Personal Injury Lawyer

The members of the U.S. Armed Forces are some of the most revered and admired men and women in the country. Their bravery to protect the country and its interests abroad exposes them to difficult circumstances that may result in injury or death.

It was recently determined that a company provided the military with inadequate or ineffective ear protection for 12 years, and many military members were left with permanent hearing issues. 3M Company, the supplier of the defective product, has recently been found guilty of negligence and forced to pay the military over 9 million dollars in damages. Find out more about the case and see if you or someone you know may be affected.

Type of Earplugs Involved 

3M Company manufactured and provided dual-ended earplugs to the military from 2003 up to 2015. The earplugs were flawed in a few ways. First, they were too short and did not fit properly into the ear canal. Thus, noise could penetrate around the plug as no seal was formed. The plugs were also prone to coming loose without the wearer knowing it. The two colors, green and yellow, were to indicate the level of sound each side protected the wearer against. The yellow side allowed some low-level sound to come through, allowing troops in the field to hear talking from their peers.

Whistleblower Case 

The original case, filed in Texas, indicated that 3M Company knew that the earplugs were defective and did not provide the level of protection advertised. The lawsuit deemed A False Allegation suit, wound up in favor of the military, netting them a 9.1 million dollar payday from the company. However, the whistleblower case was just the beginning. Thousands of men and women were placed in combat situations utilizing the 3M product over the 12-year period they were used. Those who suffered hearing loss during that time are now filing separate suits against the company to recoup damages.

Negligence and 3M Company

In the original whistleblower case, 3M was found guilty of not disclosing the fault in the earplugs. Instead of recalling the product and replacing it, the company continued to supply it with the knowledge that it could fail. Therefore, the judge ruled that the company was negligent because they knowingly provided a product that was defective while claiming it was effective. Instead of protecting hearing, the product contributed to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Balance issues

Personal injury comes in many forms, and for those involved in the military during the years 3M Company provided earplugs, there may be a chance to recover damage. A personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, IN may be able to help you determine your qualification for a suit.



Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and earplug lawsuits.