AFFF Cancer Lawyers

AFF cancer lawyer

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a substance that firefighters use to extinguish flames. It contains dangerous compounds that have been linked to cancer and other illnesses. Firefighters and others exposed to AFFF regularly risk PFAS accumulating in their body and causing severe illness and disease, such as cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness as a result of continued use or exposure of AFFF, you might be eligible to seek compensation for your damages. Contact the knowledgeable AFFF Cancer Attorneys at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online or at 833-552-7274 to discuss the details of your condition, determine the viability of your claim, and learn about the next steps you can take.

We have developed this guide to provide in-depth information about three different areas: our experience advocated for those who have suffered injuries or illness as a result of negligence, the history, use, and dangers of AFFF, and the steps you need to take if you have suffered illness from exposure to AFFF. We also provide a comprehensive list of answers to FAQs so you can learn more about AFFF and the legal process to receive compensation until you have the chance to meet with one of our attorneys.

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Our AFFF Cancer Attorneys Advocate for Injured Victims

The skilled legal team at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have extensive experience advocating for clients who have contracted illness or disease or suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another individual or business. This includes those who suffered AFFF cancers due to their exposure to firefighting foam.

The firms’ commitment to client advocacy, professional excellence, and case preparation have led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars in damages for clients from settlements and jury awards. Recent case results range from almost $100,000 to more than three million for clients who suffered harm from negligence.

Each case has underlying facts and circumstances, so we cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your AFFF cancer claim. However, our team of diligent AFFF cancer lawyers at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have the knowledge and resources to build a strong case against the manufacturer, giving you the best chances of recovering compensation commensurate with losses incurred as a result of your cancer diagnosis.

What Is Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF)?

Aqueous film-forming foam is a substance that rapidly extinguishes fires. The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the substance in the 1960s when researching fire suppression. Firefighters heavily rely on AFFF to put out hydrocarbon fuels, common in aviation. The foam creates a film on the fuel that prevents evaporation and puts out a fire.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, major airports, refineries, and other places at risk for fuel-related fires widely use AFFF as the prime substance to extinguish a fire. Since 1979, AFFF or a modified form has been in use at close to 100 airports in the United States and many fire departments across the nation.

According to the United States Navy, the film that AFFF creates also has self-healing properties. When firefighters suffer scars from falling debris while fighting a fire, the film reseals the skin and prevents further damage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Cancer Society, however, have all labeled perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS)—compounds found in AFFF—as carcinogens.

Firefighters Are Not the Only People at Risk of Developing AFFF Cancers

2 Firefighting Foam Cancer Attorneys - Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PAMilitary personnel and firefighters face the most risk for developing cancer from their exposure to AFFF because their professions have required them to rely upon the substance to do their job. Several studies have shown that firefighters had higher levels of PFAS in their blood than others. Scientists from the University of Queensland studied fluorinated chemicals and found that firefighters who were exposed to AFFF had nine fluorinated compounds in their blood. Some of those compounds were only found in firefighters and other compounds were present at a much higher level than non-firefighters.

Another study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, studied the blood of firefighters in Southern California. Researchers found that concentrations of PFAS were three times higher in firefighters than those in the general population.

Firefighters are most definitely at risk for developing cancer from AFFF exposure, but they are not the only ones. People who live near areas where fire departments and military bases have used AFFF face risk of exposure, primarily because PFAS seeps into the ground and drinking water.

AFFF Environmental Contamination

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that dedicates its resources to protecting the environment. Through their research, they have identified 2,230 in 49 states that have PFAS contamination. Their interactive map shows clusters in Florida and California, with major contamination along most of the Eastern Seaboard. Lower Michigan as well as Colorado are also contamination hot spots.

If you live in any of these areas, it’s in your best interest to get screened for cancer, have your drinking water tested, and contact a reliable AFFF cancer attorney who can guide you through the claims process if necessary.

Protecting Yourself from Firefighting Foam Exposure and AFFF Cancers

Fortunately, airports stopped using AFFF in 2018 because of its link to cancer. Yet, firefighters and the Department of Defense still use AFFF. The newest AFFF has been modified to reduce some of its dangers, but experts argue that today’s fluorine-free foam is not as effective. Currently, the Department of Defense is funding research to study the adverse health effects of AFFF and to search for what they perceive as a viable alternative.

If you are a firefighter or active-duty military member who still uses AFFF regularly for your job, you can take some precautions to limit your exposure and reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Your actions will also protect others from exposure

  • Replace all AFFF stock with fluorine-free foam.
  • Manage and contain AFFF and contaminated water runoff.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and a self-contained breathing apparatus whenever you handle AFFF.
  • Use best practices when removing, transporting, and disposing of contaminated PPE.
  • Clean your face, neck, and hands immediately after exposure to AFFF and shower as soon as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect PPE and breathing equipment after each use.

