Defective Combat Earplugs Lawsuits
Combat earplugs are essential protective gear for military personnel who are exposed to loud noises. However, many product liability lawsuits have arisen regarding the defectiveness of certain earplugs produced by 3M and their predecessor. The defects likely caused serious or complete hearing loss, tinnitus, or balance loss in thousands of soldiers.
Continue reading for information on the background of these lawsuits and whether you are eligible to file a claim.
What Are the 3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuits About?
The potentially defective earplugs at issue in these lawsuits–called Combat Arms Earplugs–were originally developed by a company called Aearo Technologies. 3M acquired that company in 2008 and continued to produce the earplugs. Accordingly, 3M is liable for conduct that happened before and after 2008.
3M and the U.S. Department of Defense had an exclusive contract that included supplying the military with earplugs. The earplugs were intended to protect soldiers from high-intensity sounds, but they were flawed and unable to prevent serious hearing loss. Left vulnerable to these sounds, thousands of soldiers now suffer from partial or complete hearing loss, balance loss, and tinnitus as a result.
Unfortunately, it appears that 3M and its predecessor were aware of the defects in the earplugs that ultimately injured thousands of soldiers.
What Was Wrong with the Combat Earplugs?
A key issue with the Combat Arms Earplugs was that there were issues getting them to fit into helmets. To remedy this, the company shortened the earplugs.
This led to another issue: the earplugs did not insert deeply enough into the ear, especially for people with larger ear canals, and failed to protect soldiers from noise exposure. 3M was aware of defects with the Combat Arms Earplugs but failed to disclose that information to the military.
Do I Qualify to File a Combat Earplugs Lawsuit?
Individuals who meet the following criteria may be eligible to file a combat earplugs lawsuit:
- Served in the military between 2003 to 2015
- Wore military-issued earplugs
- Were exposed to loud or intense sounds during their military service
- Have since been diagnosed with partial or complete hearing loss, tinnitus, or loss of balance
If you meet these requirements, you may have a claim against 3M regarding their defective earplugs. If you think you are eligible, you should contact a product liability lawyer handling 3M lawsuits about your potential claim.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Product Liability Attorney in Texas?
Most firms representing victims in the 3M earplugs lawsuits work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to pay any upfront costs.
The attorney’s fees will be a percentage of the amount you recover in the case. If a client does not receive any compensation, the attorney does not collect any attorney’s fees.
Will Filing a Combat Earplugs Claim Impact Your Disability Benefits?
Many veterans who served between 2003 and 2015 have a disability rating and receive benefits based on a service-connected injury or disability. While the 3M lawsuits also likely relate to a service-connected injury, it is unlikely that filing a claim against 3M would impact your disability rating with Veterans Affairs.
Nonetheless, this is an understandable concern that you can raise with an experienced attorney when discussing your claim.
Contact a Texas Product Liability Lawyer About Your Defective Combat Earplugs Claim
Defective equipment, such as the Combat Arms Earplugs, can have devastating consequences for military personnel. If you’re suffering from hearing loss, balance loss, or tinnitus related to using these earplugs during your military career, contact a product liability attorney to discuss filing a claim.
Please contact an experienced product liability lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd to get a free initial consultation today. We have offices in Friendswood and Galveston, Texas. Call us at (281) 992-8633.
The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd – Galveston
2101 Mechanic St. Suite 253
Galveston, TX 77550
The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd
312 S. Friendswood Dr.
Friendswood, TX 77546