Queens Firefighter Gear Injury Lawyer
We are Investigating AFFF Firefighter Foam Lawsuits in New York
Firefighters face danger each time they go out on a call. And while there is no way to ever mitigate against all of the risks inherent in the profession, the one thing that firefighters should expect is that their own equipment will not make them sick. Yet there is mounting evidence that the presence of toxic chemicals in commonly used firefighter gear significantly increases the risk of developing life-threatening cancers.
The firefighter gear injury lawyers at Sullivan & Galleshaw are prepared to work with you if you have reason to believe that your own cancer or other serious health condition may be related to the presence of these toxic chemicals. While there is still much we still need to learn about this issue, there have already been multiple lawsuits filed throughout the country seeking to hold the manufacturers of firefighter gear responsible. And these cases are grounded in solid scientific evidence suggesting a direct connection between the presence of these chemicals and cancer diagnoses.
The Danger Posed by Toxic PFAS Chemicals and “Firefighter Foam”
Back in the 1940s, big business started manufacturing products using a group of manmade chemicals under the name of “poly and perfluoroalkyl substances,” or PFAS for short. Today, there are thousands of PFAS chemicals in use. A National Geographic report noted that PFAS is used in “everything from household items to fast food wrappers.” These chemicals are popular largely due to their resistance to “moisture, heat, and stains,” National Geographic said, a result of the fact that PFAS substances are made by combining carbon and fluorine, “one of the strongest bonds that can be made in organic chemistry.” This means PFAS-based chemicals break down very slowly, if at all. Indeed, many scientists refer to PFAS as the “forever chemical”
What does this have to do with firefighters? Well, most of the “bunker gear” used by firefighters here in New York City and around the country contain significant amounts of PFAS chemicals. This includes many commonly used fire-suppressing foams.
According to a December 2020 report by Bloomberg Law, the issue now before the courts is whether PFAS is “getting to firefighters’ bodies and accumulating there.” PFAS is absorbed into the body’s skin through sweat, Bloomberg noted, and while firefighting garments typically contain a thermal liner, PFAS particles can still break through to the skin from the outer shell and moisture barrier.
Lawsuits have already been filed against a number of firefighter gear manufacturers, including 3M Company and Johnson Controls Inc. The firefighter plaintiffs in these cases have alleged they developed various forms of cancer as a result of PFAS exposure, including but not limited to:
- testicular cancer;
- pancreatic cancer;
- bladder cancer
- kidney cancer;
- prostate cancer;
- liver cancer;
- leukemia; and
What Compensation Can Firefighters Seek Due to Toxic PFAS Exposure?
In any product liability case, the plaintiff is entitled to seek monetary damages, which reflect their economic and non-economic losses caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct. So if you can prove your cancer was the result of PFAS exposure from firefighter gear or fire-retardant foam, you may receive compensation for any or all of the following:
- Medical Bills – This includes the cost of any treatments related to your cancer or other PFAS-related health condition, such as hospital bills, prescription medications, and even expected future expenses.
- Loss of Income – If cancer has left you unable to work or limited your potential for earning income in the future, you may seek damages for these losses as well.
- Non-Economic Damages – Cancer causes more than quantifiable financial losses; it also creates a significant amount of pain and suffering, as well as other forms of emotional distress and an overall loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages are designed to compensate these losses, which are by definition intangible.
An Overview of Steps to Take to Bring an AFFF Injury Claim in New York
Were you or a close family member subject to potentially toxic levels of AFFF? You are not alone. Sadly, many firefighters in New York City, New York State, and nationwide are dealing with similar issues. Justice is within reach. During these challenging times, you need to know what to do to protect yourself and your family. The following are five important steps to take:
- Prioritize Medical Care: The first step is to ensure that medical needs are handled. The highest priority should be placed on getting the right medical treatment, both now and going forward. Any person who suffers from cancer or another illness related to AFFF needs comprehensive, top-quality medical care.
- Speak to a New York City AFFF Lawsuit Attorney: Firefighter foam claims are complicated. You do not want to miss out on your opportunity to pursue justice. Our New York City defective product lawyers can review your case and protect your rights.
- Obtain Your Works Records or Military Service Records: A required aspect of the legal claims process, it is necessary to show proof of exposure to AFFF. In general, exposure is proven through one’s work records or military records.
- Prepare Your Medical Records: Medical evidence is key in an AFFF firefighter lawsuit claim. Make sure that you have access to the comprehensive medical information that you will need to provide the extent of your illness/medical complications.
- Know how to Navigate a Class Action Claim: Several thousand AFFF lawsuits are in progress in the United States. Our New York City AFFF firefighter lawyer attorneys can help you navigate the class action litigation and mass tort claims process.
AFFF Firefighter Foam Lawsuits: January 2023 Update
The litigation involving AFFF is still in its relatively early stages. For the most part, the legal claims were initiated following a detailed report in 2020 from the EWG. The report was a key factor in leading to a federal appropriations bill that will phase out the use of firefighter foams containing AFFF at federal DOD facilities by the end of next year. Here is what we know about the state of firefighter foam lawsuits as of January of 2023:
Class Action Litigation is Ongoing: It is believed that many firefighters in New York and throughout the United States were exposed to potentially toxic levels of PFAS in firefighter foams. Multidistrict litigation (MDL) started in 2019 (MDL No. 2873).
A Bellwether Case Was Recently Picked: Last all, a so-called “bellwether” AFFF firefighter foam case was picked. A bellwether case in class action litigation is a representative case chosen to be tried before a jury, which serves as a test case to gauge how a larger group of similar cases may be decided. The outcome of a bellwether trial is often used to help the parties in the class action litigation come to a settlement.
Major AFFF Trials are Expected to Proceed in 2023: There are many AFFF firefighter foam lawsuits underway. 2023 is expected to be an important year for this type of class action litigation. Our New York product liability attorneys will keep a close watch on all legal and legislative developments to ensure that we can best serve our clients.
Firefighter Foam Lawsuits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is AFFF firefighter foam?
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a type of fire suppressant foam used by firefighters.
Why are there lawsuits about AFFF foam?
AFFF foam contains PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to health problems and contamination of water sources.
What are the health risks associated with AFFF foam?
PFAS chemicals have been linked to cancer, thyroid disorders, and other health problems.
What kind of compensation can be sought in AFFF foam lawsuits?
People affected by AFFF foam may be able to seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability/disfigurement, and other costs.
How the New York Product Liability Attorneys at Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP Can Help
Product liability claims are complicated—and AFFF firefighter foam lawsuits are certainly no exception to the rule. This is a rapidly developing and complex case. At the law offices of Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP, we have the skills and expertise to represent victims and families in class action litigation and mass tort claims. When you reach out to one of our New York City law offices, you will have an opportunity to consult with a defective product lawyer who can:
- Conduct a free, comprehensive review of your AFFF firefighter foam claim;
- Answer your legal questions and explain the next steps in the process;
- Investigate the matter, gathering medical records and other key evidence;
- Represent you in any settlement negotiations with defendants/insurers; and
- Take all necessary legal steps to protect your rights and maximize your AFFF compensation.
Contact a Dedicated Queens Firefighter Gear Injury Lawyer Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Every day, we learn about more cases of firefighters–and others exposed to PFAS chemicals–who have developed cancer and other serious health ailments. If you suspect PFAS exposure is the root cause of your own condition, it is in your best interests to speak with a New York City firefighter gear injury attorney.
The team at Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP, can review your case and help you decide whether legal action is necessary and warranted to obtain financial compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 718-843-0300 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.