Know your rights and injury

Can I Still Join the 3M Lawsuit?

Product Liability Injuries
3m earplugs

Yes, you can still join the 3M lawsuit if you developed a hearing-related condition or injury as a result of using 3M earplugs in the military. In April 2019, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation moved 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2885) forward for pretrial proceedings. As of March 2022, only seven cases have reached a verdict so far.

Many personal injury law firms throughout the United States welcome prospective clients who were harmed by 3M earplugs during their years of service, particularly between 2003 and 2015. Through a product liability lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Our team can connect you with a personal injury lawyer who handles 3M earplug lawsuits in your state.

How Do I Qualify for a 3M Lawsuit?

In order to qualify for a 3M earplug lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You served in the United States military between 2003 and 2015: 3M supplied military service members with dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs between 2003 and 2015 before the earplugs were recalled. If you served in the military at any point during this 12-year span, you meet the first requirement for joining a 3M lawsuit.
  • You wore 3M earplugs at some point during your military service: In order to file a product liability lawsuit against 3M, you must have used the defective Combat Arms Earplugs between 2003 and 2015. Your lawyer may be able to confirm this information by reviewing your military records or speaking with a military official. 
  • You were exposed to loud noise while wearing 3M earplugs during your military service: Because the recall of 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs is based on the product’s failure to keep soldiers’ eardrums safe from loud, damaging noises, you must establish that you were exposed to these conditions during your military service while wearing the earplugs. Loud noises may include bomb explosions, rapid gunfire, aircraft noise, and other high-level noises.
  • You suffered hearing-related issues as a result of wearing 3M earplugs while serving: Once you establish that you were exposed to high-level noise during your military service while wearing the defective earplugs, you must then establish the correlation between that loud event and any hearing damage you suffered, such as hearing loss or tinnitus. Your lawyer may consult a medical expert, such as an audiologist, to provide an analysis of your diagnosis and the potential causes.

If you are unsure if you meet the requirements for filing a 3M lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer can investigate your case to confirm key facts, such as whether you received the defective earplugs as part of your military equipment.

How Do I Join a 3M Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawyer in your state can help you file a product liability lawsuit against 3M, which may involve joining MDL No. 2885. They can prepare the necessary legal paperwork, gather evidence, and communicate with the appropriate parties on your behalf to keep your case moving forward.

Is Joining an MDL the Same as Joining a Class-Action Lawsuit? 

Multidistrict litigation is not the same as a class-action lawsuit. Here’s a breakdown of the difference:

  • Multidistrict litigation: MDL is a legal procedure to expedite several individual lawsuits against one defendant. This procedure allows a judge to accelerate pretrial proceedings by consolidating the cases and sending the lawsuits back to their individual states to be reviewed by a district judge. These cases are often similar but do not have to be identical.
  • Class-action lawsuit: Class-action lawsuits involve grouping claimants into a single case against one defendant. These cases are not filed individually – instead, they are heard together as a single group with a class representative. For example, if a train crashes and injures multiple people, the train passengers can join a class-action lawsuit against the train company to pursue compensation.

Currently, there is open multidistrict litigation against 3M for its faulty earplugs, so you can still join a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Your lawyer can explain if joining a class-action lawsuit may be more beneficial or if you should continue with an individual personal injury lawsuit.

How Much Is the 3M Lawsuit Worth?

There is no standard value for lawsuits filed against 3M, as these cases vary by the plaintiff’s specific damages. Should you decide to work with a personal injury attorney, their legal team can calculate the potential value of your case.

Certain damages may already have a financial value, while others may need to be assigned one. Attorneys often categorize damages into two categories: economic and non-economic. This distinction allows them to factor in how a client’s financial, physical, mental, and emotional damages affect them as a whole.

Economic Damages Measure the Financial Burden You Suffered

Economic damages include all monetary losses, debts, and expenses you faced or currently face because of your injury. For example, if you suffered a hearing-related injury due to using faulty 3M earplugs in the military, some of your economic damages may include:

  • Current medical debts for treatments you underwent because of your health condition
  • Future medical expenses you will need to pay if your condition is ongoing or permanent
  • Other related medical costs, such as prescription medicines and hearing aids
  • Wages you lost because your injury prevented you from working or returning to your job (e.g., you had to be discharged from the military due to your hearing loss)
  • Future wages you expect to lose as a result of your injury
  • Reduced earning potential (e.g., your tinnitus prevents you from continuing a career as a pilot due to noise sensitivity)
  • Costs for hiring an interpreter or an American Sign Language instructor as you adapt to your hearing loss

Non-Economic Damages Include Your Physical and Emotional Damages

Non-economic damages encompass all other damages that do not initially have a financial value. Many of these damages are subjective, but there are court-approved methods for measuring their worth, which your legal team can discuss in more detail. 

