Who Can File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you recently came across a news article or headline mentioning the 3M earplug lawsuits, you may be wondering what it is and who can file. Fortunately, increasing amounts of information on these lawsuits is available, providing defined eligibility requirements and potential compensation outcomes for those involved.
Between the years 2003 and 2015, the multinational corporation 3M supplied earplugs to shield the hearing of military personnel serving in combat zones worldwide. Yet, the prevalence of hearing loss continued to rise. While no one at the time made the connection between faulty earplug design and the increased risk of a diagnosis, that changed in 2018 when allegations that the 3M company knew of the flaw came to light.
During this timeframe, the earplugs utilized by the military are now known to be defective in design, exposing thousands of service members to the risk of developing hearing loss. While the company has discontinued them, the effects linger, affecting the quality of life for veterans across the country, including in Michigan.
If you are a member of one of the military branches or a veteran who used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs between 2003 and 2015 and suffer hearing damage, you may be able to file a 3M Earplug Lawsuit.
Product liability lawsuits, including those concerning 3M earplugs, are complex and need thorough evaluation and legal expertise for a successful outcome. Contacting an experienced product liability attorney at our law firm is essential to determine if you are eligible to file one of these lawsuits and, if so, the next steps to take to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
What is a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
At the center of the 3M Earplug Lawsuits is the corporation’s manufacture of dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 – CAEv2. Thousands of these devices were used by military members to block out loud noises and explosions while still communicating with each other in conflict zones.
3M purchased Aearo Technologies, the original designer of the earplugs, in 2008. It wasn’t until 2018 that the design flaw was revealed and then investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, 3M paid out $9.1 million to the government and discontinued the earplugs.
This payment, however, is only to reimburse the government for the purchase of the earplugs for the military’s use. Individual service members who suffer hearing damages must file their own lawsuit to receive any type of compensation.
The design flaw in these devices and their failure to seal tightly exposed military service members to the potential personal injury risks of partial or total hearing loss, including tinnitus. Tinnitus is the ringing, hissing, or buzzing sounds in the ears, affecting the value of an individual’s hearing even at close range.
According to the research office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the most prevalent service-connected disability among veterans involves hearing problems, including various levels of hearing loss and tinnitus. Many of these may be attributable to the 3M earplugs. If you believe your hearing loss or tinnitus is connected to using 3M earplugs, you may be eligible to file a 3M lawsuit.
How Did the Earplugs Lead to Hearing Damages?
The 3M earplugs suffered from a severe design flaw relating to how they are inserted in the ear for a tight fit. 3M failed to provide adequate instructions on how to effectively wear the earplugs to protect hearing. This included instructions on inserting the plugs in the ears correctly, including the rolling back of the flange.
The earplugs were also dual-ended for insertion in two different ways. One direction would protect hearing from the loudest noises like aircraft, tanks, bombs, and heavy equipment. When inserted in the other direction, the earplugs would muffle explosive ordinances and artillery fire sounds. Yet, without a tight fit, they provided false security to those who wore them.
Who Can File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
If you or someone you know served in the military and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, you or they may be able to file a 3M earplug lawsuit. There are several criteria for filing a 3M earplug lawsuit.
- You served time in any of the branches of the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, including in the following conflict zones, and were issued 3M earplugs:
- Iraq (The Iraq War or American-led Intervention in Iraq from 2014-2017)
- North-West Pakistan (during War on Terror)
- Indian Ocean (during Operation Ocean Shield)
- Libya (2011 intervention or 2015 to present intervention)
- Syria (2014 to present intervention)
- Yemeni (2015 to present during Yemeni Civil War)
- Before your military enlistment, no documented diagnosis of any hearing loss or tinnitus exists.
- During your time of service, you were issued the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 – CAEv2, which are dual-sided, black and yellow 3M earplugs.
- You were medically diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus after your military enrollment and have documentation to show this. A medical diagnosis of tinnitus around the time of military discharge or a medical diagnosis of hearing loss which resulted in an impairment rating through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is acceptable proof. For any other documentation, consult with a 3M Military Earplug Lawsuit Attorney.
- You must have an absence of significant exposure to loud noises in your personal history outside of the military.
- You were honorably discharged from military service.
Why File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit if Eligible?
Filing a 3M earplug lawsuit can lead to the receipt of justifiable compensation for veterans suffering from service-related hearing loss or tinnitus. 3M lawsuit filers will also be holding the company responsible for knowingly providing defective products and putting service members at risk for hearing injuries.
Every case may be different and requires thorough evaluation to determine recoverable damages. The financial compensation involved in a 3M earplug lawsuit may include any or all of the following:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Surgeon’s fees
- Medication costs
- Hearing aids or other devices
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and anxiety
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages or benefits
- Diminished future wages
An attorney with both a legal and medical background, like senior partner, Eileen Kroll with Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., will methodically guide you through the process with her knowledge of medical terminology and diagnoses, along with winnable legal strategies to get the compensation you deserve.
At the heart of these lawsuits is the belief that 3M knew of the defective earplug design yet did nothing to correct it or provide warnings. Instead, military personnel was led to believe in the earplugs’ capability to protect their hearing throughout training and service.
Many veterans may not even be aware that their hearing loss is contributable to the use of these earplugs.
Mass tort lawsuits against 3M for its defective earplugs continue to rise. Isn’t it time to determine if you can file one of these lawsuits?
Contact Your Michigan 3M Earplug Lawsuit Attorneys Today
If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss or tinnitus and served in the military between 2003 and 2015, filing a 3M earplug lawsuit may be an option.
The experienced attorneys with Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., will evaluate your case and determine eligibility for filing a lawsuit, staying with you every step of the way to a successful outcome. Call us today at 1-866-MICH-LAW for a free case evaluation and consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.