Military service members and veterans may be entitled to financial compensation for tinnitus and other hearing injuries caused by defective 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs.
3M has already paid a generous settlement award to the government. At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers in Baltimore can help you get your fair share of this settlement. If you suffered tinnitus or hearing loss after serving in the military, an experienced Baltimore 3M earplugs injury lawyer can help.
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Overview of the 3M Earplugs Injury Lawsuits
Military-grade earplugs are supposed to prevent damage to the ear canal while serving in combat zones. Unfortunately, these earplugs might not have provided the promised ear protection. The lawsuits allege that 3M, the company that made them, actually knew the earplugs were defective and sold them anyway.
Between 2003 and 2015, over 100,000 U.S. military servicemen and women used 3M earplugs called Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs. These earplugs were used by members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines in countless operations, including (but by no means limited to):
- The War in Afghanistan
- The War in Iraq
- U.S. Border Patrol Missions
- The War in Somalia
- Operation Ocean Shield
- Yemeni Civil War
Later, the earplugs were found to have a serious design flaw that could cause permanent hearing loss. This design defect gives victims the right to file product liability lawsuits against 3M for damages.
The Combat Arms Earplug version was actually designed by a company called Aearo Designs. 3M purchased Aearo Designs in 2008.
It wasn’t until 2018 that someone from a competing company stepped forward to report the flaw. It turns out that the earplugs had a design flaw that could cause hearing problems if the earplugs weren’t worn in one specific position.
After that, the Department of Justice began a comprehensive investigation to find out what happened. The results of that investigation support claims that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the United States military and profited off those defects for over a decade.
3M Knowingly Profited From the Earplugs’ Design Defects
The original lawsuit in this case claimed that 3M and Aearo Designs knew that the earplugs had a design flaw. Rather than informing the military and correcting the defect, they sold the earplugs anyway under a lucrative military contract. The companies also failed to inform the military that the earplugs might have provided protection if worn in a certain position.
In fact, it was found that the companies actually falsified documents and testing results in order to win those contracts. 3M actually marketed these earplugs as superior to other options, because service members would only have to carry one set of earplugs instead of two.
What Are 3M Earplugs?
The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs designed by 3M were made to filter out extremely loud noises while allowing servicemembers to hear relatively quiet noises. In other words, the earplugs were designed to block out noises like gunfire and explosions–but still allow people to hear things like footsteps and conversations.
When worn in the “open” position, the earplugs were supposed to allow in noises. When closed, noise up to 20 decibels was supposed to be blocked out to protect your hearing.
Why Are People Filing 3M Earplugs Injury Lawsuits?
Unfortunately, these earplugs were found to have a design flaw that caused countless military service personnel to suffer potentially permanent hearing damage. As it turns out, the earplugs only provided the promised protection when the earplugs were worn a certain way–with a third portion of the earplug pointed upward.
Further, the “stem” portion of the earplugs was found to be too short. That means the earplugs could loosen and let loud noises in. The seal simply was not tight enough to provide the needed protection. When placed in the ear, the earplugs were found to protect only up to 10.9 decibels.
Every year, 3M supplied about 750,000 pairs of earplugs to the military. In exchange, they received more than $9 million.
Even though 3M didn’t actually design the earplugs, it is thought that they knew about the design flaw in 2008. Rather than taking action, they continued to profit.
Thousands Are Filing 3M Earplug Lawsuits
The Department of Justice has announced that 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the federal government. Now injured servicemembers are taking matters into their own hands and filing lawsuits against the company, too.
To date, thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against 3M. Many of these have been grouped into multi-district litigation designed to speed up the legal process. Additionally, the results of these cases will make it easier to know what to expect when negotiating your settlement.
Facing off against a large corporation like 3M can be intimidating. Our experienced lawyers can handle every aspect of your case. We have over 80 years of combined experience–and we don’t back down when it comes time to protect our clients’ legal rights.
Common Injuries Caused by 3M Earplugs
Thousands of servicemen and servicewomen who used the defective 3M earplugs now suffer from hearing problems. Although the extent of the damage is not fully understood, a 2017 Department of Veterans’ Affairs report found that 3,101,223 service members were treated for auditory injuries.
The most common injuries suffered by 3M Combat Arms Earplugs are:
- Partial hearing loss
- Complete hearing loss
- Auditory processing disorder (APD)
Hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noises in a combat zone is often permanent. For service members who suffer from PTSD, the impact can be even more dramatic because the symptoms of tinnitus can actually exacerbate PTSD symptoms.
Our personal injury lawyers are here to help you hold 3M accountable for the damage they caused. We want to make sure you get the most money possible for your injuries. Your hearing damage might have been entirely preventable if 3M hadn’t committed fraud. To learn more about your right to justice, give us a call for a free consultation today.
Signs and Symptoms of 3M Earplug Injuries
You might suffer from tinnitus if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Ringing in the ears
- Other sounds, such as clicking or buzzing in the ears
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems with balance
Hearing damage caused by the defective 3M earplugs can last a lifetime. You have the right to hold the company that profited from those earplugs accountable.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing damage or tinnitus, or are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call our lawyers for advice today. We take our attorney-client relationships seriously and are here to help.
What Types of Damages Are Available for 3M Earplug Injury Victims?
In a lawsuit based on injury, Maryland law allows you to recover compensation to make you “whole” again. Of course, as you know, no amount of money is really going to accomplish that goal. However, you do have the right to compensation to cover all of your financial losses, as well as things like pain and suffering.
- Medical bills
- Hearing aids
- Future medical care and needs
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Psychological counseling
- And more
WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is a family-owned law firm dedicated to protecting accident and injury victims. We are here to work closely with you and your family to get results–in the form of financial compensation. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you hold 3M accountable for the losses you have suffered.
Do I Have a Claim for Compensation for 3M Earplug Injuries?
If you served in the military and used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you may have the right to compensation. You might be entitled to compensation if you served in the military between 2003 and 2015, and:
- Have been diagnosed with a tinnitus upon (or around) the time you were discharged from the military
- Suffer hearing loss resulting in a U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs impairment rating
As the family member of someone who was hurt because of 3M’s defective product, you may also be eligible to file a claim for compensation.
Call An Experienced Baltimore 3M Earplug Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case in Greater Detail Today
WGK Personal Injury Lawyers has been fighting to protect injured clients across Baltimore for over 40 years. Collectively, our lawyers have more than 80 years of experience. We know what it takes to win fair compensation for our clients–and we don’t back down to large corporations who try to avoid their financial responsibilities.
For years, 3M profited by selling defective earbuds to service members who put their lives on the line for our country. Now, you have the right to hold them accountable. To learn more about whether you have an earplug claim against the 3M company, call an experienced Baltimore 3M earplug injury lawyer today.
Remember–your first consultation is 100% free and we only collect attorneys’ fees if we win for you. In other words, there’s no risk in taking action to protect your rights.
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