Holding AFFF Manufacturers Liable for Harm

Manufacturers have a responsibility to bring products to market that are safe for consumption or use. Even when companies market their products as safe, they must inform users about any potential safety or health hazards. AFFF has been manufactured and marketed as safe by several companies since its original development by the United States Navy. This leaves those who suffered illness or disease questioning whether manufacturers knew they were selling an unsafe product to fire stations throughout the United States or whether they went through the proper testing procedures to ensure the product was safe for use.

Concerns about AFFF emerged as early as 1974. A report from a Naval research center revealed concerns about “a large raft of snow-white AFFF floating” into harbors. The Minnesota-based company who helped the Navy develop AFFF, 3M, assured the Navy that the large floating pieces of foam would not harm the environment. Navy scientists called for environmental improvements again in 1976 and proposed testing for toxicity as well as other changes regarding AFFF, but the Navy did not make all the desired changes.

In 1978, the Naval Ship Research and Development Center authorized the continued dumping of foam into harbors like San Diego and Norfolk, claiming the impact of the foam was not environmentally significant. It took well into the 1990s before 3M and the Navy began to take environmental concerns seriously. Ultimately, 3M took AFFF off the market and halted production because of concerns about exposure after studies showed adverse side effects.

Other manufacturing companies jumped on board to make AFFF for the military and civilian use throughout the United States and the world. Victims of AFFF exposure have sued 3M, but several other manufacturers also have made, sold, distributed, and marketed AFFF over the decades.

The following companies were named as defendants in recent or current lawsuits:

  • Buckeye Fire Equipment
  • Chemguard
  • The Chemours Company
  • Chubb Fire
  • Corteva
  • Du Pont de Nemours
  • Dynax Corporation
  • Enterra Corp.
  • Kidde Fire Fighting
  • National Foam
  • Tyco Fire Products
  • UTC Fire & Security America’s Corp.
  • Williams Holdings

If you have been diagnosed with cancer as a result of exposure to AFFF, your lawyer will evaluate your case and determine which company or companies might be liable for damages in a product liability suit.

Seeking Compensation After Developing AFFF Cancer from Firefighter Foam Exposure

If you have been diagnosed with cancer from exposure to AFFF, the law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to your diagnosis. Depending on your exact situation and prognosis, you might receive compensation for:

Medical Treatment Costs

Personal Injury LawyersMedical expenses associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment are expensive. Sometimes the massive cost can bankrupt a family. Medical treatment costs begin with your first visit to the doctor or emergency room to discuss the adverse effects or symptoms you experienced. This might have resulted in immediate hospitalization for days or weeks, but most definitely resulted in several diagnostic tests and doctor visits.

Whether a general practitioner or an oncologist, cancer symptoms typically require a battery of blood and urine tests. In some cases, patients must undergo endoscopic procedures, exploratory surgery, or less invasive diagnostic imaging. A complete and accurate diagnosis typically involves a variety of costly methods.

Once a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, treatment for their condition begins. The exact treatment plan depends on the type and location of cancer. Some patients might simply need surgery to remove one or more cancerous growths in their bodies. Other patients need to have chemotherapy and/or radiation to shrink tumors or treat blood-borne cancers like leukemia.

Lost Income

A cancer diagnosis almost always means a patient must miss work. Early-stage cancer that is treatable might only require missing a few weeks and days here and there for follow-up doctor visits. Unfortunately, late-stage cancer patients are not as fortunate. Aggressive cancer treatments can leave patients nauseous and in pain. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation treatments greatly reduce the body’s immune system, making it unsafe to go to work, even if a patient feels up to it.

The amount of time a person has to miss work as a result of their AFFF cancer diagnosis can add a significant amount of damages on top of costly medical treatment. Even in cases where late-stage cancer patients beat the odds and survive, they may never return to work. If you find yourself in this situation, your attorney will include lost earning capacity, or future lost wages in the value of your claim.

Pain and Suffering

The world is full of things that can cause illness and disease, many of which we all try to avoid, so we can live long happy lives. Developing cancer because of the negligence of an AFFF manufacturer creates a massive amount of pain and suffering for victims. Cancer patients must cope with the physical pain of their disease and treatment, as well as the painful and uncomfortable side effects often associated with cancer treatment.

The emotional pain and suffering that cancer patients face can sometimes be worse than physical pain. Pain medication cannot mask the financial pressure of medical bills and the inability to work; nor, can it help patients cope with the possibility that their treatment will not get rid of their cancer. Patients faced with a terminal case of cancer because of exposure to AFFF need to make plans for their death, oftentimes far sooner than they would otherwise.

