How to Join Lawsuit as an Airforce Firefighter Using AFFF?
AFFF (Firefighting Foam) Lawsuits
Several states have banned firefighting foam that contains PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), a group of chemicals. Victims have filed over 2,000 lawsuits claiming that exposure to AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) harmed them. The lawsuits allege that the chemical causes severe health problems and even death. If you’re an Air Force firefighter exposed to AFFF regularly and you’re worried about your health, you might want to look into joining an AFFF lawsuit.
If you’re interested in learning how to join one of these lawsuits as an Air Force firefighter who uses AFFF, then you’ll need to contact an attorney. Several lawyers in our networks represent military personnel harmed by AFFF exposure or other toxic substances. They will tell you if you have a case and what steps you must take next.
AFFF Cancer High-Risk Occupations
AFFF is a fluorinated compound that is commonly used as a fire suppressant in aircraft and military vehicles. The problem with AFFF use is that the chemical compound becomes attached to human cells and can cause cancer. The AFFF chemical compound contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which scientists have identified as a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). PFOA has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer within specific occupations.
The following occupations pose a high risk for AFFF exposure:
Firefighters Stationed at Airports
AFFF is effective at putting out fires occasioned by jet fuel. As a result, airports have used the substance, unfortunately exposing several firefighters at airports to AFFF. Also, airports serve as landing grounds for aircraft, which release large amounts of AFFF foam.
Firefighters who work at airports are exposed to the chemical when responding to airplane emergencies, including crashes and runway fires.
In addition, firefighters stationed at airports can also be exposed to AFFF during routine training exercises that involve simulated fires. During these exercises, firefighters breathe in some amounts of AFFF while they practice putting out fires.
Military firefighters get the most dangerous jobs in the military. They have to deal with enemy fire in combat zones, but they also have to fight fires in their camps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firefighters who come into contact with AFFF have an increased risk of developing cancer later in life because it contains toxic chemicals like PFOS and PFOA. Both can cause liver damage and kidney disease with time.
Military firefighters have a higher cancer rate than civilian firefighters, possibly due to their exposure to toxic fumes and smoke from explosives, burning oil and other petroleum products, and fire training exercises using live ammunition.
Firefighters are exposed to asbestos when they enter buildings constructed before 1980 (before the use of asbestos was banned in construction materials). During fires, they also inhale toxic fumes from burning plastics and other synthetic materials. The high rates of cancer cases among military firefighters may be due to the combination of these exposures.
How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?
An AFFF lawsuit works differently from other types of personal injury and property damage lawsuits because it involves multiple parties. In an AFFF lawsuit, there are three main parties:
The plaintiff(s): These are people who suffered injury or property damage due to firefighting foam exposure. For example, if you were exposed to the foam during a training exercise or when fighting a fire and you suffered injuries, you would be considered a plaintiff in this type of lawsuit.
The defendant(s): The defendant in an AFFF case is usually the firefighting foam’s manufacturer. These companies include 3M Company, Chemours Company, DuPont Company, and others.
The third-party defendant(s): These defendants are liable for any damages caused by their negligence, breach of warranty, or otherwise legal duty owed to the injured plaintiff(s). They may be companies that supplied materials used in making AFFF but were not directly involved in producing or distributing it.
The Working of an AFFF Lawsuit
The first step in joining a lawsuit as an Air Force firefighter using AFFF is to select a lawyer. Your attorney will help you determine if your case has merit and can be brought before the courts.
If your case has merit, the court system will notify you that it accepts your case for review. At this point, your attorney will begin investigating the facts of your case and gathering information from witnesses, medical professionals, insurance companies, and government agencies.
Judge Determines if AFFF Firefighting Foam Cases Have Merit
After gathering the essential information, your attorney will file an official complaint with the court system and serve copies to all defendants. At this point, the defendant will respond to the complaint with their side of the story.
After the court system has heard both sides, a judge will decide whether to approve damages for those who suffered injuries from AFFF exposure. If approved, these damages may include compensation for past, ongoing, and future treatment, wrongful death, lost income, and other losses.
Do You Have a Case for an AFFF Lawsuit?
If AFFF has injured you or a loved one, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit. You must, however, prove the firefighting foam caused your illness or injury.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of your injury, the cause is likely still present. Keep a record of your symptoms and their onset date and any other evidence that indicates the cause was the firefighting foam.
Is There Currently an AFFF Class-Action Lawsuit?
Yes, plaintiffs filed a class action against firefighting foam companies in 2020. The lawsuit alleges that AFFF causes cancer and other health problems in firefighters who use it. It also alleges that manufacturers knew about these risks but failed to disclose them until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced them to do so.
Class action lawsuits help plaintiffs pool their resources and make it possible for them to receive more exposure and legal attention.
How to Join Lawsuit as an Air Force Firefighter Using AFFF
You can join a lawsuit automatically as a plaintiff pursuing damages along with other victims. Rarely is a class action tort classified as an opt-in-class option. Initially, the court determines too many people are in a similar case to be individual plaintiffs. So, the members automatically become part of the lawsuit by not opting out.
