The Minnesota-based industrial giant, 3M, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers. Recently, this company admitted that they have been selling defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency, which supplies resources for the U.S. military. The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were one of the most popular and widely used earplugs sold during this time, and unfortunately, they were also on the list of defective products.
Hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common causes of disability for service members. You might be eligible for compensation if you suffered avoidable hearing loss from using 3M Combat Arms Earplugs.
The lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm can help you determine whether design defects in these earplugs were the root cause of your hearing trouble. To get started with a free case evaluation, reach out to us online or by phone. We obtain successful results for injured clients who deserve six or seven-figure settlements or verdicts for their losses. Contact us to discuss your possible case today.
Hundreds of veterans are filing lawsuits against 3M, a government contractor who sold the military millions of defective combat earplugs. These earplugs cannot maintain a tight seal, allowing dangerously loud sounds to damage the wearer’s ears.
Exposure to such loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, and loss of balance. Therefore, people who relied on these defective earplugs may have grounds to file a claim against the manufacturer, 3M.
Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs
Individuals who used 3M’s trademarked, dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs during their military service may be due compensation. The defective products were in circulation between 2003 and 2015, meaning anyone who served during that time might be eligible to file a claim.
The 3M company had a long-term, exclusive contract to provide earplugs to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Yet, they failed to disclose that the earplugs they were supplying had critical defects.
Across the period that these Combat Arms Earplugs were in use, hundreds of thousands of military personnel used them. They did so with the assumption that the foam earplugs were doing an excellent job of protecting them from the damaging effects of exposure to deafening noises. Sadly, the sound reduction rating of these earplugs was not up to par with the soldiers’ expectations.
A judge recently allowed records in this regard to be made public. The records include internal documents that show 3M was making massive profits from the defective earplugs. In fact, they only cost about 85 cents to make but sold for up to $7.63 apiece. That is a massive margin that no company will want to lose.
The 3M Whistleblower Lawsuit
A federal whistleblower filed a lawsuit that jump-started the 3M Combat Arms Earplug litigation. The whistleblower filed the lawsuit in May 2016, claiming that 3M made false statements to the government regarding the safety of the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs. This statement is a serious allegation, as it appears to show that 3M may have known that their product was defective and did not work correctly.
The lawsuit even claims that 3M employees were aware that the products did not work as early as 2000. The plaintiffs specifically alleged that 3M and its affiliated companies knowingly sold the products without disclosing this information, which, if true, might make 3M liable for the hearing loss of thousands of active and retired service members.
In July 2018, the U.S. government, 3M, and the original whistleblower settled, and the U.S. made this statement:
“Prior to delivering the CAEv2 to the United States, the United States alleges that 3M, and its predecessor Aearo, knew that the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion in users’ ears and, therefore, did not perform as well in certain individuals. Additionally, the United States alleges that 3M did not disclose this information to the United States and delivered the CAEv2 to the United States knowing that the product contained defects that impaired the CAEv2’s serviceability.”
Although 3M denied this claim, they agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle all claims against them at the time.
3M Earplug Litigation
There are already thousands of active 3M earplug lawsuits in litigation. The plaintiffs claim they received false promises that the Combat Arms Earplugs would protect their hearing from harmful impulse noises. In addition to this claim, lawyers are working to prove that 3M buried information showing that their earplugs were not entirely effective.
Nearly 300,000 lawsuits have been filed by retired and active-duty soldiers so far. Hopefully, everyone negatively impacted has had their chance to claim reasonable compensation for the negligent and potentially malicious actions of 3M.
3M Earplug Lawsuits
A wave of product liability claims typically follows any announcement from a manufacturer that says their product was defective and may have caused harm. This wave lasted for a few years as more harmed people came forward and filed their lawsuits.
This narrative describes the situation we see at present with 3M earplug lawsuits. Since being forced to acknowledge that their earplugs were defective in July 2018, 3M has seen hundreds of thousands claim that they developed hearing loss following service-related use of 3M earplugs.
While it may seem like there are already many people seeking damages from 3M, lawyers across the country expect the number to grow significantly. There were potentially millions of people who used these earplugs during their time in the service, and a significant number of them experienced hearing problems later on in life. Remember, the Combat Arms Earplugs were standard issue for every branch of the U.S. military. This widespread distribution means nearly everyone in the service may have used the defective earplugs daily, not knowing they weren’t providing complete protection.
Is There Evidence of 3M Earplug Defects?