When you bring a lawsuit against an AFFF manufacturer, your lawyer will ask for a specific amount of compensation based on your circumstances. Medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering, are examples of the most common damages. Your attorney will review your case and determine other damages for which you might receive compensation.

Common Types of AFFF Cancers

Civilian firefighters, airport firefighters, industrial employees, military firefighters, and others who have been exposed to AFFF have higher levels of fluorinated compounds (PFAS), in their blood than those in the general population. Those who live near military bases and other areas with high AFFF use also risk exposure through their drinking water. Fluorinated compounds greatly increase the chances of developing several types of cancer.

If you have been exposed to AFFF and have been diagnosed with cancer, you might have a case against one or more companies that manufactured or distributed AFFF. Contact an experienced AFFF cancer lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA or Sibley Dolman who can evaluate the viability of your claim and advise you on the best course of action.

Below we provide a broad overview of the common types of cancer associated with AFFF according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, symptoms, and common treatments for each type of cancer.

Kidney Cancer

Complications with kidneys and kidney cancer are among the most cited illnesses and diseases associated with exposure to PFAS from firefighting foam. Exact signs and symptoms of kidney cancer vary based on the type of cancer cells in the kidney, their location, and how long the cancer has been growing.

Responses to cancer in a kidney also varies among individuals, but can include:

  • Lower back pain on one side, indicating that one of your kidneys isn’t functioning properly
  • Blood in the urine, which is sometimes obvious and other times requires a lab test for detection
  • A lump on one side of the lower back that suggests the presence of a tumor on a kidney
  • Lethargy, weakness, or simply feeling tired all the time
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained sudden weight loss
  • Low red blood cell count
  • A persistent fever

A treatment plan for kidney cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. The ultimate goal is to shrink, eradicate, or remove any tumors or growths and prevent them from returning. Those who receive a late-stage kidney cancer diagnosis sometimes have little hope of removing cancerous cells. Yet, doctors will still administer treatments to help a patient remain comfortable in their final days, or buy them a little more time with their loved ones.

Testicular Cancer

Cancer in the testis is another common type of cancer associated with AFFF use and exposure. The American Cancer Society notes that for most men who develop testicular cancer, their first sign is a lump on one of their testicles, or a testicle swells or becomes enlarged. Some testicular tumors can be painful, but most men do not report experiencing pain. It’s more common to feel a dull ache in the abdomen or scrotum. If testicular cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, patients might feel lower back pain too.

In some cases, cancer cells in a testicle can secrete a substance that stimulates breast development, so testicular cancer patients might feel soreness in their breasts or experience growth. Like many other cancers, doctors treat testicular cancer with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination. Fortunately, the survival rate for testicular cancer is high, especially when patients visit a doctor early and symptoms are present.

Breast Cancer

FDA textured breast implants BIA-ALCL product liability claim cancer medical device lawsuit attorney FloridaFemale firefighters, airport employees, and military personnel exposed to AFFF risk developing breast cancer, especially if it’s in their family history. Many women discover a lump in their breast or changes in their breast tissue during self-exams that lead them to the doctor for further tests. Breast cancer has a reputation for being aggressive, which typically translates to aggressive treatment. Additionally, several types of growths, tumors, and cancerous cells can lead to breast cancer, each behaving differently in the body.

Ultimately, treatment options will hinge on how which stage of breast cancer a woman is in when they receive a diagnosis and the extent to which cancer has spread throughout the body. Treatment for breast cancer often includes chemotherapy and radiation, but sometimes women opt for breast removal instead of shrinking or removing tumors. Those who chose a single or double mastectomy also typically undergo reconstructive surgery for their breasts.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is among the most dangerous of all types of cancer resulting from AFFF exposure. Pancreatic cancer that occurs in a localized area gives patients a 37 percent survival rate over five years. Once cancer spreads in the region around the pancreas, the five-year survival rate drops to 12 percent. Part of the issue with pancreatic cancer is that symptoms rarely appear in early stages. By the time symptoms begin to present, cancer has spread beyond the pancreas.

Some common symptoms of late-stage pancreatic cancer include:

  • Jaundice, often identified by the yellowing of the skin, but dark urine, light-colored stool, and itchy skin can also indicate jaundice
  • Pain in the back or abdomen from cancer cells on the pancreas pushing on nearby organs
  • Little to no appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting, if cancer cells cause the pancreas to push on the stomach

Treatment for pancreatic cancer often includes removing the pancreas because our bodies can survive without it as long as we have supplementary medication to replace the organ’s job. Yet, if pancreatic cancer has spread internally, chemotherapy and radiation also typically play a large role in treatment.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, besides skin cancer, and those with high levels of AFFF exposure have an increased risk. Fortunately, most men do not die from prostate cancer because it is highly treatable. Detecting prostate cancer early is difficult because most men do not experience any symptoms.

