Military earplugs are products meant for soldiers in battle to wear in order to protect themselves from hearing loss. The lawsuit against 3M military earplugs claims that the company knowingly and willingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military between 2003 and 2005 that would not remain tight within the ears of the user. Unfortunately, this has resulted in serious hearing loss among many U.S. soldiers that were victims of using these faulty ear plugs. Military personnel are among the last people in this country who should suffer consequences for serving our country, but unfortunately this is not our reality. At the Holman Law Firm, we are dedicated to the men and women that served our country and suffer from hearing loss or other adverse health outcomes as a result of using faulty military earplugs. If you have used military earplugs that you believe to be faulty and have suffered hearing loss as a result, please don’t hesitate to call us at 850-435-6909 to schedule a consultation.
Lawsuit History Against Military Earplug Manufacturers
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit in South Carolina against 3M, claiming that 3M and their previous company called Aearo Technologies Inc. sold the U.S. government the second version of the Combat Arms Earplugs, knowing that they were defective because they were too short to be effectively inserted in the user’s ears. The U.S. DOJ claims that the earplugs would loosen over time, eventually unable to effectively soften loud noises that are common when soldiers are on the ground.
One of the most damning claims against 3M is that their employees knew about the defect with these earplugs as early as 2000, yet they continued to sell their product to the U.S. military despite the fact that it could harm people serving in the military. Not only this, but they filed a patent that prevented other companies from manufacturing other, more effective products that would compete with their own ineffective earplugs. Finally in July of 2018, the U.S. DOJ announced that their lawsuit with 3M over their ineffective ear plugs resulted in a $9.1 settlement.
Adverse Outcomes of Using Defective Military Earplugs
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that about 60% of all individuals who served in the military share that they experience hearing loss after they are discharged from service. In fact, hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in your ears) are the most common disability caused by active military service among U.S. veterans. As of 2014, over 900,00 U.S. veterans received compensation for disability because of their hearing loss, and a massive 1.3 million U.S. veterans received compensation for their disability due to tinnitus.
Both tinnitus and hearing loss can be caused either by a single exposure to a severely loud sound (like explosions or gunshots), or by repeated exposure over a long period of time to louder than usual sounds (like continuous gunshots or working in air carriers). People serving in the military have very little autonomy when it comes to the noise levels of the environment they work in. This fact and the shocking numbers of hearing loss and tinnitus cases are what led the U.S. government to purchase military grade ear plugs that they thought would protect individuals in the U.S. military. Instead, soldiers were at higher risk for hearing loss and tinnitus because of the defective earplugs that 3M knowingly sold the military.
What Damages Could You Receive for Joining a Lawsuit Against Manufacturers of Defective Military Earplugs?
As is the case with all personal injury cases, the amount you receive in damages depends on the extent and severity of your injuries or adverse health conditions. In the case of military earplugs, the severity of every individual case is different and your specific circumstances will influence your final settlement. Here at the Holman Law Firm, we are dedicated to advocating for the soldiers that were put in harm’s way by using known defective military earplugs. The compensation you could receive when you join a mass tort includes:
- Any past medical expenses you incurred as a result of your condition
- Any future medical expenses you incurred as a result of your condition
- Wages you lost as a result of your condition (if this applies)
- Punitive damages
- Past and potential pain and suffering (both mental and physical) that is a direct result of your condition
If you were a victim of using defective military earplugs and have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus as a direct result, you should speak with a skilled mass tort attorney who you can trust to represent you in a court of law against a big corporation that does not care about your best interest. At the Holman Law Firm we are committed to advocating for the men and women that put their lives on the line to serve our country and have suffered long term consequences. If you have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after using defective military ear plugs, please give us a call at 850-435-6909 to schedule a consultation.