people so that you can plan your legal case accordingly.
The defendant’s list includes:
- BASF Corp.
- Clariant Corp.
- AGC Chemicals Americas
- Carrier Global Corp.
- The Chemours Company
- Dynax Corp.
- UTC Fire & Security Americas
- Chubb National Foam
If you have ingested firefighter foam manufactured by any of the names listed above, you should file your lawsuit to seek and receive the compensation you need to cover the losses and suffering.
Health Issues Connected with PFAS Contamination
The NCI (National Cancer Institute) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that PFAS exposure heightens the chances of a few cancers, like:
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Endometrial and ovarian cancer
- Prostate and testicular cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
That aside, a few other health issues that are linked with PFAS exposure are:
- Sudden changes in liver enzymes
- High levels of cholesterol
- Decreasing vaccine response in kids
- Less infant birth weight
- Pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in pregnant women
Man or woman, if you find yourself suffering from any of these ailments, it is necessary for you to get a thorough medical check-up to ensure that the firefighting foam caused you to suffer. Once that is done, you have the crucial data and evidence you need to file your lawsuit.
Consider Legal Consultation
When you have suffered from PFAS exposure, you would want to get compensated for the same at the earliest. But you must know that navigating the legal path is difficult. It is intricate and challenging and can pose risks for you if you wish to fight it alone. Therefore, you need to consider having a lawyer by your side who can help you file a lawsuit and get the justice that you deserve.
To begin with, a lawyer will let you know whether your situation requires legal representation or not. At the time of the consultation, your lawyer will assess all relevant details about PFAS exposure levels, health conditions, and other medical documentation that you have. This assessment can determine the strength of your legal case and help you recognize probable legal options that can work for you.
Most importantly, the legal consultation acts as a platform where you can express your concerns, ask questions, and also have an in-depth understanding of the entire legal process.
Knowing About Probable Payout Amounts
It is essential to know about the average payout amounts for firefighting lawsuits. In most cases, your lawyer will let you know about it. TruLaw states that the settlement amount can range between $10,000 and can go beyond $300,000 based on the PFAS exposure level, the claim’s strength, and the medical issues that the victim has suffered. This amount isn’t the exact figure that every firefighter would receive, as the final payout is case-specific.
To conclude, firefighter foam has been causing massive health issues among firefighters and other military workers as well. It is necessary to look deep into the matter and search for fluorine-free alternatives that can reduce the damage to a vast extent.
However, any person who has been exposed to this toxic foam and has been diagnosed with cancer or any other ailment should seek legal recourse and keep the above-mentioned factors in mind.