As prostate cancer spreads, the following signs or symptoms might occur:

  • Changes in elimination such as increased frequency of urination, trouble urinating, or a weak urinary stream
  • Traces of blood in semen or urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hip, back, or chest pain if cancer has spread

Sometimes doctors remove the prostate, but prostate cancer spreads so slow, doctors typically opt for other treatments. Cryotherapy, freezing of cancerous cells in the prostate, is a common procedure. Doctors also sometimes use hormone therapy to stop or slow the growth of prostate cells. If a patient who has prostate cancer can withstand chemotherapy and/or radiation, these are also common treatments once the cancer grows to a level where treatment cannot be delayed.

In any case, oncologists typically spend a great deal of time observing the growth before treatment to make the right treatment choice at the right time.

Liver Cancer

Your liver is a vital organ that you cannot live without, making liver cancer one of the most dangerous and most fatal of cancers that result from AAAF exposure. Those who develop liver cancer might experience a wide range of symptoms.

Jaundice is often the most familiar, but can also indicate pancreatic cancer as mentioned above. Other symptoms that can indicate liver cancer include a loss of appetite, especially when accompanied by rapid and unintended weight loss. Those with liver cancer might also feel extremely full after eating a tiny meal. Liver cancer can also cause nausea and vomiting and make patients feel full under their ribs, which typically indicates an enlarged spleen or enlarged liver, depending on which side of the chest.

Like other forms of cancer, treatment for liver cancer depends on the size of tumors, their location, and to what extent the cancer has spread throughout the body. The liver is unique from other organs because its cells regenerate, which makes the surgical removal of tumors a viable option. In some cases, physicians also use chemotherapy and radiation to shrink cancerous tumors on the liver and prevent cancer from spreading to other organs.

Bladder Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, the first sign of bladder cancer is typically blood in the urine. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t typically mean urine is dark red. More often those with bladder cancer notice their urine looks orange or pink. In some cases, doctors discover trace amounts of blood in the urine when a patient undergoes a urine test as part of a physical exam or because of other symptoms.

When bladder cancer progresses to later stages, patients can experience other symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Urge to urinate when the bladder is not full
  • Trouble urinating or a weak urine stream

Treatment for bladder cancer highly depends on the stage. The most common treatment and diagnostic tool for oncologists is a transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT). A TURBT allows doctors to learn if someone has bladder cancer and whether the cancer has grown into the muscle layer along the wall of the bladder. During a TURBT doctors remove all possible cancerous cells that haven’t reached the wall of the bladder and sometimes do a second TURBT to make sure all the cancer has been removed.

Large tumors typically require surgery which includes removing some or all of the bladder. Yet, some cancer patients cannot undergo surgery, so doctors opt for chemotherapy and radiation. Additionally, when bladder cancer progresses to late stages it’s difficult, if not impossible, to remove all the cancerous cells, so doctors typically focus on slowing the growth of cancer with chemo and radiation.

Lymphoma

non-hodgkin lymphoma NHL cancer cauased by monsanto bayer roundup weedkiller - dolman law group roundup lawsuitLymphoma is a broad category of cancers that refers to those that start in some part of the body’s immune system. Some lymphomas might appear as a lump under the skin indicating a tumor on a lymph node. Other symptoms include recurring fevers and night sweats. If lymph nodes on the chest are impacted, those with lymphoma might experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.

Treatment for Lymphoma varies on whether it is a Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, its stage, and how aggressive the cancer is. Some forms of lymphoma can be cured and others require ongoing treatment. Indolent lymphomas spread slowly and often do not need immediate treatment. Conversely, aggressive lymphomas need immediate treatment. In most cases, doctors administer high dosages of chemotherapy to treat lymphoma and prevent its spread to other lymph nodes throughout the body.

Lymphoma develops in the body’s lymphocytes, which circulate throughout the blood after bone marrow produces them. In some cases, the only possible treatment for lymphoma patients is a bone marrow transplant. Testing for lymphoma in the bone marrow is a painful process in which a doctor typically inserts a needle into a person’s hip bone to remove a sample of bone marrow for testing.

Leukemia

AFFF exposure can also lead to leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood. Leukemia typically occurs in the white blood cells, other blood cell types can also develop leukemia. Several types of leukemia exist; some grow fast and others grow slowly. Leukemia is often difficult to detect because many do not experience symptoms. Doctors often discover leukemia when they order blood work for unrelated health issues or as part of a yearly check-up. Those with leukemia usually have vague symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society. Examples include weakness, lethargy, weight loss, and fever, all of which can be symptoms of many other illnesses or diseases.

Treatment options for leukemia vary widely bases on the type and how fast the cancer cells spread throughout the bloodstream. Chemotherapy is often not the go-to treatment for all types of leukemia. High doses of chemo drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage bone marrow, in turn, damaging blood production altogether.