There is good evidence available to plaintiffs in the 3M defective earplug cases. For example, a former Aearo Technologies vice president, Martin Salon, stated that he thought it was appropriate for 3M to conceal information about potential defects from the government. When asked if this was okay, his exact statement was, “I suppose it is if the product is working in most cases.”
Veterans With Tinnitus or Hearing Loss Could Recover Compensation
If you served in the U.S. armed forces between 2002 and 2015 and suffer from tinnitus or hearing damage, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from 3M.
To recover compensation, you must meet these requirements:
- You were issued Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2)
- You were exposed to high noise levels at some point during your service that caused injury to your ears
- You relied on the Combat Arms Earplugs for ear protection
Anyone who meets these criteria should have a valid claim against 3M, though the compensation you recover depends on the severity of your hearing damage.
3M’s defective earplugs failed to protect against:
- Tinnitus – A persistent ringing in the ears that impairs hearing function
- Loss of hearing – General impairment of hearing unrelated to tinnitus
- Auditory processing disorder – A condition that causes people to be unable to process and interpret audible sounds normally
Most people who met these criteria and suffered from 3M’s negligence are people regularly exposed to loud noises as part of their military duties. This group includes gunners, artillery service members, pilots, aircraft, support personnel, infantry, mechanics, engineers, and anyone else who experienced constant high-level sound exposure.
Keep in mind that a single explosion or high caliber gunfire near the eardrum can cause irreparable ear damage, resulting in partial or complete hearing loss and tinnitus.
Types of Compensation in 3M Earplug Lawsuits
Defective products can cause severe injuries and losses to victims. If you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by a defective product, such as 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you might have concerns about how much compensation you need – and how to obtain all of it. There are different losses for different victims, but some common damages are below.
These damages stem from monetary losses you incurred or will incur in the future due to your earplug-related injuries.
Some examples of economic damages in product liability claims include:
- Medical expenses – Medical care is costly, and many people with injuries from 3M earplugs need initial diagnostic treatment and ongoing care. Specialist appointments, rehabilitative therapy, psychological therapy, and more will all produce bills that your settlement or award should cover. We can determine the future care you will need and seek compensation for those expenses in advance.
- Lost income – Defective 3M earplugs led to an injury that prevents you from working or forced you to switch to a lower-paying job. When this happens, we can seek damages for your past and future lost earnings.
Not all damages have an automatic dollar amount, as some compensate for intangible losses.
These losses can include:
- Mental and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent injuries, impairments, or disabilities
- Loss of consortium
Conditions like tinnitus and hearing loss can cause serious mental anguish as you adapt to life with your injuries. These often irreversible conditions cause lasting suffering for victims, and you deserve to recover for these intangible losses in addition to economic ones.
Our attorneys take your pain and suffering seriously, and we know how to calculate non-economic damages to ensure you receive the total amount you deserve for your life-changing injuries. Companies will try to limit their liability by minimizing pain and suffering and similar losses, but our legal team will not back down.
Will You Lose VA Disability Benefits if You File?
If you are a veteran receiving disability benefits, you don’t have to worry about a personal injury lawsuit affecting those benefits. The military awards these benefits based on injury, not income or financial need. Since income is not a factor, you won’t lose your disability benefits. Though, needs-based or income-based benefits can be affected if you receive a substantial monetary settlement.
How to File Your 3M Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit?
When you choose to work with the Dixon Injury Firm, your attorney will take care of the entire legal process on your behalf. This choice gives you the time and peace needed to focus on your recovery during this difficult time.
While every case is different, the legal process typically follows this timeline:
Before submitting a claim, lawyers must verify that you qualify to file. This verification occurs through the case review process, wherein your legal team will confirm that you did suffer hearing loss due to the defective earplugs.
You need evidence showing that you suffered hearing loss due to defective Combat Arms Earplugs to back your claim. The evidence required to present this includes medical records. You’ll also need to show that you were issued the defective earplugs and used them during active duty.
File the Lawsuit
When we complete the preparation for your lawsuit, we can file your legal claim. This process must occur within the statutes of limitations. If you wait too before filing, you cannot seek compensation, so contact our lawyers immediately.
Let Us Review Your 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Claim Today!
If you suffered hearing loss or tinnitus due to the negligence of 3M, you aren’t alone. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are currently suing 3M for selling defective earplugs to the U.S. Armed Forces.
So far, several people have won massive settlements through the courts. You can be next!
To learn more about 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuits, get in touch with an attorney from the Dixon Injury Firm. Our experienced legal professionals have a proven track record in helping the victims of defective products claim compensation from the liable parties.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 208-2808
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.