If you or a family member has suffered hearing loss related to the use of 3M earplugs that were distributed to American troops during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, you might be entitled to compensation. Companies that make safety protection gear are required to uphold certain standards.
When they do not, they are held accountable for their lack of attention to detail and quality in the products that they create. The timeframe for this class action lawsuit covers many years which means that even if you served later in the conflict, you might still have been affected.
Working with a skilled lawyer is important if you are going to engage in the steps necessary to get the compensation that you deserve for your hearing loss related to this manufacturing error. Your case can be added to those that are already involved in the class action suit. Plus, your lawyer can make sure that you are given the compensation that you deserve when the class action suit is concluded.
If you want to know more about the 3M Ear Plug Class Action Lawsuits, read on!
What is the 3M Earplug Class Action Lawsuit?
This class action lawsuit has been brought against American conglomerate 3M. This company makes safety protection gear for many industrial uses as well as for home and medical use. They also were tasked with making an earplug that was sold to the military for use by service members during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These earplugs were meant to prevent troops serving between 2003 and 2015 from losing their hearing related to loud noises during combat.
What Were 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
These specialty earplugs were made with a dual-protection design that was supposed to block out some or all of the noise around the soldier using them. They could be rotated to be inserted in different directions to provide complete silence or just noise blocking that still allowed for subtle sounds to be heard.
The lawsuit is regarding the earplugs that were sold between 2003 and 2015 to soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. These allegedly were sold with known flaws that made them provide less than optimal protection against loud noises.
The lawsuit states that 3M knew just from testing that the earplugs were too short to fit properly into the ear canal and that they could loosen without the user being aware of this. The lawsuit also alleges that the military was not told that there was a modification to the earplug. This would not ensure the optimal protection that was promised by the company when the product was in use.
These earplugs were made in two colors, one-half yellow, and the other half olive. The yellow end was supposed to restrict some loud noises but allow the user to still hear spoken commands or the footfalls of an approaching enemy. The olive end was intended to work like a normal earplug that protects against all loud noises while also blocking most sounds. At that time, over 2 million military members were deployed and many have been found to have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus due to this product and its faulty design.
The compounding factor has made the class action lawsuit the largest in history. It states that the product was sold for so many years to the military under the false promise that the product would prevent hearing loss. Combat zones are high risk for many reasons and the loud noises that are present during training, as well as active combat, were found to have led to serious hearing loss for many service members wearing this earplug product.
What is the 3M Earplug Class Action Settlement Payout?
As of July of 2018, the company and the Justice Department announced that 3M would pay $9.1 million toward resolving the allegations that the earplugs that were sold during this period were faulty and could have led to harm for those who used them. The company admits that it sold the products without disclosing the effects that were revealed in testing. The lawsuit was initiated after a whistleblower revealed that the earplugs were not operating as stated by the company.
The whistleblower was Moldex-Metric, Inc which is a rival earplug maker. They filed a lawsuit that stated that the 3M plugs did not perform up to the stated levels that they had claimed. Their claim stated that 3M had been knowingly deceiving The Department of Justice for years. This whistleblower claim is allowed when fraud against a U.S. taxpayer, private citizens, or corporations might be involved in or affected by the issue.
The settlement money that was released has gone into the hands of the government. Individual lawsuits will now have to be filed by each affected soldier who believes that they were injured due to the use of these faulty earplugs during the years that they served overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some of these suits will be brought against The Department of Defense while others will be brought against 3M directly. The product defect cases have been consolidated under multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Florida at this time.
What Are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss Related to the 3M Earplug Settlement Payout?
The common symptoms that are related to the 3M earplugs lawsuit are ringing in the ears as well as hearing loss. This might have been documented by the military without connection to the use of these earplugs, but these records can be released to be used for your case. You should also make sure that any ongoing care that you have received for your hearing loss and related symptoms is provided to your lawyer.
Your lawyer will determine which of your health conditions might be related to the class action suit and help you to deliver the right documents to prove your case. Sometimes additional health concerns can be linked to the lawsuit. Your lawyer will work with you to find out which of your ongoing medical needs might have been the result of the hearing damage that you suffered after the use of this faulty earplug product.