When leukemia patients do not respond to low-dosage chemotherapy treatments or non-chemo medications that target cancer, doctors sometimes opt for a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant is a type of stem cell transplant which typically involves a leukemia patient receiving bone marrow from another person. Although strangers who match can donate, the best results from bone marrow transplants typically come from familial matches such as parent-child and siblings.

Bone marrow transplants help treat leukemia by allowing doctors to administer higher amounts of chemotherapy than they could otherwise, giving leukemia patients the best chance of recovery or remission.

AFFF Cancer FAQ

Common Questions to Ask Your LawyerLearning the dangers of AFFF exposure can be overwhelming for those who were required to use the foam for their job or live in areas where foam contaminates the environment and drinking water. Receiving a cancer diagnosis as a result of exposure is a life-changing event, even with a positive prognosis. If you have recently learned you have cancer from your exposure to AFFF, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your eligibility for compensation.

The following answers to frequently asked questions about AFFF, related cancer diagnoses, and the legal issues that surround your situation, provide an overview of the information you need to take further action.

How does aqueous film forming foam work?

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been the go-to solution for fires that involve highly flammable liquids like gasoline and oil. It’s also referred to as Class B foam, in contrast to Class A foam which is used to put out wood, paper, and brush fires. When firefighters or others who use AFFF apply it to a fire, it forms a film that spans the surface of a fire and effectively extinguishes it.

The foam works because it suppresses the liquid vapor that spreads from a fire. Vapors from highly flammable liquids are as dangerous and flammable as the liquid itself and the foam suffocates fire so it cannot spread. Additionally, the foam in AFFF also has a cooling effect that prevents hot flammable liquids from reigniting once extinguished.

What is in AFFF?

AFFF contains a wide variety of substances including solvents, preservatives, and stabilizers. The ingredients that make AFFF hazardous to your health are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS is a large group of man-med chemical compounds that you can find in all types of consumer products, mostly nonstick products, waxes, paints, polishes, and cleaning products. Firefighting aqueous film-forming foam solutions often contain two PFAS compounds—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

The biggest danger associated with PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, is that they do not disintegrate. Instead, they remain in the environment, seeping into peoples’ bloodstream, whether through exposure or consumption of contaminated food or water. AFFF use sometimes contaminates groundwater, which can also contaminate fish.

Does all AFFF contain PFAS?

No. With so many health conditions and diseases linked to exposure to AFFF with PFAS, foam manufacturers and the Department of Defense have developed and continue to test fluorine-free AFFF which does not contain PFOA or PFOS. Some AFFF users have opted for the fluorine-free alternative, but researchers are still learning more. Currently, scientists do not have the data or the data surrounding fluorine-free foam is unreliable.

Those who manufacture fluorine-free foams do not provide complete ingredient lists and release sensitive intellectual property, so the safety of fluorine-free foams and whether they are truly free from PFOA and PFOS is still in question. Thus far, researchers have not studied the impact of fluorine-free foams and their ingredients on humans and the environment. Even though some AFFF does not contain PFAS, the alternative might be just as hazardous to your health. Until science catches up, it’s in your best interest to avoid exposure when possible.

How does AFFF lead to cancer?

AFFF does not directly cause cancer, but it is the first link in a well-documented and likely chain of events that can result in a cancer diagnosis. As mentioned above, the key factor that links aqueous film-forming foam to cancer is the presence of PFAS. Ultimately, cancer might occur when a person has continued build-up of PFOA or PFOS in their blood from continued exposure to AFFF.

Scientists have done a range of lab studies and human studies to examine the link between PFAS and cancer. Lab studies show that exposing animals to large doses of PFAS increased the risk of tumors in the liver, testicles, breasts, and pancreas. Also, studies of those with high exposure to PFOA or PFOS reveal possible links to several kinds of cancer.

Some agencies have made definitive statements about PFAS, especially PFOA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified PFOA as a possible carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also found evidence that suggests PFOA causes cancer, especially in lab animals.

How much exposure to AFFF is dangerous for my health?

Simply being exposed to AFFF for a few hours or weeks typically does not lead to major illness. In most cases, it takes a few years from the first exposure for illness or disease to develop. Yet, each person reacts differently. Underlying health issues can decrease the time it takes for exposure to lead to cancer or other diseases.

The risk of developing one of the many types of cancer associated with AFFF also depends on how much of the foam someone has encountered and the duration of their exposure. This creates a much greater risk for developing cancer for those who regularly encounter AFFF in their jobs, such as firefighters and military personnel.

When someone is exposed to AFFF, PFAS chemicals enter their blood, kidney, and liver. The concentration in someone’s body increases with regular exposure. Some exposure occurs when people swallow small airborne particles during use, absorb chemical vapors through their skin, or inhale the dangerous chemicals in the air.

