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Getting Covered for AFFF Exposure Related Ailments: The Boxes to Tick

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Getting Covered for AFFF Exposure Related Ailments: The Boxes to Tick 

It’s difficult to live and work as a firefighter. And if you thought marching into a building on fire, saving people trapped in it, and enduring a few bruises were the only challenges, there’s more to know. The fire extinguishing foam that they use has toxic chemicals in it that, when inhaled, cause cancer and other chronic ailments.

In November 2023, reported about Timothy Zych, a Missouri firefighter who was exposed to firefighter turnout gear and AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) during his years of service. Both carry toxic chemicals, which led him to develop prostate cancer. In his complaint, Timothy mentioned being exposed to increased levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) all through his career.

Today, there are several firefighters, like Timothy, who have filed lawsuits to get fair compensation. In this article, we will focus on the factors to consider when receiving the settlement payout.

Understanding AFFF and Its Allied Health Risks 

Simply put, AFFF is a synthetic-based foam manufactured for extinguishing combustible and flammable liquid fuel fires, for instance, flames involving oil and gas. 3M, the chemical giant, had developed this back in the 1960s, and it was used by the Fire Department globally for decades. Even the fire brigades used it frequently for their training exercises.

The foam contains “forever chemicals” like PFAS, which, instead of getting dissolved, stay in the environment and the human body, causing unwanted side effects. A few health risks linked with AFFF exposure are:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Hence, if you have been exposed to AFFF, which made you develop any life-threatening ailment, you can file a lawsuit and seek the compensation you deserve.

Receiving Settlement Payouts: Maximizing Your Chances

Most victims who have filed a lawsuit would want to receive their firefighter foam cash settlements to cover the damages and suffering they have endured. The criteria to qualify comprise a few essential factors. And while the specific requirements might vary based on the jurisdiction and circumstances, the essential boxes to check include:

Knowing Whether You Qualify for the Legal Claim

Here, you need to consult an expert lawyer who can evaluate your situation and decide if you are eligible to file a lawsuit. The criteria for eligibility are based on aspects like firefighting foam exposure, the extent of the injury or ailment, and the closeness to the contaminated sites.

Narrowing the Eligibility Criteria

Some specific people are eligible to file a firefighter foam lawsuit. An expert lawyer typically is aware of this and it helps to determine eligibility better. The criteria include:

  • People with occupational exposure: It includes industrial workers, firefighters, and military personnel who are exposed to AFFF because of their work. They have used this foam in industrial operations or training exercises and have been affected by it.
  • People who developed chronic diseases because of PFAS exposure: Individuals who have developed cancer or any other health issues like hormonal imbalance, immune system disorders, or liver damage can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit.
  • People residing close to contaminated sites: People who stay close to military bases, firefighting training facilities, airports, and industrial sites where firefighter foam was used, resulting in PFAS contamination in water and soil, can file a lawsuit.
  • Dependants of victims: In certain cases, the family members of the victims who are ailing from chronic ailments or have died because of AFFF exposure can seek legal compensation.

Collecting Crucial Evidence

To build a social case, it is essential to submit relevant evidence to support claims. TorHoerman Law states that a lawyer can help gather the necessary documents, like medical records, healthcare data, the duration of the AFFF exposure, and similar stories of others that might help. They will use every piece of vital evidence to establish the connection between AFFF exposure and the health problems of the victim.

Hence, if you have any evidence, such as news that mentions the AFFF manufacturer was aware of the health hazards but didn’t convey it to others, share it with your lawyer. They will use it correctly to make your claim strong.

Adhering to the Statutes of Limitations

The statutes of limitations apply to every state. It helps to define specific deadlines by which the victims should file their lawsuits. If you don’t file the lawsuit within the time mentioned, there is a good chance of the settlement payout getting canceled or delayed. When you adhere to the rules, you have a brighter chance of getting the compensation you rightfully deserve.

In conclusion, people often think that only firefighters or military personnel can file a firefighter foam lawsuit to get compensated. There are others too who stayed close to an AFFF-contaminated site, and have been severely affected, and can ask for legal assistance. If you think your health issue stems from inhaling AFFF, you need to get a medical diagnosis to prove the same.

Once you have the medical evidence, you can file a lawsuit and seek the monetary settlement amount to cover the economic and non-economic damages you’ve endured. Getting Covered for AFFF Exposure Related Ailments