4 Ways Veterans May Qualify for Compensation from the 3M Earplug Settlement
As a veteran who spent your life fighting for our liberties and freedoms, you expect the government to have provided you with the proper equipment to keep you safe, whether or not on the line of duty.
Unfortunately, a federal whistleblower announced that 3M’s Aearo Technology Combat Arms earplugs were known to be defective and unable to protect users from harmful decibel levels. According to the whistleblower, 3M was aware of this issue from the beginning but informed no one. They continued to supply the military with their products for 13 years, knowing they could be harming active military members.
The earplugs were double-sided for use in various situations, designed to seal the ear canal for protection from loud noises. Due to a design flaw, the earplugs’ stems were not long enough, so the earplugs often became loose, leaving the ear canal unsealed and unprotected. This allowed loud sounds to slip in, without the wearer knowing. The dislodgement was so minimal that wearers could not feel a difference and trained audiologists could not visually detect a change in position.
As a result, thousands of veterans and active-duty members are suffering from hearing loss, tinnitus, loss of balance, and other related medical conditions. Lawyers, veterans, and active-duty members have been fighting for widespread compensation since the news about these defective earplugs broke. There are only a handful of conditions you must meet, as a veteran, to qualify for compensation from a 3M Earplug lawsuit.
1: You served between 2003 and 2015
This timeframe, of more than a decade, is when 3M had the exclusive rights to provide all the branches of the US military with their earplugs.
Understandably, you need to have been serving during this period. But, the length of time you served is irrelevant.
2: You were issued 3M earplugs during your service
As 3M was the only company producing earplugs for the entire United States military, it is likely you were supplied with these defective earplugs.
3: You were exposed to high noise levels
During your service, you must have been exposed to extremely high noise levels. In some cases, like an explosion of .50 caliber gunfire sounding off close to the ears, a single instance of exposure could render permanent hearing damage.
The most prevalent plaintiffs in the first 3M Earplug Lawsuit were pilots, aircraft support personnel, infantry, mechanics, gunners, artillery, and engineers. However, if you were working in a different area, but were still exposed to loud noises such as gun fire or aircrafts landing and taking off, you can still qualify.
4: You used the earplugs for protection against these loud noises
To qualify for the compensation, you must have used the earplugs for their intended purpose – blocking loud noises common in combat zones or general military areas.
You do not, on the other hand, need a professional diagnosis of hearing loss. You may still be able to qualify for compensation purely based on common hearing loss or impairment symptoms like:
- Difficulties understanding other people when they are speaking
- Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus
- The impression that other people are mumbling, even when they are not
- Avoidance of social situations as you cannot carry out a normal conversation in noisy environments.
- Headaches, dizziness, or loss of balance
A medical lawyer can help you in collecting information which proves your condition.
If you meet these conditions, there is no reason not to file and collect the compensation you rightly deserve. The compensation will vary on a case to case basis and will depend on how long you were in the military as well as the severity of your hearing loss.
Get in contact with the top personal injury lawyers in your area. They will be familiar with the 3M Earplug Lawsuit, as millions of Americans could possibly be affected.