Can I sue my employer after a cancer diagnosis from AFFF exposure?

Generally, you’ll file a claim against your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance and file suit against the workers’ comp carrier if it fails to pay the benefits you deserve under the law. Workers’ compensation claims do not factor in fault or liability and help to cover a portion of lost wages and medical expenses for employees that have a viable claim. Typically, if you develop cancer from occupational exposure to AFFF, the only situations in which you might sue your employer are if they threaten or try to retaliate against you for filing a claim.

Many employees who have been exposed to AFFF work for government entities. Cities, states, and the federal government have sovereign immunity that protects them from employee lawsuits in many situations, so suing a fire department or a city’s airport commission is a tough road. It’s in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience with occupational illness and toxic exposure in the workplace.

Our lawyers can advise you on the best path to recover compensation for your damages based on your circumstances and let you know whether your case warrants bringing a suit against your employer.

Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits after exposure to AFFF in the workplace?

If you work in the private sector and have received a cancer diagnosis as a result of your occupational exposure to aqueous film-forming foam, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The exact formula for benefits varies among states, but generally, you can receive medical costs and a portion of lost wages if you have a viable claim.

Those with approved workers’ compensation claims typically receive compensation for medically necessary treatment related to their occupational injury or illness. This includes costly surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments that are often associated with cancer treatment.

In most states, workers’ compensation benefits provide payments to compensate ill or injured workers for two-thirds of their average weekly salary. Workers’ compensation is valuable for those who qualify, but it leaves an income gap. Additionally, workers’ comp benefits do not compensate employees for the physical and emotional pain and suffering they must endure, which is especially relevant for those who must go through cancer treatment.

In the event a loved one died as a result of cancer from AFFF exposure, workers’ compensation does offer death benefits for eligible surviving family members. Your attorney can answer questions you have relating to survivors’ benefits and let you know if you qualify.

Who is responsible for my AFFF cancer diagnosis?

You are not the first person to cope with the scary, sometimes tragic cancer diagnosis as a result of exposure to the harmful chemicals in AFFF. Thus far, attorneys have helped those exposed hold AFFF manufacturers financially liable for damages and losses related to their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Although the Department of Defense coupled with 3M, a Minnesota-based manufacturer, to create AFFF, several other companies have manufactured firefighting foam in recent decades. An experienced AFFF cancer attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on whom you should name as a defendant in a lawsuit.

How long do I have to take legal action after developing cancer from AFFF exposure?

Statutes of limitations for personal injury lawsuits vary from one to four years depending on which state you live in. Typically, the time clock starts on the day of injury. Developing cancer from repeated exposure to AFFF takes a few years, so these cases often fall under a delayed discovery rule. Delayed discovery allows for those who suffer occupational illness to begin their statute of limitations time clock from the time they discovered their illness or should have discovered it.

Delayed discovery offers flexibility with the time frame for bringing a lawsuit, but you still should not delay contacting an attorney. If you wait too long, you risk losing the opportunity to recover compensation for damages related to your cancer diagnosis. Instead, you need to contact a lawyer as soon as you learn you have developed cancer.

What types of compensation can I receive?

If you bring a lawsuit against the AAAF manufacturer of the foam you were exposed to and you reach a settlement or the court rules in your favor, you might recover several types of compensation for damages and losses related to your cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Compensation often includes money for:

  • Medical expenses including ambulance services, emergency room visits, surgeries, diagnostic testing, chemotherapy, radiation, medication, and travel expenses to and from the doctor/hospital
  • Future medical treatment costs if your cancer led to a condition requiring ongoing treatment such as kidney dialysis
  • Lost wages from time away from work for cancer treatment and recovery
  • Lost future wages in cases where your cancer prevents you from returning to your job in the future
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium if applicable

Your attorney will evaluate your AFFF cancer claim and advise you on the types of damages you can ask for in a personal injury lawsuit.

How much compensation can I receive from my AFFF cancer claim?

lawsuit AFFF firefighting foam attorney Clearwater Florida cancer PFOS PFAS PFOAAlthough those who have been diagnosed with cancer from AFFF exposure share many of the same struggles, each claim is different, making it impossible to predict an exact amount of compensation. Those diagnosed with later-stage cancers that require more treatment and hospitalization also must typically cope with more physical and emotional pain and suffering.

If you bring a personal injury suit against an AFFF manufacturer, your attorney will assess your tangible economic losses and place a monetary value on your pain and suffering and other losses that are more difficult to quantify. You can be sure the other side will find the value of your claim is much lower than what you and your lawyer believe it is, but those with more loss typically receive more compensation.

Can I receive compensation if I lost a loved one due to cancer from AFFF exposure?