To join the AFFF lawsuit, you must meet several criteria:
- You must have served in the U.S. Air Force.
- You must have come into contact with AFFF during your time in service.
- Your job required you to use AFFF during your duties.
- You must have experienced adverse health effects due to your exposure (e.g., cancers or other illnesses).
The amount of compensation you could receive depends on your level of exposure or loss. If you are eligible, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses and lost income, and pain and suffering. It is advisable to consult with an attorney to ensure you protect your rights throughout the process.
How Is an AFFF Class-Action Lawsuit Different From an Individual Case?
First, a class action lawsuit allows people with similar claims to band together and file their cases as one. This saves money on legal fees and also allows plaintiffs to benefit from any awards that the court makes. Class members often have their lawyers who work for them, but they also may be represented by one lawyer who represents the interests of all class members.
Second, the court will certify the case as a class action before it gets underway. This means the court agrees there are enough common issues among everyone filing suit that it makes sense to treat them as a group and not individually. The court will also decide whether there is enough evidence to show that AFFF exposure caused these injuries and illnesses in each plaintiff’s case.
Also, the other plaintiffs who join the suit have similar claims against the defendant and will not have to do much work independently. However, they might need to provide more information about their experience with the product or service that caused them harm.
List of Military Bases With Contaminated Water
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that contaminated water and firefighting foam affect these military bases and facilities (incomplete list):
|Eielson Air Force Base||Alaska|
|F.E. Warren Air Force Base|
Cheyenne Municipal Airport
|Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress||Virginia|
|Chittenden County National Guard Base||Vermont|
|U.S. Army Reserve Fort McCoy||Wisconsin|
|Randolph Air Force Base|
Kelly Air Force Base
|Shaw Air Force Base||South Carolina|
|Ellsworth Air Force Base|
Joe Foss Field Air National Guard Base
|Horsham Air Guard Station||Pennsylvania|
|Seymour Johnson Air Force Base||North Carolina|
|Hector Field International Airport|
Minot Air Force Base
|Seneca Army Ammunition Plant|
Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station
|Reno Tahoe International Airport||Nevada|
|Rosecrans Memorial Airport|
Whiteman Air Force Base
|Key Field Air National Guard Base|
Columbus Air Force Base
|W.K. Kellogg AirportAlpena County Regional AirportK.I. Sawyer Air Force Base||Michigan|
|Westover Air Reserve Base||Massachusetts|
|Chanute Air Force Base||Illinois|
|Moody Air Force Base||Georgia|
|Jacksonville International Airport||Florida|
|Buckley Air Force Base||Colorado|
|Vandenberg Air Force Base||California|
|New Castle Airport||Delaware|
How Much Can I Get From a Firefighting Foam Settlement?
Several factors play into the amount of money you can get from a Firefighting Foam Settlement. The main factor is how much your exposure to AFFF affects your health. If you are in good health, then it is likely that you will receive less money than if you have serious health problems.
The second factor is how many people are included in the settlement. If more people are part of the settlement, the total amount will be greater than if fewer people were involved.
The third factor is how severe your AFFF exposure injuries are. The more severe your injuries, the more money you could receive from your settlement.
Can I Afford a Firefighting Foam Attorney?
The cost of hiring a product liability attorney varies from case to case, but there is no doubt that it will cost less than the money that you would lose by not getting compensation. For most people, the idea of hiring a lawyer is a scary one. The thought of paying thousands of dollars in legal fees can make them freeze.
However, many product liability lawyers within our network work on contingency. They get paid only if you win the case. This means your lawyer will take your case and represent you without any guarantee of payment. They will receive payment only if you recover compensation. An agreed-upon percentage of your award will go toward paying them attorney’s fees.
Choosing an AFFF Lawsuit Attorney
If you are considering joining a lawsuit against a company that manufactures or uses AFFF firefighting foam, you should consult with an attorney who has a track record of handling these cases.
First, you’ll want to look at the attorney’s experience. How long have they been practicing law? How many similar cases have they handled? Next, make sure the attorney has filed an AFFF lawsuit in the past and won compensation for their clients. It’s vital for an attorney whose firm handles these types of cases to have a record of financial recoveries for their clients.
You can ask other people who have used them before or check online reviews to see what previous clients say about the lawyer or law firm you are considering. Finally, find out if and how much it will cost you up front to retain legal counsel. You can also ask your attorney how much you could expect to receive if you win your case.
You Can Learn More About Joining an AFFF Lawsuit as an Air Force Firefighter
If you are an Air Force firefighter and have suffered injury or illness related to firefighting foam, you could possibly join the lawsuit as an Air Force firefighter using AFFF.
Product Liability Lawyers in our network can represent you in your firefighting foam lawsuit. They can help you file a claim for compensation for your injuries and answer any additional questions about joining our lawsuit. Fill out the contact form for help with your case.