How Much Money Can You Get From the Class Action 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
Veterans who have filed a lawsuit against The Department of Justice for their injuries will potentially receive a settlement from the $9.1 million that was given to The Department of Justice after the class action lawsuit was concluded. The amount that you are owed for compensation for your injuries might vary. It will be depending on the severity of the problems that you are experiencing and their impact on your ability to work and care for yourself.
Your lawyer will know if pain and suffering and other additional damages might need to be included in the demands that are put forth for your case. There are many related health conditions that might stem from your hearing loss. Your lawyer will make sure to account for all of the problems that you have suffered from your health and ability to enjoy your life related to the use of these faulty earplugs from 3M.
In some cases, the lawsuit that you bring will actually be against 3M. 250,000 plaintiffs have already filed against 3M directly and this might be your best course of action. Your lawyer will know which way to bring your case to justice. You will be able to trust that you are getting the right legal advice when compared to trying to work with a class-action lawsuit group on your own. This is the largest class-action lawsuit in history. It might be easy to get lost in the many voices who are demanding that they be compensated for their suffering related to this faulty product.
Have There Been Any Bellwether Trials?
There have been. One case that was heard in May of 2021 did award three plaintiffs $7.1 million in compensation after a five-week trial that was sanctioned by 3M. This was for the hearing loss that they suffered as a result of using the defective earplugs. The award was made up of $830,500 in compensatory damages as well as $2.1 million in punitive damages for each plaintiff.
As with all of the Bellwether cases that have been successfully tried, there has to be evidence that the company knew that the earplugs would not provide the stated coverage that was promised. If this evidence is present and can be pointed to clearly, the outcome of these cases can be fairly certain. These are the kind of cases upon which your own case will be built if you also have hearing loss and other health conditions related to the use of these earplugs that can be linked to the negligence of 3M.
The second Bellwether trial was conducted on May 28th, 2021. This was the defense portion of the case and the decision was “not-guilty” in favor of 3M. While there are many other cases that will be tried over the coming years, there might be issues with obtaining a guilty verdict. Often, there is not sufficient evidence that 3M’s products were directly linked to hearing loss in plaintiffs. The other factor that must be present is knowledge on the part of 3M that the products were sold under false premises and promises to the plaintiffs. These conditions must be met for a successful verdict to be reached in your favor.
Your lawyer will look at the cases that have been tried. They will see what kinds of evidence have led to successful outcomes and compare the evidence that has been obtained for your case. There are often additional witnesses that will be called upon and experts might be needed to run new medical tests on you to help confirm your claims. Being able to show a connection between wearing 3M earplugs and your hearing loss might require that there is enough evidence built up to demonstrate the claim.
You might be asked to show all of your medical records from the period that you wore the earplugs as well as medical records related to ongoing care for your health that could be linked to your injuries due to the use of 3M earplugs. You will have to consent to share these medical records with the jury and the other lawyer that is involved in your case as well as the judge. This is part of the necessary disclosures that will be required to demonstrate the link between your injuries and 3M’s faulty products.
Another of the Bellwether trials that ended in success for the plaintiff was the case of Brandon Adkins who suffered hearing loss that greatly impacted his life after he was discharged from the military. He was awarded an $8.2 million verdict at the completion of his case. This is the kind of award that can be obtained if your hearing loss greatly impacts your overall ability to work and care for yourself and your family. While you might not secure this kind of settlement, there is a mountain of existing cases that can be used as part of the evidence for your own case.
Working With a Skilled Lawyer for Your Part in the 3M Class Action Lawsuit
Do you believe that you have experienced tinnitus or hearing loss related to your time serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003-2015? It’s important to work with a skilled and experienced lawyer.
If you know that you were given 3M earplugs for your protection during this time, you might have a case that could be brought before a judge to seek compensation for your injuries. This is particularly true if your hearing loss has greatly impacted your ability to work and care for yourself and your family.
Your lawyer will work to build your case and collect evidence. This will help to show the link between your injuries and the faulty products that were made by 3M and knowingly distributed with flaws that made them useless for the job they were supposed to do. Your lawyer will help you to craft a compensation demand and help you to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.