3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 supplied to the U.S. military for over a decade are now known to be defective. Goldberg Finnegan is actively investigating possible lawsuits on behalf of veterans and active-duty military service members who have suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus caused by these earplugs. You may be eligible to pursue financial compensation.
For more than two decades, our firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Partner Kevin Goldberg is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and learn more about your potential legal options. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation after this meeting to retain our services.
Am I Eligible to File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
Our legal team is ready to determine your eligibility in a complimentary and confidential case review. You may be eligible if you wore military-issued 3M earplugs and meet the following criteria:
- Served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015
- Were exposed to loud blasts and noises during service
- Have since been diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus
- Received diagnosis during service or within one year of discharge
We understand that each case is different, which is why there are factors unique to your situation that will also need to be evaluated. For instance, your medical records can help show the extent of your hearing damage. Some questions we may ask to better understand your diagnosis include:
- Do you have or full or partial hearing loss in one or both ears?
- What medical treatments have you had for your hearing issues?
- Have any treatments improved your hearing or has it stayed the same?
- Has a doctor told you of the likelihood of getting your hearing back?
- Can your hearing be restored or is the damage irreversible/permanent?
There are time limits to take legal action. That is why we advise that you seek legal counsel sooner rather than later. There is no cost to talk to a lawyer at our firm to see how we may be able to help.
Compensation Available for Injured Victims
The value of a case will depend on your diagnosis and how it has affected you on a day-to-day basis. You may be eligible to pursue financial compensation for the medical costs you have incurred to diagnose and treat your hearing loss or tinnitus. This could include compensation to help cover hospitalization, surgeries, medications, costs of doctors’ visits and assistive devices (i.e. hearing aids).
You may also be able to seek compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity from being unable to work for some time or at all due to your hearing damage. When assessing future loss of income, your age, employment history, skills and level of education will need to be taken into consideration.
Aside from monetary losses, noneconomic damages may also be available. This could include compensation for the pain and suffering (both mental and physical) that you have experienced since you suffered hearing issues and diminished quality of life.
What If I Am Already Receiving Disability?
Receiving disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Social Security Administration is not likely to have any impact on being able to pursue additional compensation in a 3M earplug lawsuit.
A licensed attorney at Goldberg Finnegan is ready to discuss this in greater detail with you and fight for the maximum amount possible. We are ready to take your call.
3M Earplugs Were Standard Issue Equipment
The 3M earplugs became standard issue equipment for military service members from 2003 to 2015. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had an exclusive contract with 3M, a multinational conglomerate corporation. The earplugs, originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies, were bought by 3M in 2008.
The dual-ended earplugs were meant to significantly reduce the sound of explosions and other loud blasts from causing damage to the inner ear (i.e. aircraft, guns and artillery). The earplugs still allowed service members to hear quieter noises and communicate freely with each other.
However, the standard design of these earplugs was an issue. Soldiers had difficulty fitting their helmets properly with the earplugs. 3M decided to modify the design by shortening the earplugs.
Although the helmets fit better, the stem of the earplug no longer went deep enough into large or even normal size ear canals. If the stem is not deep enough, it cannot block the ear canal with an airtight seal and provide the necessary hearing protection.
In most cases, the earplugs failed to fully block loud sounds, would loosen or fall out altogether. Unfortunately, many service members were unaware that these earplugs were not working as intended.
Did 3M Know the Earplugs Were Dangerous?
Significant hearing problems have since been reported by thousands of service members. Being repeatedly exposed to high-level noises can cause auditory ailments from internal damage to the eardrums. Partial or total hearing loss and tinnitus or ringing of the ears have been commonly cited.
A whistleblower came forward in 2016 alleging 3M knew the earplugs were defective and dangerous. While the company admitted to no wrongdoing, they did agree to a $9.1 million settlement. 3M and Aero Technologies were sued by Moldex-Metric Inc. over allegations that 3M knowingly committed fraud against the government when it sold defective earplugs to the DOD.
The lawsuit did bring other information to light that may indicate 3M knew the earplugs were defective. For example, the earplugs were found to be defective in testing done in January 2000. 3M took steps to falsify these results so the earplugs would meet military safety standards, putting thousands of service members at risk for hearing damage.
Lawsuits Filed by Military Services Members
The first bellwether trial in the 3M earplugs multidistrict litigation (MDL) has started in a Florida federal court. The purpose of a bellwether trial is to help both sides determine the likely outcome of other similar cases. If this trial proves successful for the plaintiffs, it could be a significant step toward a potential settlement of other cases. As of April 15, 2021, there were 229,111 lawsuits in the MDL filed against the 3M. It is considered one of the largest MDLs in U.S. history.
Even though the first bellwether trial has started, you may still be eligible to join the case to pursue compensation for hearing loss or tinnitus you have suffered because of defective 3M earplugs.
Let Us Review Your Claim in a Free Consultation
Still unsure if you have a case?
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team. This consultation is also completely confidential. There is no cost to talk to a lawyer about your potential legal options. Product manufacturers should be held accountable if their products cause harm to others.
There is no obligation involved to have us represent you after meeting with us and no upfront fees if you decide to retain our services. A representative from our firm is available anytime, day or night to take your call.