If you or a loved one used 3M earplugs and experienced hearing loss, you may be owed compensation. Babin Law, LLC is experienced in representing personal injury and product defect clients in the Columbus, Ohio area. Read on to find out how we may be able to help protect your rights.
Before a product is released on the market, it should be tested to ensure it is safe and effective. However, many companies don’t perform the adequate amount of testing. Others fudge results to push their products through so they can make money regardless of their effectiveness.
The 3M company is one that has been found guilty of pushing a product through despite a significant design flaw. Their Dual End and Reversible Combat Arms Earplugs were designed to block battlefield noises so soldiers could communicate on active duty. However, it was found that they were not effective, and many soldiers suffered hearing loss as a result.
The 3M Earplugs Issue
3M manufactured and sold Dual End and Reversible Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) to the military between 2003 and 2015. Although they were designed to block noises on the battlefield, they were shown to have a design flaw. As a result, many soldiers suffered partial or complete hearing loss.
After a whistleblower report and a DOJ lawsuit, it was revealed that 3M know about the flaw and failed to notify the government or add a warning label to the product. Rather, they continued to sell the earplugs as is. Several lawsuits are being filed against the company for their irresponsible actions.
The Design Flaw
CAEv2 earplugs were meant to serve a dual purpose. They were supposed to block loud noises to protect hearing while allowing other frequencies of sound to get through. This would allow for communication between soldiers on the battlefield.
The earplugs 3M sold were too short for proper insertion. This rendered the product useless. Countless U.S. military members used the earplugs while deployed in foreign countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and suffered hearing loss as a result.
Am I Eligible to File a Lawsuit?
Here are the criteria you will need to meet if you would like to file a lawsuit:
- You must have served in the military between 2003-2015
- You must have been issued 3M combat earplugs
- You must have suffered permanent hearing loss or tinnitus
Combat veterans are most likely to have suffered hearing loss when using the earplugs. However, they may also have caused hearing issues for soldiers involved in firearms training, vehicle use and maintenance, and those working under loud conditions.
Will a 3M Claim Cause Me to Lose My VA Benefits?
Veterans may be entitled to compensation on top of disability and other service-related benefits. The claim is not income-based, and it will not stop or decrease your disability benefits regardless of whether you are getting a lump sum or structured payout.
However, your needs-based, or income-based benefits could be affected since a win can put you in a higher income bracket. A lawyer will be able to tell you how a lawsuit will affect you financially.
How is the 3M Case Being Handled?
3M is looking at over 240,000 claims by veterans and service members over the earplugs. Most of these cases are consolidated before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rogers in the Northern District of Florida, the largest multidistrict litigation. Many have won a considerable amount of money. In fact, three earplug plaintiffs were awarded $2.1 million in punitive damages per victim.
The current litigation is not classified as a class action lawsuit. Rather, it is known as a multi-district litigation. That means that each plaintiff must have his or her own individual lawsuit against the company.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get in a 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?
The compensation you are looking at in a 3M lawsuit will vary depending on your personal situation and the extent of your injury. Many soldiers have experienced irritability, dizziness, headaches, and sleep problems related to hearing loss which may further reduce quality of life. With that in mind, here are some damages you may be looking at.
Loss of Wages: Loss of wages will cover any amount of time taken off work to deal with medical issues. It will also cover a lack of future earning potential. For example, if the hearing loss has caused you to be unable to return to work or if it has forced you to take a lower paying position, you will be reimbursed for any discrepancy in wages.
Emotional and Physical Pain and Suffering: Partial and total hearing loss can lead to considerable physical and emotional pain and suffering. At fault parties will be responsible for compensating you for these damages. It is difficult to come up with a monetary value to put on these intangible elements, but your lawyer will use their years of experience to determine an amount that is fair.
Medical Expenses: Medical expenses will cover doctor visits to diagnose and treat hearing loss as well as any hearing aids and devices and services purchased to help with communication.
Punitive Damages: 3M was aware that the earplugs were defective, yet they continued selling them. Their actions are considered excessively reckless, and they are, therefore, liable for punitive damages. It is hopeful that these additional damages discourage them from exhibiting similar behavior in the future.
How Babin Law Could Help With Your Ohio 3M Earplugs Lawsuit
If you or a loved one suffered with hearing loss due to the use of 3M earplugs, you deserve compensation. Babin Law, LLC will take a look at your case to see if you are eligible to receive damages.
Babin Law has years of experience dealing with personal injury and product defect cases in the Columbus, Ohio area. We have a reputation for treating our clients with a high level of care and respect. We will stop at nothing to see to it that justice is served.
3M should not get away with their poor treatment of veterans. Take a stand to make sure they get what’s coming to them. Call or email Babin Law to schedule a free compensation and take the first step in getting the closure you need.