Recently, 3M, the multinational corporation, has been in the news for lawsuits filed against them in relation to their Combat Arms earplugs. If you have served and have been injured by defective 3M earplugs, you may be eligible to file a 3M earplugs lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries.
The Austin area has many military veterans. In fact, 6.8% of the population of Texas consists of people who have served their country in one of the branches of the military. On the field, personnel are given protective equipment, including earplugs, to protect them from the dangers of active service. Private companies get government contracts to supply this protective equipment and they are expected to supply safe and well-tested products.
What Is the Premise of the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
3M purchased a company called Aearo Technologies in 2008. Aearo Technologies had developed a yellow and dark green earplug that 3M would later sell under the name Combat Arms. 3M had an exclusive contract to supply the U.S. military with earplugs to protect military personnel from hearing loss caused by loud noise in active duty, including the noise caused by heavy machinery and weapons. They supplied the Combat Arms earplugs to the military between 2008 and 2015.
However, service members began reporting that after using the Combat Arms earplugs from 3M they experienced partial or full hearing loss as well as tinnitus, which is a persistent ringing in the ears. Investigators have alleged that 3M earplugs were defective and unsafe and did not protect service members from hearing damage. As a result, veterans have filed legal claims, seeking a 3M lawsuit settlement payout to cover their costs.
In 2018, the Justice Department and 3M searched for a settlement. Though 3M did not admit to doing anything wrong, they paid $9.1 million to settle the matter after the Justice Department alleged 3M provided defective earplugs and did not reveal the defect to the military.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Compensation?
Any service member or user of the 3M Combat Arms earplugs who has suffered harm, including hearing loss or tinnitus, may be eligible for compensation. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, you can always contact Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law for a confidential, free, and no-obligation consultation. Our team would be happy to explain whether you might have a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit,
If you are considering whether it’s worth it to seek compensation, consider that the average cost of hearing loss is $297,000 over a person’s lifetime, and in some cases the costs can be higher. These costs can include medical expenses, hearing aids, and other accessibility devices and features to allow someone with hearing loss to work and live well.
If you don’t receive compensation, you could end up paying these costs yourself. Given how much hearing loss or tinnitus can impact your life and finances, it makes sense to at least consider the option of seeking compensation for your bills, pain and suffering, and injuries.
How Have the Verdicts or Trials So Far Impacted the Overall Case and Affected Veterans?
Over 290,000 veterans have sued 3M over the earplugs as of the summer of 2022, and more lawsuits are expected. As of May 2022, 3M had won six lawsuits and in 12 lawsuits the plaintiffs have been awarded compensation totaling $220 million, though 3M is appealing these decisions.
In some of the lawsuits, juries have awarded large punitive damages, amounting to over $10 million in some cases. Punitive damages are awarded to injured people when a jury feels a company has been negligent and may be punished for its recklessness. The fact that large punitive damages have been awarded shows that juries feel 3M can be held responsible.
In addition, the large jury awards to injured military service members have created some publicity about the lawsuits. This may cause additional veterans to come forward to seek compensation. The increased awareness may cause some military service members to realize their symptoms and hearing loss may be linked to 3M ear plugs they wore as part of their service.
How Much Are Veterans Getting for the Earplug Lawsuit?
Every lawsuit and 3M earplug settlement amount is different, so there is no average 3M earplug lawsuit payout to veterans. Some veterans have lost their cases in court against 3M. Others have won large amounts of compensation. In February 2022, for example, two plaintiffs were awarded $110 million, including $40 million in punitive damages.
In March of the same year, another jury awarded $8 million to another plaintiff and in May an Army veteran was awarded $77.5 million. The severity of the injuries, the jury, the strength of the case, the expected impact of the injury, and other factors can all influence the compensation awarded in a case.
What Still Remains to Come for This Lawsuit?
So far, the 3M earplugs lawsuit is among the largest when it comes to multidistrict mass tort claims in U.S. history. As more veterans come forward from all states, the size of this litigation may grow. In June 2022, as the number of lawsuits climbed, a federal judge ordered cases to move to mediation.
3M is still appealing any wins for plaintiffs and alleging that their earplugs do work when used correctly. They also have not admitted to any defects in the products and have claimed that designs supplied by the Army may have introduced any defects. Added media attention because of the large settlements may put pressure on 3M, but this is not certain.
How Can Having Legal Representation Like Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law Help?
Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law has more than 30 years of experience helping those who have been injured get compensation for their injuries. We have helped many workers who have been injured in workplace accidents, including construction accidents. Our team is fully bilingual in English and Spanish, and we genuinely care about the outcome of your case. We work to provide a respectful and supportive environment so you can feel comfortable. Empathy and experience remain at the cornerstone of our firm and you can expect not only competent, but caring representation from Pastrana & Garcia.
If you’ve been injured by defective 3M earplugs, don’t hesitate. Contact Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law today for a free consultation to find out whether you might have a claim.