Whether you served in the armed forces or not, you’ve probably heard about the class action lawsuit against 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs. If not, then this article is here to help you or a loved one get the compensation they are entitled to due to a defective product meant to protect the hearing of military service members.
The Case Against 3M
The military relies on a vast array of supplies to protect their soldiers, one of which was Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2). Sold to the military by 3M via government contract, it didn’t take long before soldiers began to notice something was wrong.
First, the earplugs were quick to degrade. As they lost part of their design, soldier’s ears became exposed to the loud noises of weaponry. Second, the plugs didn’t fit right. Their design was too small to create a seal in the user’s ear, leading to hearing loss and tinnitus.
What started as a defective Combat Arms Earplug case in Louisiana and other states quickly turned into a class action lawsuit against the earplug manufacturer. Soldiers across the nation who served from 2006 to 2015 were experiencing hearing damage in rampant numbers leading to the discontinuation of 3M’s plugs.
During that time, a whistleblower came forward with the knowledge that 3M knew about their product’s defective design but did nothing to resolve the issue. In 2018, a settlement was finally reached with 3M Corp. with the justice department declaring a $9.1 million for veterans and active servicemembers. The whistleblower, per federal law, received $2 million from the settlement.
Are You Eligible?
Determining eligibility can be difficult, due to most veterans being unaware that their gear was the cause of hearing damage. Both tinnitus and hearing loss are the most reported problems in the lawsuit, but any type of hearing damage constitutes compensation.
Tinnitus is a buzzing or ringing in the ears which is usually constant. It may also occur right after exposure to any noise. This can make it difficult to hold a conversation, enjoy the things you used to, or even just sleep.
Hearing loss is easier to identify. Your ears may feel as though they are plugged up after leaving a crowded area, background noise may become overwhelming, and you might struggle to hear lower decibel sounds.
Other forms of hearing loss include conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. These relate to the parts of your inner ear that are damaged. Symptoms are similar to standard hearing loss but may also include pain in the form of ear or headaches.
Any of these symptoms could make you eligible to part of that $9.1 million. You also had to have served between 2003 to 2015 and have used 3M’s earplugs. If you meet the qualifications, then your next step is to hire a lawyer.
Compensation with Assistance from a Personal Injury Attorney
To this day, 3M refuses to acknowledge their costly mistake. It is in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney to help secure what’s rightfully yours. Don’t wait to act. The manufacturer of these defective earplugs owes you for your pain and suffering.