What's the Problem with 3M Military Earplugs?
From 2003 to 2015, 3M sold its Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) to the U.S. Government, which were issued to hundreds of thousands of military service members. When 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies signed the contract with the government, the company claimed that the earplugs were designed to offer users 2 unique types of hearing protection.
The yellow end of the earplugs was designed to protect against loud noises like gunshots and explosions while still allowing the wearer to hear soft sounds like conversations and approaching vehicles. The other end was designed to block out high-level, constant noises such as machinery, ground equipment, and aircraft.
Unfortunately, the design of the earplugs was flawed and they did not offer the protection the company claimed. As a result, countless military personnel may have developed permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other serious health complications.
What are 3M Earplug Lawsuits Alleging?
There are currently about 260,000 lawsuits pending against 3M claiming that the company's Aearo Technologies subsidiary was aware of the dangers of the Combat Arms Earplugs as early as 2000 – before they sold the earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. According to reports, 3M and Aearo may have falsified test results to make it appear that their hearing protection met government standards.
Reports have also surfaced which indicated that the manufacturers continued to submit false claims about the effectiveness of their earplugs in subsequent years to ensure their contract as the exclusive supplier of military issue hearing protection.
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
3M Earplug Whistleblower Lawsuit
In 2018, 3M agreed to pay the U.S. Government $9.1 million to settle a lawsuit that was filed under provisions of the False Claims Act. The company did not admit fault. It asserted that the lawsuit was just a good-faith measure to avoid public-relations problems and legal battles in the future.
Related Article: Whistleblower Lawsuit Update
What is the False Claims Act?
Congress enacted the False Claims Act (FCA) in 1863 in response to concern about the Army being defrauded by manufacturers who supplied them with goods. At the time it was put into law, anyone who knowingly submitted false claims to the U.S. Government was liable for double the amount of government damages and a $2,000 penalty for each false claim made. The False Claims Act has gone through many changes since it was first enacted, with penalties increasing and various amendments made to the law, but the intent remains the same.
Related Article: How to Qualify for a 3M Lawsuit?
Long-Term Complications of Defective 3M Earplugs
The use of faulty 3M earplugs will cost veterans more than just their hearing. While injuries include hearing loss and tinnitus, the long-term effect of these impairments is much greater.
For some, the sound of their children’s laughter will become a distant memory or they may never hear their baby’s first words. Others will suffer from dizzy spells, problems maintaining balance, and even difficulty walking.
Others will have trouble concentrating or remembering things because of damage to their hearing. These injuries take a serious emotional toll on victims, as many will also develop depression, anxiety, and problems sleeping.
Read Also: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Payout
What To Do if You Were Injured by 3M Earplugs
If you or a loved one served in any branch of the United States military between 2003 and 2015, and were provided with 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2), and have subsequently developed hearing loss or tinnitus, you may be eligible to be compensated for your injuries by filing a lawsuit. Hearing loss is extremely common among veterans who served between 2003 and 2015.
You shouldn’t have to bear the burden of medical expenses from injuries that were the result of 3M's negligence. For the best chance at a full financial recovery for your damages, you should contact the Maine 3M Earplug Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, immediately. We can help determine whether you’re eligible and then assist you with that claim.
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