Damages to your physical, mental, or emotional well-being are included in this category. For example, you might claim the following types of non-economic losses:

  • Pain and suffering (e.g., you suffer chronic ear pain because of your tinnitus or emotionally suffered when you realized you were losing your hearing)
  • Permanent disability (e.g., becoming deaf)
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of former hobbies and activities (e.g., listening to music)
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of consortium (e.g., your relationships suffered as a result of your injury)

Any ways that your injury affected your personal life may be considered for approval by the court as compensatory damages.

What Is the Average Settlement for a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?

There is no average settlement for a 3M earplug lawsuit, as cases are still being heard in district courts throughout the United States. As of March 2022, only seven cases have reached a verdict, which is not enough to indicate how much compensation the average plaintiff might receive for their case (if at all). 

Has Anyone Gotten a Settlement from 3M?

Yes. All seven cases that have reached verdicts as of March 2022 awarded compensation to the plaintiffs. These cases include:

  • $110 million verdict: The New York Times confirms that two army veterans, Ronald Sloan and William Wayman, won $110 million in compensatory damages for their hearing loss and tinnitus caused by 3M’s combat earplugs.
  • $50 million verdict: FOX Business reported on a 3M lawsuit filed by Luke Vilsmeyer, who alleged that he suffered hearing loss and tinnitus after using 3M earplugs during his military service (from 2006 to 2017). The federal jury awarded him $50 million in compensatory damages.
  • $9.1 million settlement: According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to “resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United States military without disclosing defects” in an early 2018 settlement. This case was brought on by a whistleblower, qui tam, as part of the False Claims Act.

Over 300,000 veterans have filed product liability lawsuits against 3M, with more than 280,000 cases pending trial. Reuters reports that the settled cases have earned over $160 million in compensatory damages so far – however, 3M has filed an appeal to contest these earnings.

How Long Will the 3M Earplug Lawsuit Take?

Veterans began filing cases against the combat earplug manufacturer back in 2018. Currently, it is too early to discern how long a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer will take.

Still, even as more cases get heard and settle, how long a plaintiff’s lawsuit might take depends on several factors, such as:

  • How long it takes to investigate the case
  • How much evidence they bring forward
  • Whether the plaintiff joined MDL No. 2995 to expedite pretrial proceedings
  • Whether the plaintiff decides to negotiate a settlement to avoid taking their case to trial
  • Their district court’s trial schedule

If you are wondering if you have enough time to file an individual lawsuit against 3M about your hearing loss or tinnitus, do not worry – you still have time to do so. You can begin working with a personal injury lawyer now to find out your next steps for filing a lawsuit against the earplug manufacturer.

When Will the 3M Lawsuit Be Settled?

There are over 280,000 pending lawsuits against 3M, which can take years to review and settle as there is no single lawsuit against the manufacturer. Currently, claimants can choose to pursue compensation by joining MDL No. 2995 against 3M, but this process only accelerates the pretrial proceedings. Cases would still need to be heard individually in their respective districts by a judge.

You Need to Be Aware of Your State’s Statute of Limitations

While it might take years before all the earplug lawsuits are settled, this does not mean you have years to file your case. Each state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long plaintiffs have to file personal injury lawsuits against another party. 

You should consult an attorney to find out how long you have left to file your 3M earplug case, as each statute is different in how it defines this deadline. For example, in a product liability case, the filing window period may start on the date you were injured or the date your discovered your injury was potentially caused by 3M earplugs, depending on how your state’s legislature is written.

Is the 3M Earplug Lawsuit Worth It?

If you suffered significant financial, physical, and emotional damages after using 3M combat earplugs, it may be worth pursuing compensation from the manufacturer. You may be eligible to recover several types of damages, ranging from medical expenses to pain and suffering. 

Is Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Expensive?

Many personal injury law firms agree to work on a contingency basis, which means they agree to provide their legal services in exchange for receiving a portion of your case earnings once the case settles. In other words, a percentage of your compensation award covers the cost of your attorney’s fees instead of your own finances. 

You will have an opportunity to discuss the terms of your fee agreement before you begin working with a personal injury lawyer.

Consult a 3M Lawsuit Attorney Today

If you or a loved one developed audio-related health problems (such as hearing loss or tinnitus) and recently discovered that your condition might stem from using 3M earplugs in the military, it’s not too late to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer. Military veterans throughout the United States are joining a multidistrict litigation effort against 3M to pursue compensation, so you may be able to recover your damages. 

To get started, fill out our contact form today for a free consultation. We can answer questions about your case and then connect you with a personal injury attorney in your state who works on 3M lawsuits. We work directly with a network of attorneys we trust, so do not hesitate to reach out and find a lawyer to represent you.