Clients often ask, “How much money is my case worth?” Attorneys find this question difficult to answer because it is hard to accurately predict the future. Lawyers don’t want to mislead their clients. Also, they don’t want to create unrealistic expectations. Moreover, there are many unknown factors that can impact the settlement value of each case.
Is there a Firefighting Foam Settlement?
PFAS contamination creates a serious public health threat because it doesn’t break down in the environment. Furthermore, scientific studies confirm exposures can cause cancer. Firefighters work on the front lines of PFAS exposure. They handle AFFF during both training and emergency response. Moreover, researchers have found PFAS inside firehouses and in turnout gear. With thousands of lawsuits filed, the federal courts consolidated all fire foam lawsuits before one judge in the AFFF MDL. At this point, the parties continue to prepare the cases for trial and there is no settlement pending.
Good Chance Firefighter Lawsuits Will Settle
Ultimately, good judges want to resolve as many lawsuits as possible without a trial. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Saving judicial resources
- Lessening the risk for all parties
- Reducing jury duty service
- Increasing judicial efficiency
What Percentage of Firefighter Lawsuits Will Settle?
Courts simply can’t conduct thousands of trials efficiently with the resources available. In fact, many sources hold that 95% of all civil lawsuits are settled by agreement of the parties. A recent Cornell Law School study found that the settlement rate was near 90%. Therefore, firefighters can expect settlement is more likely than a trial.
How Much Settlement Money?
When parties agree to resolve a lawsuit, the legal documents called a settlement agreement or receipt and release. These legal contracts provide for payment money in exchange for dismissal of a lawsuit. Firefighters can expect any settlement they receive to be based on the facts and law. For example, lawyers consider some of the following factors when negotiating a settlement:
- Do scientific studies show specific cancers are caused by exposure?
- What proof exists showing exposures?
- What was the nature and duration of exposure?
- Is their evidence of other causes (like smoking) for the cancer or disease?
Of course, many other considerations exist to set a dollar value for the claims. Some examples include medical costs incurred, severity of the injury, and the likelihood of prevailing at a trial. Parties can expect settlements to range from the many millions to the hundreds of thousands, depending on many factors.
Is Settlement or Trial Better?
Success at trial can result in multimillion-dollar verdicts, but trials are costly, time consuming, and risky. Studies suggest that settlement is better than trial in most cases. However, whether to settle a lawsuit is ultimately the client’s decision after careful consideration in consultation with their lawyer. If a settlement opportunity is presented a client and lawyer should both consider all the facts and evidence before making a decision.