Minnesota-based 3M Company is no stranger to lawsuits. Now, they’re facing a new one. The plaintiffs? Hundreds of veterans who have suffered serious injuries as a result of the use of 3M’s combat earplugs, claiming the company failed to warn of the defects or to provide instructions regarding proper use of the items.
Unfortunately, these veterans are suffering from various sensory and motor functions stemming from their time using the earplugs in the military.
Not everyone knows whether they’re privy to file a lawsuit. It’s important to recognize the facts of the lawsuit so you can be aware of whether you may have been affected, and what your rights are should you be a victim of the defective product. Here is everything you need to know about the lawsuit against 3M Company.
When Must I Have Served to File a Lawsuit?
The company was exclusively permitted to sell the U.S. military combat earplugs between the years 2003 and 2015, with millions of earplugs being sold during that timeline. Servicemembers who actively used the earplugs during this time may be able to file a lawsuit if they are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the defect.
What are the Defects Associated with the 3M Earplug?
The 3M company was supposed to produce earplugs that would help block out the sounds of loud blasts and other sounds of combat. However, many veterans claim that the earplug’s designed allowed for the product to loosen, allowing sound passed the earplug and into the ear.
The design of the earplug made it so the ear canal did not form a tight seal over the earplug unless it was used in a very specific way. As a result, servicemembers were susceptible to the loud sounds of aircraft, combat noise, and weapons firing.
Result of the Whistleblower False Claims Act Case
In July of 2018, a whistleblower came forward resulting in a False Claims Act case against 3M. According to this case, 3M was accused and found guilty of knowingly distributing the defective combat earplugs to branches of the U.S. military without warning of the potential dangers.
The result was a $9.1 million settlement that would go directly to the U.S. military in which the government would be covered for the money spent on the earplugs. However, servicemembers did not receive anything from those funds.
What Damages Are Servicemembers Experiencing?
Those who were issued the defective earplugs are now experiencing various injuries after their time served in the military, including the following the development of tinnitus or suffering from permanent hearing loss.
Tinnitus is a condition that creates phantom sounds in the injured individual’s ears and they are unable to hear external sound. These phantom sounds can include ringing, humming, hissing, roaring, clicking, and buzzing. Both short and long-term exposure to loud sounds can result in permanent tinnitus.
What Kind of Legal Action Can I Take Against 3M?
If you are experiencing the effects of the 3M defective earplug—including hearing loss or tinnitus—and served in the military between 2003 and 2015, you may be eligible to join countless others in filing a lawsuit against the negligent company.
As someone who has suffered significant injuries as a result of the defect, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills associated with the damages, pain and suffering, and other financial and emotional losses you may have experienced.
You must be aware of what the earplugs looked like to ensure you were in fact issued the exact type of earplug with the defect. If you were issued this model—along with years served and symptoms experienced—you can file a lawsuit as part of the ever-growing claims against 3M.
Why Our Firm Is Stepping Up
U.S. Military service members put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we all share. They leave their homes and families for months or years and we owe it to them to ensure they are as safe as possible with regards to the equipment they are issued.
Unfortunately, a company knowingly issued items that were defective and left our soldiers vulnerable to significant harm. And the issue of negligence is nothing new when it comes to the large corporation as they have faced numerous lawsuits because of problems found with their products.
When someone trusts that their equipment is safe, especially in the capacity of a servicemember, they don’t expect something to go wrong. However, something has gone wrong, and it’s important for those affected to take the steps to hold 3M accountable.
At DiPasquale Moore, we believe that anyone who has suffered injuries due to negligence has the right to take legal action. Our team stands by your side as you go through the complicated legal matters to help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.
Our Kansas City personal injury attorneys represent clients in their battle against 3M Company. Trust that we’re here for you every step of the way—and if we don’t win, you don’t pay. We only get paid a fee if we’re able to successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
If you’re currently suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus after being issued the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs as a U.S. Military servicemember between 2003 and 2015, you may be eligible to file a claim. Call us today at (816) 888-7500 to discuss your potential rights. Our firm has four office locations to best serve you: Kansas City, Topeka, Columbia, and St. Louis.