The U.S. Department of Justice last summer reached a $9.1 million settlement with 3M in a claim that alleged the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. If you served in the military between 2003 and 2015 and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, you may have grounds for a claim against 3M.
A personal injury lawyer can assess your situation to determine if your case has merit and how best to proceed. There’s no substitute for the personalized guidance of an attorney, but below, we’ve answered a few general questions about 3M earplug lawsuits:
1. What Was the Defect in 3M Earplugs?
The Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs manufactured by Aearo Technologies, Inc. (acquired by 3M in 2008) have a major design flaw. The portion of the plug meant for the ear canal is not long enough to keep it in place. That means the plug will block loud noises immediately after insertion but will loosen gradually until it’s barely protecting the ear canal at all. This shift is difficult to notice, so military personnel using the earplugs may not have realized the problem until it was too late.
2. What Should I Do If I Used 3M Earplugs and Suffered Tinnitus or Hearing Loss?
If you have hearing loss or tinnitus and think it can be attributed to wearing defective earplugs while serving, reach out to a personal injury attorney. Since these earplugs were only issued until 2015, gathering evidence to build a strong case may be challenging. A seasoned lawyer will have the resources to obtain evidence that is several years old and will know how to use that evidence to give your case the best possible chance of success. Your lawyer can also determine the potential value of your damages, bring in expert witnesses if necessary, and handle negotiations on your behalf.
How Much Might My Claim Be Worth?
Even if your case seems strong, no attorney who practices with integrity would guarantee a specific result. But if your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for any economic and non-economic damages you incurred due to your hearing loss or tinnitus including:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Mental anguish; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Some veterans have even sought punitive damages since 3M is alleged to have known about the defect but failed to disclose it. Punitive awards are not available in all personal injury cases and can be challenging to obtain. A skilled attorney can help you determine the types of damages to pursue and use proven legal strategies during settlement negotiations and any litigation that may follow.
Call (601) 265-7766 to Speak with a Product Liability Lawyer in Jackson
If you sustained hearing loss or tinnitus while serving in the military and think you may have a product liability claim against 3M, contact Coxwell & Associates. Unlike general practice firms, we limit our focus to only a few areas, allowing us to provide the most comprehensive counsel possible. Call (601) 265-7766 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a product liability attorney in Jackson.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.