If someone you love has lost their fight with cancer after exposure to firefighting foam, you might receive compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. Eligible family members can bring a wrongful death suit against the AFFF manufacturer to seek damages for their loss. This often includes funeral expenses, burial costs, and compensation for damage to relationships, such as loss of parental guidance and support for dependent children and loss of companionship for a widow/widower.

An experienced AFFF cancer attorney can answer any further questions you have about a wrongful death lawsuit.

Steps to Take After Receiving a Cancer Diagnosis from Exposure to AFFF

If your doctor has diagnosed you with one of the cancers mentioned above or others we did not cover, you have legal options as you go forward. The same is true if you have lost a loved one as a result of cancer that is related to exposure to firefighting foam. Below we offer more information about bringing a lawsuit related to AFFF cancer, about how a personal injury lawyer can help you, and about Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman.

Should I Bring a Lawsuit After a Cancer Diagnosis From AFFF Exposure?

In the event you want to take legal action after developing cancer from your exposure to AFFF, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine your eligibility for damages. If you have a viable claim, your lawyer will most likely advise you to bring a product liability lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. Here is a broad overview of each:

Product liability lawsuit. Product liability suits are personal injury suits that involve plaintiffs who bring a claim against a negligent manufacturer to seek compensation for damages related to injury or illness. Any company that designs, manufactures, distributes, or sells a consumer product might be financially liable for compensation if a defective product causes injury or illness.

Those responsible for bringing a product to the market have a duty to ensure their product is safe for public use or consumption. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers had the responsibility to warn fire departments and other entities about the dangers and health risks associated with exposure to the harmful PFAS chemicals in AFFF. Evidence suggests that manufacturers knew about the dangers and did not take necessary measures to protect workers and others who have been repeatedly exposed to AFFF.

Whether you are currently going through treatment or have completed cancer treatment, your attorney will likely advise you to sue the product manufacturer(s) relevant to your case. The company might be willing to settle depending on the circumstances, or they might completely deny financial liability and refuse to negotiate, forcing you to go to trial. If you reach a settlement or the court rules in your favor, you might receive compensation for damages related to your cancer diagnosis and treatment.

wrongful death injury claim lawsuit attorney FloridaWrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members of a person who died from cancer as a result of AFFF exposure can sometimes recover compensation for their losses depending on their relationship with the deceased. Eligible survivors can bring a wrongful death claim against the AFFF manufacturer to recover damages. The idea of a wrongful death suit is the same in most states, but the exact mechanisms and laws involved with the suit vary among states.

Some states separate the idea of a wrongful death action and a survival action, and those who can bring the suit or receive the compensation differ among states.

Three key pieces of information you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits include:

  • Surviving spouses and children can usually bring a wrongful death claim, but sometimes parents of the deceased my also bring a claim or receive compensation. In some states, eligible survivors cannot technically file a claim, but a personal representative of the deceased or the estate of the deceased must bring a wrongful death lawsuit. You need not worry about these finer details. Your attorney will advise you on proper procedures in your state.
  • In some states, survivors bring a wrongful death suit in conjunction with a survival action. These two civil actions compensate eligible family members for different aspects related to the loss of their loved ones. You can think of a survival action as a personal injury lawsuit that someone else brings on behalf of the deceased. Had the deceased survived cancer, he or she could seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Typically, the estate of the deceased brings a survival action and distributes any settlement or jury award by following the state’s intestate laws.
  • In states where wrongful death suits are separate from survival actions, the wrongful death suit focuses specifically on damages related to the death of a loved one. Examples include costs for funeral services and burial or cremation and reimbursement for any medical expenses family members covered. Wrongful death actions also typically include compensation for non-economic damages related to the loss of a loved one. Surviving spouses sometimes receive compensation for loss of companionship. Dependent children sometimes receive compensation for loss of parental guidance and support.

If you lost a family member to cancer from AFFF exposure, the skilled legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can advise you on the best path to recover damages for you and your family.

How To Prove Negligence in Your AFFF Cancer Case?

If you consult with an AFFF cancer attorney, and they confirm you have a viable claim, it does not automatically mean you will win your case and receive compensation for losses related to your cancer diagnosis. In a product liability lawsuit or a wrongful death suit, you, with the help of your lawyer, must prove the defendant was negligent to prevail in your case.

Proving negligence includes four elements:

  • Duty. The manufacturer, or other liable party, has a duty to consumers to bring safe products to the market and provide proper instructions for use and warnings about dangerous aspects of the product. Establishing duty is not as difficult in product liability cases as other types of personal injury cases.
  • Breach of Duty. You must show the manufacturer, or other party, breached their duty, or legal obligation to you.
  • Harm. You must have suffered harm. A cancer diagnosis, treatment, or death, certainly qualifies as harm.
  • Causation. You must show that the breach of duty caused, directly or indirectly, harm. In product liability cases, establishing a breach of duty and causation presents the most challenges for your case, but an experienced attorney knows how to apply the law to your case to help you get the maximum amount of compensation commensurate for losses related to your cancer diagnosis.

