The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs are used by military personnel in combat areas where gunfire, explosions, and other loud noises are the norm. The earplugs protect soldiers from hearing damage caused by blasts. In addition to allowing them to hear what’s going on around them without having to take the earplugs out. However, many soldiers have come forward saying that the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs did not work as promised. In fact, there are some cases in which there were permanent hearing damage instead of protecting them from it. Here’s a look at the action you can take if you’ve been affected by 3M earplugs. As well as information on the ongoing 3M earplug lawsuit and any updates on the mass tort.
What Are 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
Three million pairs of 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs were issued to military service members between 2003 and 2015. The earplugs are dual-ended to provide protection from loud noise during combat situations. Additionally, they can be used for normal hearing in day-to-day activities.
One end allows louder noises, like gunshots, to pass through, while muffling lower-level sounds that are crucial for hearing speech or other important sounds. On December 7, 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1M to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to U.S. military personnel.
3M Earplug Lawsuit Update: Previous Lawsuit Settlements
The lawsuit alleges that these military service members suffered hearing loss and other medical problems after they wore 3M’s Combat Arms (CA) Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs. They used the earplugs while performing their duties in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, there are more 3M earplug lawsuit updates.
3M (NYSE: MMM) Hit With $110M In 3M Earplug Lawsuit Trial
Two veteran American service members were awarded $110 million after 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military. U.S. Army veterans Ronald Sloan and William Wayman who are based in Florida, argued that 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were defective.
The lawyers for the plaintiffs said. They are among the almost 300,000 service members and other veterans that are suffering from hearing loss because of 3M’s product. Sloan and Wayman were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages, higher than the top awards granted in litigation like this ($22.5 million).
MMM Owes A Whopping $58M To Two Veterans In Trial
A federal jury awarded two ex-military members $58 million in damages over the earplugs sold by 3M. The ex-military members say had caused them to suffer hearing damage. This verdict was just the latest in the drove of lawsuits brought against the company for their combat earplugs.
Jurors in Pensacola, Florida, awarded a US Army veteran with $50M. The veteran used 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 from 2006 to 2017, primarily during training.
Wilkerson was a victim of tinnitus who was issued earplugs while serving in the National Guard.
Consequently, a Tallahassee jury awarded $8M in compensatory damages to Steven Wilkerson.
The lawsuit is part of the over 280,000 active and former military members who have sued 3M for defective earplugs that have damaged their hearing. This makes it one of the largest federal mass tort litigation in U.S. history.
In Vilsmeyer’s case, the jury awarded him exclusively compensatory damages, totalling a record-breaking, second-largest jury award in history. He served in the Army from 1999 to 2020, as a howitzer gunner, and later as a Green Beret.
Are You Eligible to File A Claim?
The 3M Combat Arms earplugs, a military product manufactured by Minnesota-based hearing protection company Aearo Technologies, have been blamed as a major contributor to soldier hearing loss.
The combat arms earplugs were used for years. They were designed to be an affordable option for combat soldiers. In addition to being uncomfortable and providing inadequate noise reduction, it has been reported that these earplugs were too short to fit properly in soldiers’ ears.
Tens of thousands of service members have filed lawsuits against 3M. There have been reports of ringing in their ears and hearing loss after prolonged use of these earplugs.
The United States Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into whether 3M illegally sold defective products designed to protect military personnel during combat situations.
Information On How To File A Lawsuit
As it currently stands, only veterans who received an ear exam between 2003 and 2015 and who suffered hearing loss as a result of using 3M Combat Arms Earplugs are eligible to make a claim. The lawsuit has been filed in federal court under U.S. Military Veterans Claims Act (MACRA).
This law allows all military veterans whose medical conditions were aggravated by combat-related injuries or illnesses (including hearing loss) to sue parties responsible for supplying defective products. Essentially, if you’re eligible and can prove that 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs caused your hearing damage during military service, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Consequently, that can help ease your medical bills and other expenses associated with your injury.
That being said, it’s important to have all your documents and contact someone who can help you with related lawsuit information.
The 3M earplug lawsuit should have not taken so long. While it has recently been settled out of court, if you are one of those affected by hearing loss from 3M combat arms earplugs while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, you may be eligible to file a claim.