If you served in the military between the years of 2002 and 2015, and you suffer from tinnitus or hearing damage, you might be eligible for compensation. Veterans who are experiencing issues with their hearing may have been affected by faulty earplugs that were used in the military during those years. Between 2002 and 2015, countless USA service members received faulty military earplugs created by 3M. The devices were called Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs. Since that time, an investigation by the Justice Department discovered that the earplugs were too short for proper placement inside of the ears. This malfunction ultimately put service members at a risk for hearing impairment, tinnitus, or permanent loss of hearing.
Military Service and Hearing Loss
Military service members are always around loud noise exposure. Hearing loss and tinnitus are a huge risk, which is why earplugs are important. During training and combat, individuals are exposed to high levels of noise coming from tanks, gunfire, aircraft, roadside bombs, large equipment, and more. Hearing these sounds aren’t just temporary nuisances. They can create long-term effects.
Service members who suffer from tinnitus are unable to sleep because of consistent hissing, ringing, and buzzing within the ears. It’s also difficult for those with tinnitus to concentrate. Even more, hearing loss creates even additional issues. Those who cannot hear have a hard time performing daily tasks. They may have to stop driving and their level of communication is lessened. Not only that, but hearing loss can lead to problems with relationships and cause depression and social isolation.
The Cause of 3M’s Defective Earplugs
At one point in time, 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs were widely used on the market. Between 2003 and 2015, hundreds of thousands of military service members used these earplugs each day. Military personnel was under the impression that the earplugs were protecting them from high levels of noise exposure. However, that was not the case. The plugs were not shaped properly. The plugs were supposed to seal the outer ear canal once inserted. Their job was to block out high-level noises.
Unfortunately, the devices became loose or unsealed shortly after insertion. The flawed design made them ineffective in protecting the service member’s ears. The users had no idea there was an issue with the earplugs and that their exposure to extreme noise would cause problems with their hearing.
Sadly, most veterans who relied on the 3M earplugs now deal with tinnitus, which impairs hearing and causes annoying hissing and ringing within the ears. Individuals who have this issue are owed compensation because their tinnitus condition came as a direct cause of the defective earplugs.
The 3M Lawsuit Whistleblower
It was a whistleblower who triggered the 3M lawsuit. The individual forced 3M to tell the truth and admit that their earplugs were defective. Once the whistleblower received a settlement of over 9 million dollars, others realized the potential for compensation for their cases. Strangely enough, 3M’s lawyers did not fully understand the dynamics behind how big this case could get. The attorneys advised 3M to take the cases to trial. However, that was unnecessary. Once the devices were proven to be defective, 3M no longer had a case. Their defense was a dead end and a waste of time and money for a trial.
Understanding the Earplug Cases Against 3M
Once a manufacturer admits that a product is faulty and could cause harm, then a high volume of individual product liability claims ensue. It normally takes a few years after the admission for affected individuals to come forward and start filing suits. This has been the case with the Combat Arms Earplug lawsuits. Once 3M was forced to admit that their devices were faulty publicly, the agreement resulted in a 9.1 million dollar win to the US Department of Justice.
At this point, there have been thousands of affected soldiers. More than 235,000 service members have hired attorneys and filed a 3M earplug lawsuit.
The Requirements for Filing a 3M Earplug Lawsuit
Any person who served in the US military armed forces between the years 2002 to 2015 can follow suit if they suffer from hearing damage or tinnitus. To have a valid case, you must meet the following requirements:
You were given combat arms earplugs version 2
You used Combat Arms Earplugs for ear protection
You were subjected to high levels of noise, like gunfire and aircraft, during your years of service
You suffered an ear injury.
If any of those applies to you, you have a valid case against 3M. The amount of money you get for your suit depends on the magnitude of your hearing damage.
Here are some of the conditions that are generally a result of 3M’s faulty earplugs:
Tinnitus: Constant ringing within the ears that hinders your ability to hear.
Auditory processing disorder: A condition where you cannot process or interpret audible sounds
Hearing loss: Loss of hearing caused by impairment but not related to tinnitus.
Frequently Asked Questions About the 3MEarplug Lawsuit
You may be curious to understand more about the 3M lawsuit. Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding the case:
Question: When Is the 3M Earplug Lawsuit Trial Date?
Answer: The trial date for the case began on September 22nd, 2021. However, the very first trial was in April 2021. The suit concluded with $7,150,000 for three plaintiffs.
Question: What’s the Statute of Limitations for the 3M Lawsuit?
Answer: The deadline for filing a 3M earplug lawsuit depends on the state in which the claim is filed, but it also pertains to the class action suit. It’s all a bit tricky. To get help with this situation, it’s best to hire a lawyer.
Question: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a 3M Lawsuit?
Answer: Your attorney will handle your case on a contingency fee basis in most cases. That means that there’s no payment due upfront or any other fees unless you receive compensation for your injuries. Before accepting your case, an attorney will evaluate your claim to see its merit. If it does, they will work on your case in hopes of receiving a settlement. The attorney will take their fees and other expenses out of that settlement amount if you win.
Question: Have Any 3M Ear Plug Lawsuits Been Filed?
Answer: Yes. There have been hundreds of 3M earplug lawsuits filed by veterans. All of the individuals claim to have developed tinnitus or hearing loss despite having worn earplugs manufactured by 3M. Earplug lawsuits have been filed across 30 federal courts around the country. As of the year 2021, 3M continually loses its lawsuit cases and has paid out millions of dollars.
Final Thoughts on the 3M Earplug Lawsuit
The cases filed against 3M are serious. The company has publicly admitted that their devices were faulty, and they knew this information but did not do anything about it. As a result, many service members are now suffering from hearing damage. If that’s you, don’t overlook this. Hire a lawyer who can help you receive compensation for your injuries. If your hearing damage progresses, you don’t want to be responsible for it. All of your doctor’s bills and your pain and suffering should be compensated.