Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Lawyers
Were you exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam? Did you develop cancer or another type of illness as a result? The firefighting foam lawsuit lawyers from Hotze Runkle can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Firefighters and military members put themselves in harm’s way to save people’s lives and protect their property. They expose themselves to dangerous situations each day for complete strangers. Despite these risks, none of them were aware of the adverse effects of a chemical found in firefighting foam, and now these firefighters and their family members are paying the price.
The experienced firefighting foam lawsuit attorneys at Hotze Runkle have vast experience helping clients who have been injured by harmful chemicals used by corporations. We have the resources and capabilities to help you secure the compensation you deserve for your losses. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation so that you can learn about your rights. Call (877) 919-0830 today.
PFAS and its Side Effects
PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are synthetic organic compounds popular for their ability to create a barrier between two substances. This function is why aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) contained PFAS to combat highly-flammable liquids, such as jet fuel and petroleum.
For approximately 60 years, fire crews in the military used firefighting foam containing PFAS. It was also the only material the Federal Aviation Authority required in its firefighting materials until 2018.
Its prevalence among various industries throughout the country caused it to affect the environment, mainly the groundwater. PFAS can also enter the human body through breathing or ingestion. It’s known as a forever chemical because it never breaks down and stays in the body permanently.
Recent studies found that PFAS leads to a range of health problems, including:
- Fertility issues
- Increased risk of thyroid disease
- Damaged immune system
- Liver damage
- Impaired fetal and child growth
- Increased risk of asthma
- Changes in cholesterol
- Hypertension/preeclampsia in pregnant women
PFAS could also result in different forms of cancer, such as:
- Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
Who’s at Risk of Complications from Firefighting Foam?
Civilian firefighters and those who battled fires on military bases and at airports are at the highest risk of developing cancer or a serious medical problem. PFAS is not only found in AFFF but also in products people use every day, such as cookware and cleaning products. The chemical can leak into drinking water and harm people who never even came in contact with firefighting foam.
If you spent any time in the following areas, you might have had exposure to PFAS:
- Firefighter training areas
- Aircraft crash sites
- Oil refineries
- Bulk fuel storage farms
- Chemical plants
- Military airport hangars
- Flammable liquid processing and storage centers
Unfortunately, even individuals who never used firefighting foam could still get exposed to PFAS through their drinking water. Anyone living near an airport or military base could develop cancer from contamination of the groundwater.
Along with potential health problems, homeowners in PFAS-contaminated areas might have trouble selling their houses. The value of their home decreases significantly, and no one wants to buy their home because of the risks associated with the harmful chemicals.
Hold Manufacturers Responsible for the Dangers of Firefighting Foam
Manufacturers are at the center of lawsuits for allegedly knowing about the negative environmental and medical effects of firefighting foam but failing to disclose them to consumers. The manufacturers responsible for marketing firefighting foam containing PFAS include:
- 3M Company
- The Buckeye Fire Protection Co.
- Angus Fire
- National Foam
- The Ansul Co.
- Tyco Fire Products
- United Technologies Corp
- Kidde Fire Fighting, Inc.
Consumers trust that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers will provide products that are safe to use, and will come with warning labels if any dangers are associated with using it. However, sometimes a product ends up on the market despite any existing defects or dangers. When a manufacturer produces and sells a product they know can cause physical harm, that’s an act of negligence.
The theory of negligence in a product liability case includes the following five elements:
- The manufacturer owed a duty of care to the victim;
- The manufacturer breached that duty;
- The breach caused the injury;
- The manufacturer should have foreseen the risks; and
- The injured party suffered damages.
If you can prove these elements exist, you might be able to recover compensation for your damages.
What Are Damages?
In a civil lawsuit, you can collect a monetary award for the losses that resulted from your injury or illness. Damages are supposed to make the injured party whole. They include the past and future losses associated with an accident or specific event that caused physical or emotional harm.
In other words, if you got cancer from exposure to firefighting foam or PFAS, you can pursue compensation for the medical bills from chemotherapy and other expenses incurred, which are called economic damages. You can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering you endured, known as non-economic damages.
The economic and non-economic damages you can claim in a firefighting foam lawsuit may include, but is not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
A jury will review all your damages to determine how much you deserve. Economic damages are easy to calculate because they come with bills, invoices, and receipts. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are difficult to monetize. The amount of money you receive will be at the discretion of the jury, and what they believe is a fair value.
Some of the factors they will take into consideration when coming up with a fair financial award include:
- The severity of your medical issue
- Your total economic damages
- Duration of treatment
- Invasiveness of required surgery or procedures
- Time missed from work
- If there’s a permanent disability
- The negative impact on your daily routine
Some states place caps on non-economic damages to limit the amount of money a jury can award you. If there’s a cap for pain and suffering, you’ll only be able to receive compensation up to the limit legally allowed in your state.
You can also seek punitive damages if you believe the manufacturer’s actions were entirely egregious. Punitive damages are a monetary award, much like economic and non-economic damages. However, they punish the at-fault party rather than compensate the victim for their losses.
Why You Should Consider a Mass Tort Lawsuit
Many victims of PFAS contamination from firefighting foam decide to file individual lawsuits. However, it’s possible to join a mass tort lawsuit against the manufacturer. Mass torts involve a group of plaintiffs with similar injuries from the same product.
Mass torts are generally filed as a part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which means that cases across the country involving the same issue can be transferred to one court, which then handles all the discovery and pretrial proceedings for those cases.
What this essentially means is that lawyers representing plaintiffs across the country can work together and pool resources to litigate the case.
There are various advantages to joining a mass tort lawsuit rather than seeking compensation alone, including the following:
- Lawyers throughout the country can share information, resources, and evidence to help strengthen their case.
- Since lawyers can coordinate their efforts and share resources, the costs for litigating the mass-tort lawsuit will likely be reduced.
- Since the litigation process for the multiple plaintiffs is streamlined and handled in one court, by one judge, plaintiffs will likely receive a faster decision on their case than they would if they were filing their case alone.
- The defendant might feel pressure to settle because of the number of plaintiffs involved.
Why You Should Choose Hotze Runkle
Our firefighting foam lawsuit lawyers understand the traumatic experience you had to endure. It’s unfair to suffer from a disease caused by a product you thought was safe to use. You trusted the manufacturer, and they were careless with your life.
At Hotze Runkle, we believe in fighting for justice for our clients. You deserve financial compensation for your total damages, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for anything. Those responsible for the harm you experienced should pay.
We care about our clients and will provide you with excellent customer service. We dedicate our time, attention, and resources to ensure we reach a favorable outcome in the cases we handle. When you hire us, you can depend on open communication, one-on-one attention, and efficient work.
Our mass tort attorneys is ready to take your call and answer all your questions. If you want to schedule a consultation, we’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss your case and advise you on the options in front of you. Call us at (877) 919-0830 today to find out how our firefighting foam lawsuit lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve and get you back on your feet.