A defective military ear plugs injury lawsuit filed against 3M—a Minnesota-based company—was settled in July 2018. The defective military ear plugs injury lawsuit was brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, also known as qui tam. The lawsuit affects all those soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015 who experienced partial hearing loss, total hearing loss, tinnitus, buzzing in the ears or ringing in the ears after using these 3M dual-ended Combat Arms ear plugs. Although 3M did not admit any wrongdoing, the lawsuit was settled for $9.1 million. Court documents detail the fact that the 3M ear plugs were too short, causing them to loosen in the wearer’s ear, thus exposing him or her to damaging noises from explosions, weapon fire and military vehicles.
This noise exposure then resulted in tinnitus, partial hearing loss, total hearing loss, buzzing in the ears or ringing in the ears for many service members. The False Claims Act argued that 3M and Aearo (the original manufacturer of the ear plugs) were aware of the ear plug defects as early as 2000, yet made false claims regarding whether the ear plugs met the safety standards of the military. While the original lawsuit has been settled, it only compensated the government for the money it spent purchasing the defective ear plugs. The affected service members may now file individual lawsuits seeking compensation for damages they have suffered, including personal injury, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus a Serious Issue for Military Veterans - There are currently more than 2.7 million veterans receiving disability benefits for some level of hearing loss and/or tinnitus. An AARP study found that hearing issues comprise the top service-related medical issue for military veterans, even outpacing traumatic brain injuries, missing limbs and PTSD. Military service members are routinely exposed to loud noises, which is the reason the military purchases ear plugs for its soldiers.
The ear plugs are meant to meet the safety standards set by the government, and soldiers using the ear plugs would assume the ear plugs were safe and not defective. In addition to filing a lawsuit against 3M, veterans with total hearing loss, partial hearing loss, tinnitus, buzzing in the ears or ringing in the ears could be eligible for VA disability for hearing loss once a hearing loss VA rating is received. This VA rating provides the level of disability the hearing loss or tinnitus brings, then equates a monthly amount related to that hearing loss VA rating.
Getting Help for Your Defective Military Ear Plugs Injury Lawsuit - If you suffered partial hearing loss, total hearing loss or tinnitus after using the Combat Arms ear plugs while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015, you could benefit from speaking to a knowledgeable Combat Arms ear plugs injury lawyer from Sullo & Sullo. Having hearing loss or suffering from tinnitus can severely alter your future, causing social isolation, depression and even cognitive issues. Speak to an experienced defective military ear plugs injury lawyer today.