The Tragic, Hidden Dangers of Defective 3M Earplugs

When a person yields a firearm, they hold an incredible amount of power in their bare hands. The unmistakable “pop” of a discharging gun is powerful enough by itself to freeze most people in their tracks.

When the propellant packed in a bullet’s casing detonates, solid gunpowder converts into a dense wave of energy in a fraction of a blink of an eye. This rapid chemical reaction hurls a bullet past the speed of sound, endowing it with enough force to bring even the grittiest soldier to their knees and end their life. Thus, it should be no surprise that a gun user can feel the soundwave of a discharging firearm pass through their chest.

The human ear can withstand up to 140 decibels before risking permanent injury. Firing off an average sized gun round usually registers well over 140 decibels. Larger caliber handgun rounds can detonate at up to 175 decibels. Thus, ear protection is an essential aspect of ensuring a gun user’s safety.

U.S. Soldiers are routinely placed in environments where gunshots frequently crackle and rumble around them like a fierce thunderstorm. If an American soldier has any chance of retaining his or her ability to hear their child’s voice; listen to music; safely operate a vehicle; or, hear the ocean waves, they must utilize quality earplugs.

Legal Actions Taken Against 3M

3M was one of the fortunate companies that enjoyed a lucrative business relationship with the U.S Department of Defense. Sadly, for over a decade, 3M supplied the military with defective combat earplugs used by soldiers handling firearms.

According to allegations, “[3M’s] Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs have likely caused thousands, if not millions, of soldiers to suffer significant hearing loss, tinnitus, and additional injuries related to hearing loss, including but not limited to pain and suffering and loss of the pleasures of life.”

Lawsuits filed by injured servicemembers allege that the earplugs were too small to allow proper insertion and protection in the user’s ears. As a result, 3M’s earplugs could loosen unnoticeably, diminishing their protective effect for many people.

The complaints further allege that 3M affirmatively concealed the results of product testing information regarding the defective and dangerous nature of the earplugs. In addition to the private civil suits mounted against 3M, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) commenced legal action against the company, alleging 3M knowingly supplied the government with defective earplugs in violation of the federal false claims act. Last summer, the DOJ and 3M agreed to pay a $9.1 million settlement.

Advocating for the Rights of Active Duty and Veteran Servicemembers

Wilson Law, P.A. is dedicated to helping our nation’s military servicemembers seek justice for injuries caused by 3M’s reckless actions and wanton disregard for user safety. If you or a loved one was provided 3M earplugs between 2003 and 2015 while serving in the armed forces, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. In order to determine if you have a legal claim arising from use of 3M defective earplugs, contact Wilson Law, P.A. for a free initial consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys. Remember, if there’s no recovery, there’s no fee.

Learn how Wilson Law, P.A. can help you – call us at (919) 800-0919 or contact us online today.

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