Will the Personal Injury AFFF Lawsuits Settle in 2024?


Personal injury lawsuits related to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) have been a significant concern and contention over the past several years. AFFF, a firefighting foam containing per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), has been linked to various health issues, including cancer. As the number of lawsuits continues to rise, the question on many minds is whether these cases will be resolved in 2024.

This article tries to answer that question by considering the latest updates and proceedings in the AFFF multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Understanding the AFFF Crisis

Military and civilian fire departments have widely used AFFF for decades due to its effectiveness in suppressing flammable liquid fires. However, concerns have emerged regarding the environmental and health impacts of PFAS, which are persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals found in AFFF.

PFAS have been associated with a range of health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, and immune system dysfunction. An NCBI study states that AFFF is one of the biggest sources of PFAS exposure among firefighters. This PFAS exposure is associated with numerous types of cancers, such as testicular, kidney, thyroid, bladder, etc.

The widespread use of AFFF has contaminated soil, water, and air near firefighting training facilities, military bases, and airports. As communities affected by PFAS contamination have sought accountability and compensation, AFFF lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers.

The Legal Landscape

According to TruLaw, plaintiffs in these cases typically allege that exposure to PFAS-containing AFFF caused or contributed to their health problems. Thus, they seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. On the other hand, defendants often deny liability or argue that plaintiffs cannot definitively prove that AFFF caused their health issues.

One significant challenge in these lawsuits is establishing a causal link between AFFF exposure and specific health outcomes. PFAS has been detected in the blood of most Americans, including those who have never been directly exposed to AFFF. This makes it difficult to attribute health problems solely to AFFF exposure.

Additionally, PFAS have long half-lives in the human body, further complicating efforts to establish causation. These complications have prevented quick proceedings in AFFF lawsuits. According to the latest JPML filings, more than 300 new lawsuits were added to the MDL in April 2024. Thus, the total number of pending lawsuits now stands at 8,061 as of May 2024.

Recent Developments

Several significant developments in AFFF litigation have occurred in recent years that may influence the likelihood of settlements in 2024. One key development is the settlement of some community and government cases.


The Department of Defense (DOD) started using PFAS-based AFFF in the 1970s. However, according to ABC News, its harmful effects were recognized only after several decades, leading to widespread water pollution. Therefore, many municipalities filed lawsuits against manufacturers and DOD.

Most of these cases have been settled recently, including 3 M’s settlement. As AP News states, 3M reached a settlement of $10.3 billion over the contamination of water sources.

However, the personal injury lawsuits filed by firefighters, military personnel, and other individuals exposed to AFFF still don’t have any scheduled hearings. One good thing, though, is that they have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Another important factor is the growing scientific research linking PFAS exposure to specific health outcomes. As scientific understanding of PFAS toxicity improves, plaintiffs may have an easier time establishing causation in court. This will likely pressure defendants to settle rather than risk unfavorable verdicts.

Furthermore, the increasing public and regulatory scrutiny of PFAS contamination has heightened awareness. This may influence the attitudes of both plaintiffs and defendants toward settlement negotiations. Public pressure for accountability and compensation for PFAS-affected communities could incentivize defendants to settle rather than engage in protracted legal battles.

The Outlook for 2024

Given the complexities and uncertainties surrounding AFFF litigation, predicting the outcome of these lawsuits in 2024 is challenging. While some cases may settle out of court, others may proceed to trial, especially if defendants are unwilling to offer favorable terms.

Additionally, new plaintiffs may continue to emerge as awareness of PFAS contamination grows and more individuals become aware of potential health effects. Ultimately, the resolution of AFFF lawsuits in 2024 will depend on various factors, including the strength of the plaintiff’s evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are PFAS, and Why Are They So Concerning?

PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are a class of synthetic compounds recognized for their heat resistance and oil and water-repelling qualities. They’ve been employed in various consumer items, including AFFF, nonstick cookware, and waterproof clothes. Concerns about their permanence in the environment, bioaccumulation in human bodies, and potential health risks are raised.

Who May Bring an AFFF Lawsuit?

Individuals exposed to AFFF and who have incurred injury may be able to launch a lawsuit against the relevant parties. These persons may include firemen, military personnel, citizens near AFFF-contaminated sites, and workers in industries that employ AFFF.

What Sorts of Damages Can Plaintiffs Seek in an AFFF Lawsuit?

Plaintiffs in AFFF claims can seek various damages, including reimbursement for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.


The possible damages vary depending on each case’s facts and the applicable legislation in the country where the action is filed.

Are There Any Active Regulatory Actions Involving AFFF?

Regulatory organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been working to remediate PFAS pollution and restrict AFFF usage. These steps include establishing drinking water regulations, conducting toxicity evaluations, and cleaning polluted areas.

How Long Does It Take for AFFF Cases to Settle?

The time it takes for AFFF disputes to settle depends on various circumstances, like the complexity of the litigation and the willingness for negotiations. Some lawsuits settle quickly, while others might take years to resolve through settlement or trial.

To conclude, the personal injury lawsuits stemming from AFFF contamination represent a complex and multifaceted legal challenge. They have far-reaching implications for affected communities, defendants, and the broader public.

While settlements offer a potential avenue for resolving these cases, numerous factors will influence their outcome in 2024 and beyond. As the legal landscape evolves, stakeholders must navigate these challenges with diligence, transparency, and a commitment to justice.



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