If you or a loved one served in the military and sustained hearing loss, it may have been because of defective combat earplugs provided by 3M. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical treatment and other damages. Thousands of other veterans have file claims seeking compensation.
At Greg Coleman Law, we are ready to advocate for military veterans who used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). 3M advertised that these dual-ended earplugs would protect the hearing of military personal serving in active-duty combat and off-duty missions. Yet many veterans who used the CAEv2s have sustained severe hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and other damages.
Our firm has more than 200 years of combined legal experience and a proven track record, recovering tens of millions in compensation for our clients. Founder Greg Coleman has extensive experience with complex defective product cases and has tried more than one hundred jury trials during his career.
There are no upfront fees or obligations, and the initial consultation is 100 percent free.
Call for a free case review. (865) 247-0080
How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Case?
We recommend that you speak with a qualified attorney regarding your unique situation to determine your eligibility for a 3M CAEv2 case. At Greg Coleman Law, we offer a completely free, no-obligation case review to determine your potential legal options and answer your questions more specifically.
That said, it is possible you may have a case if you used the 3M CAEv2s and meet the following criteria:
- Served in either the U.S. Armed forces or Military Reserves between 2003 and 2015
- Worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense (DoD) between 2003 and 2015
- Do not have a preexisting condition for hearing loss or tinnitus
- Received your diagnosis of hearing loss within one year of being discharged or while you were enlisted
When you meet with one of our qualified attorneys, we will need more details about the damages you sustained. To help us fully understand the extent of your hearing loss, we may ask these and other clarifying questions:
- Is your hearing loss in one or both ears?
- Do you also have tinnitus in one or both ears?
- Did you have any preexisting hearing damages?
- Is your hearing loss considered permanent? If not, what is your maximum expected recovery?
- What treatments have you received?
- Has your medical care helped or resulted in any noticeable recovery?
There are deadlines for taking legal action, so it is important to speak with a licensed attorney without delay. Since your initial consultation is free, there is no risk involved in finding out if you may have a case.
Learn more about how we may be able to help. (865) 247-0080
How Much Compensation Could an Injured Veteran Receive?
Each case is unique, so it is not possible to place a specific value on a potential case without first understanding all the facts. Additionally, your claim may be impacted by other considerations, such as the severity of your hearing loss and your prognosis for recovering.
Generally, if you have a valid case, you may be eligible to receive compensation for these and other damages:
- Fees for doctor visits
- Cost for related medical treatments
- Hearing aids and other assistive medical devices
- Lost income
- Surgeries you may need
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Diminished future earnings
- Emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
Schedule a free case review with one of our knowledgeable Knoxville product liability lawyers to discuss what other compensation may be available.
Why 3M’s Combat Earplugs Became Standard Military Issue
Veterans assigned to combat duty and other off-duty missions are frequently exposed to excessively loud noises, such as blasts from artillery equipment or flying aircraft. The Combat Arms version 2 earplugs promised to:
- Protect military personnel from excessive hearing loss
- Diminish dangerous noise levels
- Allow veterans to hear softer noises and thus communicate more easily while on duty, while their hearing was protected from excessive noise
The Modified Design Was Defective
The initial design, a dual-ended earplug, provided two levels of protection. One end reduced loud noises, such as from gunfire and explosions, enabling soldiers to continue to communicate and hear orders. The other end fully blocked all noise.
Though effective, this design was problematic for the military because the dual-ended earplugs did not fit well inside of a helmet. In 1999, the Army made a request that Aearo shorten the CAEv2s so they could better fit inside a helmet and in a standard-issue military case.
Unfortunately, the new, shorter design, was defective. The shorter earplug stem could not go deep enough into the ear canal to create an airtight seal, thus reducing its protection and effectiveness. Many veterans also had problems with the earplugs becoming loose and falling out, often without them being aware of it.
Was 3M Aware of the CAEv2 Defects and Potential Dangers?
In 2016, a whistleblower filed a lawsuit against 3M and Aearo Technologies Inc. for defrauding the United States Government. Aearo Technologies, acquired by 3M in 2008, was the original developer of the CAEv2s. According to this lawsuit, brought by Moldex-Metric, a competing earplug manufacturer, 3M knew as early as 2000 that the CAEv2s were defective.
The Moldex-Metric whistleblower lawsuit alleged that 3M and Aearo:
- Were aware the CAEv2s had defects yet sold the earplugs without disclosing the known issues
- Knowingly defrauded the government by selling the defective CAEv2s based on the false claims of their effectiveness
- Provided a product that was inferior to what the government paid for and thought they were getting
- Caused the government to sustain significant and ongoing damages due to costs of treating injured veterans
Although 3M denied these allegations, they settled the lawsuit for $9.1 million in 2018. While a good outcome for the whistleblower, the legal process also provided an abundance of strong evidence that 3M may have known about the defects, their potential dangers and hid this information to make a profit.
Are There 3M CAEv2 Cases Pending?
The first of three planned bellwether trials for the 3M CAEv2 multi-district litigation (MDL) are now underway in Florida. The purpose of this type of trial is to test outcomes of similar cases that have common key facts and issues.
As of April 15, 2021, the initial 3M bellwether trial included 229,111 plaintiffs, making it one the largest MDLs in U.S. history. If successful, these trials could strengthen the possibility of settlements of the other claims in the MDL and future cases.
Call Our Firm for a Free Case Review
If you are a military veteran and suffered hearing loss and/or tinnitus after using 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2, we are prepared to help.
Contact Greg Coleman Law to learn more about your potential legal options. An initial case review with one of our Knoxville lawyers is confidential and completely free. There is also no obligation to pursue a claim following this meeting.
If we find that you have a case and we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees. Our representatives are standing by to take your call 24/7.
Call Greg Coleman Law today. (865) 247-0080