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Can family members recover compensation in a case of wrongful death AFFF exposure?

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed with the help of a specialized attorney by the surviving family members of a victim of AFFF exposure.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

Wrongful death lawsuits provide surviving family members with financial compensation

It is not right that you and your family should have to bear the awful physical and financial consequences caused by chemicals that were known by its manufacturers to potentially cause life-threatening diseases. It is in your best interest to contact Environmental Litigation Group, discuss your right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are a survivor of someone whose death was caused by years of exposure to film-forming foams containing toxic chemicals.

However, it is important to know that exposure must have occurred in occupational or military settings in order to qualify for recovering compensation on behalf of a deceased loved one, as only firefighters and military personnel who regularly worked with AFFF are eligible for filing a lawsuit. A lawyer with vast experience in pursuing toxic exposure cases will be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your family member who passed away.

What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death action?

When filing a wrongful death claim, the losses that the plaintiff seeks can fall under general and specific damages. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages are monetary awards that are easily quantifiable and include medical expenses, and past wage losses.

If you are the family member of someone who died from a medical condition caused by AFFF exposure, the economic damages might also include reasonable burial and funeral costs and your loved one’s lost inheritance rights.

Noneconomic damages are intangible losses that cannot be easily assigned a monetary value. These can include:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages of the deceased family member

Our attorneys have helped grieving families to collect millions in restitution for the loss of their loved ones

If you are a survivor of someone whose death was wrongfully caused by years of exposure to film-forming foams containing toxic chemicals, you have to begin the process of probating the deceased’s estate so that a personal representative can be appointed. Only the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, other beneficiaries, or dependents.

When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, your personal representative must prove that the other party was negligentand that this negligence resulted in your loved one’s death.

To obtain any form of compensation in a wrongful death case, one must also prove that he or she suffered financial damages as a result of the loved one’s death. Financial damages may include any medical expenses associated with the loved one’s injury and funeral expenses.

These damages may also include a general loss of income if you or your children were financially dependent on your loved one. While the legal process is significantly more complex in wrongful death cases, as solid evidence is necessary to support the lawsuit, a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases can help you recover compensation if one of your family members passed away due to a disease caused by AFFF exposure.

Your involvement will be minimal, as you will only have to provide your attorney with the employment or military records, the death certificate and the medical records of the deceased family member, documents that will be used to support your case. Therefore, while it may take longer to recover compensation in a wrongful death case, it is possible with the help of a specialized attorney, as the surviving family members of victims of AFFF exposure are eligible for financial compensation from the liable company.

Other related questions

The widespread public exposure to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals has prompted the EPA’s release of a PFAS “Action Plan” in February 2019. The plan focused almost exclusively on the perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) the main precursors in AFFF.

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Disability compensation for exposure to AFFF is available only for firefighters who served in the military. However, civilian firefighters can also recover compensation by filing a lawsuit against the company which manufactured the product.

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If you were exposed to AFFF by living in close proximity to a military base, which used the product, you do not qualify for compensation, as only firefighters and military personnel can take legal action.

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Although the PFOS and PFOA in AFFF can be harmful to the human body in any amount, exposure needs to occur for several years for a person to develop cancer.

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Exposure to PFOS and PFOA, the toxic chemicals in AFFF, can lead to the development of multiple serious diseases over the years, including kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

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The most accurate method to determine whether you have been exposed to chemicals is environmental monitoring, which is done by measuring the concentration of a chemical in the air and the duration of exposure to it.

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AFFF has been used for the last 50 years to extinguish class B fires by both civilian and military firefighters, as it is very effective. However, it contains PFOS and PFOA, two groups of dangerous chemicals.

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The duration of the legal process in cases of AFFF exposure can range between several months to one year, depending on how many companies are responsible for your exposure, as well as on the severity of your diagnosis.

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There are over 1.1 million volunteer and career firefighters throughout the country, out of which approximately 20% develop cancer as a result of AFFF exposure.

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Factors affecting compensation depend on the severity and circumstances of the exposure. Diagnosis of the condition associated with AFFF exposure is one of the primary factors used to start the case.

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