Strict liability in AFFF cancer cases. In many states, product liability cases fall under the umbrella of strict liability laws. Plaintiffs can’t determine exactly where a breach of duty occurred during a product’s journey to the market. Strict liability does not rely on a breach of duty or assigning fault to a defendant. Instead, companies who sell, distribute, or make AFFF can be liable to anyone who suffers injuries, regardless of whether they took all steps to prevent any kind of defect.

If strict liability applies to your case, your attorney must prove the following for you to prevail:

  • The AFFF you were exposed to was unreasonably unsafe or hazardous when it was made or sold.
  • The seller expected and intended that the AFFF would reach users without any changes to the product.
  • You suffered injury or illness from the AFFF.

Even with strict product liability, you do not automatically win your case. The manufacturer might try to argue that you knew the risk of AFFF and you did not take proper safety precautions during use or that something else caused your cancer. You must have a knowledgeable attorney who can advocate for you.

How To Maximize Your Recovery of Damages?

When you hire an experienced attorney with the knowledge and resources to help you recover damages, they will fight for you. Yet, you need to do your part to help your case.

The most important things you can do to help maximize your chances of prevailing in your AFFF cancer lawsuit include:

  • Keep all of your doctor appointments. Once you noticed you weren’t feeling quite right and went to the doctor, you likely had to undergo a wide range of diagnostic tests for your doctor to confirm you had cancer. Maybe you’ve only received a diagnosis, maybe you’ve begun treatment, or maybe you’ve completed cancer treatment. Regardless of where you are on the timeline after your cancer diagnosis, keep all of your medical appointments. Not only is it important for your health, but you need to provide evidence that you have followed your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Failure to follow the treatment plan you agreed on with your doctor could give the defense grounds to argue your cancer progressed further because you did not follow your doctor’s orders. Ultimately, this could reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
  • Keep track of your medical expenses. Your attorney will place a value on your claim that includes pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages. Pain and suffering is difficult to quantify, but your attorney will take care of that. Payroll records are simple to obtain too. Someone who makes one emergency room visit could end up with four or more medical bills including ambulance, hospital stay, doctor visit, and medication. Undergoing cancer treatment is costly. You not only have medical bills for surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but a wide range of accompanying services, all of which might come from different billing departments. Keep all of your medical bills—even the ones your health insurance covers—and make sure to give copies to your lawyer, so he or she can include them in the value of your claim.
  • Keep a journal. Physical and emotional pain and suffering and other non-economic impacts on your life will likely be part of your AFFF claim. Your lawyer will determine the value of damages you ask for in a lawsuit, but you can help that process by providing as much information as possible. One of the best ways to communicate the impact of cancer on your life is by keeping a journal. Write down any mental or physical struggles you have every day. If you are too weak or ill to write while going through treatment, enlist a loved one to help you out. You can tell them how you’re feeling, and they can record it in a journal.

How an AFFF Cancer Lawyer Help with Your Case?

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer as a result of your exposure to AFFF, you need to focus on treatment and recovery; your health is the top priority. Let an experienced attorney handle the details of your case. Lawyers do more than simply file paperwork though.

Your lawyer will help you with your AFFF cancer claim in the following ways:

  • Investigate your claim. Your attorney will evaluate your case to understand how your exposure occurred and uncover relevant facts to build a strong case against the AFFF manufacturer. This includes gathering evidence and security expert witnesses if necessary.
  • Negotiate your case. Attorneys are trained negotiators who know how to deal with intimidating legal defense teams and insurance companies who are only worried about their bottom line. Your lawyer can handle communication with relevant parties and negotiate to get you the compensation you deserve.
  • Litigate your case. Sometimes settlement simply is not an option and you have to go to trial. Your attorney can fight it out in the courtroom when the defendant refuses to negotiate or has unfair expectations for a settlement.

Contact Us Today to Learn More About How Our AFFF Cancer Attorneys Can Help You

Matthew A Dolman Esq

Matt Dolman, AFF Cancer Lawyer

A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and scary, and knowing it could have been prevented makes matters worse. Treatment is costly and you deserve the best to give you the best chances of survival. If you’ve made it through treatment you deserve compensation for the emotional and physical pain and suffering that comes with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.

The skilled legal team at Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA serve clients who have developed cancer throughout the nation from our many Florida offices. Don’t delay getting the legal help you need. Contact us today online or at 833-552-7274 to learn more about how we can help.


Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA – Clearwater Office
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900

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