An Invisible Threat: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It's a danger you can't see, can't smell, and one that can claim even the healthiest person in their sleep -- carbon monoxide poisoning. Our team knows that exposure to this poisonous gas can be the result of substandard construction, shoddy repair work, a faulty appliance, or other form of negligence. When someone else's carelessness causes illness or death, including when poorly performed work causes exposure to carbon monoxide gas, we believe in holding the responsible parties accountable and recovering monetary compensation for the victims.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause serious illness or even death. In a dedicated FAQ, the Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") explain that exposure to high levels of CO causes the gas to be picked up by red blood cells and it replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing oxygen from getting to the body. Symptoms of CO exposure include weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, chest pain, nausea, and vomiting. Continued exposure can cause loss of consciousness and death. When a patient is asleep or intoxicated, death can occur before any other symptoms are experienced.
While CO poisoning can be treated if caught, it is hard to diagnose given the general nature of the symptoms. Each year, more than 20,000 Americans end up in the emergency room as a result of carbon monoxide exposure and more than 400 Americans die as a result of unintentional CO poisoning. Everyone is at risk, although unborn babies, infants and those with certain respiratory or cardiac problems are especially susceptible to the gas's effects.
Carbon monoxide gas is found combustion fumes, including the fumes produced by automobiles, other gas-powered engines, stoves and ranges, heating systems, and from burning charcoal or wood. It becomes a danger when it builds up in an enclosed (or even semi-enclosed) area. The CDC's tips for avoiding CO poisoning include: Have qualified professionals inspect and service gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances annually; Have chimneys checked and cleaned yearly; Properly vent all gas appliances; Have automobiles serviced regularly, including annual exhaust system inspections; and Never let an automobile run in an enclosed garage or other space.
Carbon monoxide detectors are also an important tool. Florida law requires CO detectors be installed near all sleeping areas in buildings constructed after 2008 provided the building has a fossil-fuel burning appliance or heater, attached garage, fireplace, or other CO-producing feature. We highly recommend installing CO detectors in all residences, regardless of age, and checking/replacing the batteries twice a year.
All too often, people assume that carbon monoxide poisoning was the victim's fault. Exposure may be the result of an improperly installed appliance, shoddy repair work, a negligent landlord, or a faulty appliance or other product. If CO poisoning causes you or a loved one to fall ill, or causes a family member's death, you may have a legal claim.
We can help you determine who is responsible and help you recover money damages. CO exposure lawsuits ensure that people, especially those who hold themselves out to be professionals, are held accountable for their actions. Accountability and safety go hand-in-hand; letting people know they will be held responsible for negligent work helps prevent future tragedies.