Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is crucial for putting out flammable liquid fires. It frequently finds use in diverse locations like military sites and chemical plants. 

However, recent revelations about the presence of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in AFFF have raised serious health concerns. This includes a potential link to cancer and other severe illnesses. 

According to, PFAS contributes to the foaming of the AFFF mixture, which aids in extinguishing fuel-based flames. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are two of the most prevalent PFASs found in AFFF. It is risky to be exposed to these substances over an extended period.

This has led to a surge in personal injury claims against manufacturers and other entities associated with AFFF. Establishing liability in AFFF personal injury claims can be complex, but with the right strategies, victims can navigate through it. In this article, we explore some key approaches to building a strong case in AFFF-related lawsuits.

Identifying Responsible Parties 

One of the initial challenges in the AFFF lawsuit is pinpointing the entities responsible for the victim’s exposure. Manufacturers like 3M and various chemical companies have produced AFFF over the years. Understanding the supply chain is crucial in holding the right parties accountable. 

According to Legal Business World, upon identification of the at-fault party, charges may include misrepresentation, negligence, and failure to warn.

Finding those accountable may involve having to trace the source of the used. According to TruLaw, legal teams often work with experts in the field who can help identify all potential defendants. These legal teams also play a crucial role in clarifying their roles in the distribution and use of AFFF.

Establishing Knowledge and Negligence 

To prove liability, plaintiffs must demonstrate that manufacturers and other entities knew about the health risks associated with AFFF. Gathering evidence of research, testing, and internal communications can help establish negligence on the part of these entities. 

This evidence might include company memos, studies, or safety assessments that indicate an awareness of PFAS-related risks. Plaintiffs may also seek testimony from former employees who can shed light on the inside knowledge within these organizations.

Documenting Exposure

Accurately documenting the victim’s exposure to AFFF and PFAS is crucial. This includes detailing the duration, frequency, and circumstances of exposure. 

Medical records, work history, and expert testimonies can all contribute to substantiating the claim. Additionally, gathering testimonies from witnesses who can attest to the victim’s regular use of AFFF can strengthen the case. Comprehensive proof of exposure shows a clear link between AFFF and the plaintiff’s health issues.

Demonstrating Causation

Establishing a causal link between AFFF exposure and the plaintiff’s health condition is a critical aspect of the case. Medical experts can provide invaluable insights into how PFAS may have contributed to a specific illness or injury. 

They can conduct thorough medical evaluations, review the victim’s medical history, and analyze scientific literature to demonstrate the connection. This may involve demonstrating the presence of PFAS in the victim’s body through blood tests.

Expert testimony is also crucial in convincing the court of the link between AFFF exposure and the plaintiff’s health problems.

Proving Failure to Warn 

According to JD Supra, AFFF is one of the most common products in PFAS-related civil lawsuits. The majority of these allegations revolve around misleading business practices and a failure to warn.

Liability can also hinge on the failure of manufacturers to adequately warn the public about the dangers of AFFF. Investigating whether appropriate warnings were provided and assessing their adequacy is essential. 

This may involve reviewing product labels, safety data sheets, and any communications or training materials distributed with AFFF. If these documents lack clear warnings regarding PFAS-related risks, it strengthens the argument that responsible parties failed to inform users. Legal teams may also explore whether manufacturers actively concealed or downplayed these risks, further supporting the failure to warn claims.

Exploring Industry Standards 

Examining industry standards, especially those set by organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), can help establish liability. If these standards mandated the use of AFFF or PFAS-containing equipment, it could potentially shift responsibility. 

Plaintiffs may argue that compliance with these standards forced them to use AFFF despite the known health risks. Attorneys can investigate whether these industry standards have been updated in response to emerging research on PFAS toxicity. This can potentially highlight a failure on the defendant’s part to adapt to new information within the industry.

Pursuing Compensation 

Finally, AFFF personal injury claims should include a request for reimbursement for medical expenditures, pain, lost earnings, and other losses. Experienced legal counsel can help you calculate the right compensation and navigate the legal procedure successfully. Victims should not underestimate the financial and emotional toll of health issues linked to AFFF exposure. 

Skilled attorneys can work with medical experts and economists to quantify the full extent of damages. This ensures that victims receive fair compensation to cover present and future medical needs. It also provides some measure of justice for the hardships they have endured. Plaintiffs should also be prepared for potential negotiations and be open to settlement discussions.

Key Takeaways

Navigating AFFF personal injury claims demands a multifaceted approach. Identifying liable parties, proving negligence, causation, and failure to warn are crucial in constructing a solid case. 

Furthermore, exploring industry standards and pursuing fair compensation are essential elements in seeking justice for those affected by AFFF-related issues. With diligence and expert legal representation, victims can strive to hold accountable those responsible for their suffering. 

The AFFF litigation also aims to secure the compensation needed to address their medical, financial, and emotional burdens. These strategies underscore the importance of addressing the serious health concerns surrounding AFFF exposure in a comprehensive and effective manner.