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What to Do If You’ve Suffered Hearing Loss Due to Military-Issued 3M Earplugs

February 11, 2019
By Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

We appreciate the sacrifice our soldiers make to protect our freedoms. Many of them return from war zones with life-altering injuries, but whenever possible, we want to protect them from such harm. To knowingly send soldiers into battle with inferior equipment is unconscionable.

This is why there has been such outrage over revelations that a multi-million-dollar corporation, 3M, supplied American troops with earplugs they knew were defective.

If you serve or have served in Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Ft. Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Pope AFB, Cherry Point, and other locations such as National Guard and Reserve posts, please keep reading.

Between 2003 and 2015, 3M sold thousands of earplugs to the U.S. military, which distributed them to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, many of the deployed soldiers suffered serious hearing damage. It was then discovered that the earplugs were too short, and would loosen in some users. This left the ears of many troops exposed to the damaging levels of noise associated with combat.

The Truth Comes Out

In 2018, a whistleblower came forward and disclosed that 3M was aware of the design flaw in its Combat ArmsTM CAEv2 Earplugs, Version 2, as early as 2000, yet did not inform the United States Armed Forces. Instead, they supplied our brave servicemen with the defective earplugs for 12 years.

Although 3M denies the claims and admits to no wrongdoing, it has agreed to pay the Department of Defense $9.1 million to settle allegations that the company knew of the earplugs’ design flaw.  Unfortunately, this money will not go to injured soldiers and veterans. If military service personnel want to receive compensation for their hearing loss or tinnitus, they will have to file a civil lawsuit.

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for recovering damages, you must have:

  • Served as a soldier in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015
  • Been issued Combat ArmsTMCAEv2 Earplugs, Version 2, earplugs
  • Been diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus

Compensation for your hearing loss, tinnitus, or related health issues may include:

  • Medical bills for treatment and devices (hearing aids, amplified or captioned phones, etc.)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent injury or disability
  • Loss of career or earning capacity
  • Mental and emotional duress
  • Hedonic damages for loss of joy of life
  • Other damages (such as if your hearing loss leads to familial strife or divorce)

Why You Need a Skilled Team of Lawyers

3M is a large and powerful corporation, with deep pockets. They have armies of attorneys whose job it is to get your claim denied or diminished. You don’t want to face them alone. The experienced product liability attorneys at North Carolina’s Rhine Law Firm, P.C., will represent you in a mass tort claim, and work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call our Wilmington office at (910) 772-9960 or fill out an online form for a free case evaluation.
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