Over the past few years, Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) contamination lawsuits have increased. AFFF, commonly used for firefighting, has been linked to severe health risks due to its high concentration of per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Individuals and communities affected by AFFF contamination have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for damages caused by exposure to these harmful chemicals.
If you have been affected by AFFF contamination, you may wonder how much compensation you can expect from an AFFF lawsuit settlement. In this article, we’ll explore the factors influencing AFFF lawsuit settlements and provide insights into what you might expect.
What Is AFFF Firefighting Foam?
AFFF is a type of fluorine-based fire retardant that firefighters use to suppress fires at airports and military bases. It’s also used to fight oil and gas fires due to its fire-suppressing qualities. Data has revealed that AFFF obtains the optimum fire-extinguishing effect in oil pool fires at a gas-liquid ratio of 1:7.
AFFF was developed in the 1960s by 3M as an alternative to Halon 1211, which was banned under the Montreal Protocol. AFFF is safe around people in controlled environments like airplanes or burning buildings. However, studies have shown it can be harmful when released into the environment. That’s because it can accumulate over time in these environments.
Why Are People Filing AFFF Lawsuits?
Extended exposure to AFFF firefighting foam can also lead to severe health risks. Hence, firefighters are at risk of developing various health problems. According to TorHoerman Law, prolonged exposure can lead to multiple cancers, including bladder, breast, pancreatic, prostate, and testicular cancer.
The website also states that exposed individuals can face increased cholesterol levels, decreased vaccine response in offspring, changes in liver enzymes, etc. Hence, firefighters nationwide are filing AFFF lawsuits.
In fact, the number of AFFF lawsuits has increased to the extent that they have now been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL). In January 2021, almost 950 AFFF lawsuits were pending in MDL in South Carolina Federal courts.
Factors Affecting AFFF Settlement Amounts
The amount you can expect to receive in firefighter foam cash settlements will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries: If you can demonstrate that you have suffered severe injuries due to AFFF contamination, it can impact settlement amounts. More severe injuries may result in higher compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and future healthcare needs.
- Financial resources of the institution: The financial strength and resources of the institution or company responsible for the AFFF contamination can influence settlement amounts. If the institution has substantial assets and financial resources, it may be more capable of offering larger settlements to affected parties. Conversely, if the institution is financially strained, it may limit the available funds for payouts, potentially leading to smaller settlements.
- Negotiation skills: The ability of the plaintiffs and their legal representatives to negotiate effectively with the responsible party or parties can impact settlement amounts. Skilled negotiators may secure more favorable settlements for their clients.
- Environmental damage: AFFF contamination can harm ecosystems, wildlife, and natural resources. Evidence of significant environmental damage, including soil and water contamination, can lead to higher settlement amounts to cover cleanup and restoration efforts.
- Cleanup costs: The cost of cleaning up AFFF contamination can significantly determine settlement amounts. Expenses related to soil and groundwater remediation, water treatment, and ongoing monitoring can drive settlement figures.
What AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts You Can Expect?
The amount of firefighter foam cash settlements will depend on how severe your injury is. For instance, if you were diagnosed with higher-stage cancer due to AFFF exposure, you may receive higher compensation.
In addition to this basic principle of compensation being based on injury severity, there are other factors, as mentioned above. All these factors can influence the firefighter foam cash settlements you receive for your particular case.
However, based on the previous settlements, you can expect the amount to be between $40,000 and $300,000. In the case of MDL or class action lawsuits, it also depends on how much the alleged party gives.
For instance, 3M has agreed on a tentative settlement of $10.3 billion to $12.5 billion, covering testing and remediation expenditures. This amount will be distributed among many plaintiffs. Since it is a large amount, the plaintiffs can expect to get a good cash settlement.
Health Risks Associated With AFFF Exposure
AFFF is a fluorinated chemical that can be used to put out fires. It’s also been linked to health risks in workers exposed to it, including different cancers.
Data shows that most male military personnel who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer are in the age range of 18-40 years. This is because that’s the average workforce age in the military department. Once you get past this age, you are likely a promoted personnel who doesn’t usually have to be exposed to AFFF.
How to Increase Your Chances of Winning AFFF Lawsuits
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, remember a few things. First and foremost, don’t give up. It can be tempting when the process never ends. But remember that even if your case takes years to settle, the result will be worth it.
Second, don’t settle for a low amount because it means you can get paid sooner. Settlements usually involve monetary compensation and an apology from the defendants involved in causing damage as part of their settlement agreement. Ensure that both parts of this agreement meet your satisfaction before accepting any settlement.
Third, you should hire an attorney to help with the legal procedure. Navigating the legal landscape without profound knowledge will be challenging. A lawyer can help you with the entire process. He or she can help collect evidence for your case, negotiate with the other party, and ensure you get the best settlement.
If possible, try looking for attorneys who work on a contingency basis. A contingency basis means that they don’t get paid unless they win. It’s also essential that these attorneys are experienced with similar cases.
If you suspect you have been exposed to AFFF and have suffered a health-related injury, knowing your rights is essential. You can file an AFFF lawsuit to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. However, some factors will affect how much money is awarded in these cases. These factors can influence the firefighter foam cash settlements you receive.