SeanCarlo Lopez | July 3, 2023 | Product Liability
Defective Combat Earplugs Lawsuits
Military service is a long-honored tradition in the U.S. Millions of men and women have faithfully served this country in times of peace and war. When someone bravely puts their life on the line for their country, they expect their country to do its best to protect them in return.
Unfortunately, that protection is not always guaranteed. One of the more recent examples of this occurred between 2003 and 2015 when U.S. soldiers were issued defective Combat Arms earplugs manufactured by 3M.
According to Military Times, hundreds of veterans serving during that period are filing lawsuits against 3M. If you believe you were issued these earplugs while you served, it is essential to learn more about the lawsuits surrounding them.
What Is Wrong with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
These product liability lawsuits are meant to address the hearing loss and tinnitus caused by a design flaw in the earplugs. The lawsuits allege that the earplugs had a defective design that allowed dangerous levels of sound to reach the ears of the person wearing them.
Furthermore, it is claimed that 3M didn’t provide any warning to the soldiers who were issued these earplugs or instructions for how to avoid this danger.
These lawsuits also allege that the company was aware of these defects before it sold them to the military and didn’t disclose the dangers. This claim is reinforced by a settlement previously paid to resolve these allegations.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a medical condition where the victim experiences ringing, humming, or other types of noises inside their ears. The sound can range in pitch from a minor annoyance to a roar. Victims may hear it in one or both ears, and the pitch can vary.
If you suffer from tinnitus, the constant noise can cause headaches or make it difficult to concentrate. It also effectively causes hearing loss; often, you can’t hear external noises over the sound being emitted inside your body.
Lawsuits Involving Defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
Litigation involving these earplugs from 3M has been ongoing for years, and the courts have primarily sided with the litigants. Two veterans were awarded $110 million in 2022, and while that is one of the highest damage awards, the average payout in successful cases has resulted in multi-million dollar awards.
3M has attempted to thwart the courts by declaring bankruptcy with the division that created these earplugs. Thus far, the courts have denied that attempt by allowing the previously started lawsuits to continue. However, this tactic might have protected the company from future lawsuits.
Not all of the cases have resulted in positive results for the litigants. Thousands of cases have been dismissed, either because the litigant didn’t have a legitimate claim or because they failed to respond to information requests in a reasonable amount of time.
However, of the roughly 250,000 cases still pending, the majority are in mediation, led by Randi Ellis. This mediation has been somewhat rocky, but is likely to result in settlements relatively soon.
File Your Defective Combat Earplugs Claim Before Time Is Up
The statute of limitations has not expired for veterans that only recently discovered that they suffered hearing loss due to the use of these earplugs. Any veteran who served in the military from 2003 to 2015 and was issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs may be able to file a new product liability claim if they haven’t already done so.
If you were issued these earplugs while you served during this time period, make sure to speak with an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible to determine your legal options.
Contact Our Product Liability Law Firm – Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
Contact a St. Petersburg product liability lawyer at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.
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