Standard Issue Military Earplugs Were Known Defective
There is no shortage of high-decibel environments in the military, whether you are at the range, working on a military vehicle, standing on a runway, or deployed in a combat zone. From the clatter of diesel engines and fighter jets taking off to mortar explosions, service members are exposed to an ear-ringing symphony of potentially damaging sounds.
Luckily there’s a simple solution: hearing protection in the form of ear plugs. Unfortunately, the military’s standard issue ear plugs have proven to be defective. From 2003-2015, 3M sold and distributed earplugs to thousands of deployed service members in the Middle East. Although the 3M company claims no wrongdoing, it paid more than $9 million to settle allegations of defective earplugs from the Department of Justice.
This money will not go to service members and veterans, however. Military service personnel who used these faulty military earplugs must file a separate lawsuit to be compensated for their injuries.
We can help.
What Was The Defect?
For over 12 years, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency distributed defective Combat ArmsTM CAEv2 Earplugs, Version 2 to soldiers. Claims state that the earplugs could gradually loosen in some user’s ears, putting service people at risk for hearing loss. What’s worse is that 3M and its predecessor allegedly knew of design defect as early as 2000.
The results have been devastating for servicemembers and their loved ones.
What You Need To Know About The 3M Military Defective Earplug Lawsuit
First of all, it’s important to realize you’re not alone in this. Thousands of service members have suffered significant hearing loss as well as additional symptoms such as tinnitus. It is estimated that millions of soldiers were exposed to the risk of hearing damage.
According to the VA, at the close of the fiscal year 2015, over one million veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss. Veterans who are exposed to blasts can incur hearing loss, which compromises the ear and the connection between the ear and the brain.
You may be entitled to recover compensation if you or a family member:
- Were issued earplugs during military service
- Served in the U.S. military between 2003-2015
- Are experiencing hearing loss including tinnitus
Despite evidence that 3M knew the military earplugs were defective, they refuse to admit responsibility for the damage their product has caused. They described their decision to settle as nothing more than a “business decision” rather than an admission of liability. Even in settling, 3M is looking out for its interests rather than those of consumers. That’s why it is so important to have our experienced personal injury lawyers looking out for your interests. The settlement provides money for the government, not for the individual servicemembers who have suffered hearing loss and other damages.
If you or a loved one is or was a servicemember and suffers from any hearing loss, contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Eligibility Requirements To Participate In The Military Earplug Lawsuit
As stated before, the 3M settlement with the government does not provide compensation to individual service members and their loved ones for hearing loss and other damages. It is necessary to pursue a separate personal injury lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, ongoing damages, lost earnings, and additional damages caused by the defective earplugs.
To have a valid claim, you or a family member must be suffering from hearing loss, including tinnitus, and must have been issued the 3M earplugs during military service. If you or a loved one served between 2003 and 2015 in a combat or non-combat capacity, it is highly likely you were issued the plugs as 3M was the contractor responsible for hearing protection at the time.
Hearing loss can creep over time, much like the tale of the frog being slowly boiled vs. the frog who is tossed directly into boiling water. You may have suffered hearing loss without being fully aware of the damage. If you are still in the military, your hearing should be checked as part of your Periodic Health Assessment (PHA). If you have been discharged or retired, we recommend you arrange a hearing test with the VA or your medical provider.
What Compensation Is Available Due To Earplug Hearing Loss?
The type and amount of financial compensation available to you depend on how much hearing loss you have experienced as a result of 3M earplugs. Symptoms can include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Difficulty hearing in crowds
- Difficulty hearing through background noise
- Needing to listen to TV/radio at a high volume
- Frequently asking others to speak up
Hearing loss is a quality of life issue that affects people with hearing loss as well as their family members. It can cause you to withdraw from conversations or feel left out of the loop in social settings. As a vet told CBS News, you can’t put a price on of your senses. However, personal injury compensation is the remedy available in our legal system to attempt to make things right for what you have lost and continue to live without. An experienced lawyer from our firm can help you pursue a claim for maximum compensation.
How To Find Legal Representation For Earplug Hearing Loss
If you believe your hearing has been affected due to the defective 3M dual-ended combat earplugs, contact us to set up your free case evaluation.