Between 2002 - 2015, hundreds of thousands of United States active service members were issued Dual-Ended 3M Combat Arms earplugs. Since then, almost 300,000 military service members have sued 3M for defective features in their earplugs that have led to hearing issues.
If you or a loved one have used 3M Combat earplugs and have experienced auditory issues, you may be eligible for compensation. This article will provide you with a guide on the 3M Combat earplugs mass tort and how to sue if eligible.
3M Combat Arms Earplugs
The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) produced by 3M are designed for military purposes and used widely by American troops and personnel.
They have a unique dual-ended design meant to obstruct loud noises such as heavy machinery, aircraft, and weapon fire but allow softer sounds, such as speech or nearby movements, to be heard.
Since using these earplugs, many personnel has been affected by the damaging sound levels during active deployment and training.
After American military personnel reported tinnitus, deafness, and hearing loss, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated an inquiry into 3M Combat earplugs.
According to a government-led investigation, the earplugs provided to military personnel were too short for proper insertion in the ear. Due to the length, they are more likely to lose their seal in the ear. When the seal breaks, the user's ears become vulnerable to loud, harmful noises, leading to potential auditory damage and hearing loss.
Tinnitus, one of the more frequent problems associated with the 3M earplugs, is a ringing, whooshing, or thumping noise in your ear or ears. This noise usually lasts about five to six minutes, and the problem can last a couple of years to a lifetime, depending on severity.
Lawsuits allege that 3M - a U.S. multinational conglomerate in worker safety, healthcare, and consumer goods industries – knew their products were defective while selling them to the military, possibly as early as 2000.
Affected service members also claim the company did not provide prompt notice about its defect or adequate instructions about its usage. They only suggested that users can get a superior fit if they roll back the flange on the unused end when inserting the other side.
The 3M earplug lawsuits were consolidated into the largest MDL Class Action, where similar cases are decided even today. A federal judge oversees the pre-trial discovery and proceedings before transferring cases back to their transferor courts unless dismissals or settlements occur.
Who Is Eligible?
You may be eligible for compensation if you served in the military between 2002-2015 and used Dual-Ended 3M Combat Arms earplugs daily. Suppose you had tinnitus during the time you served or soon after discharge, have experienced hearing loss and received impairment ratings from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or have suffered any hearing damage. In that case, you can file a lawsuit against 3M.
To be successful when filing a lawsuit against 3M, make sure that you are ready to provide a DD214 Form, Veterans Administration records and documents, and military service records.
It's also beneficial if you have medical evidence. More than 20,000 lawsuits were dropped because plaintiffs couldn't present certain records, so make sure you provide all your paperwork to your legal counsel.
Types of Damages
Although no two cases are similar, affected veterans may be able to recover the following compensations: lost wages, medical expenses, prescription medications, and more.
It’s best to discuss your legal options with lawyers and attorneys. Acquiring appropriate compensation and damages may help you to treat your condition better and more effectively.
Active military members and veterans should have the highest quality of care. If you or your loved ones have served in the U.S. military, were issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs, and developed a hearing problem, you can file a claim against 3M for compensation. Talk to a lawyer today to get your much-deserved compensation.