Carbon Monoxide (CO) is referred to as the “silent killer” because it is a colorless and odorless gas. It currently holds the title for the leading cause of poisoning death and injury in the U.S. Each year, an estimated 500 people die and 40,000 are injured due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Exposure to carbon monoxide may result in serious side effects, some of these leading to serious injuries and even death. Often times, carbon monoxide poisoning can be attributed to negligence in the in a landlord/tenant relationship, product and appliance manufacturers, or an employer such as a builder.
Carbon monoxide produced whenever there is an incomplete combustion in fuel burning products like stove generators, cars starts in garages due to keyless ignitions, natural gas space heaters, propane stoves and lanterns in tents and RV trailers, poorly maintained boilers and heating systems, propane or gas refrigerators, and faulty gas appliances. The gas is produced during the combustion of fossil fuel and when there is poor ventilation and confined space, carbon monoxide deaths occur without much warning. Toxic levels of CO usually occur when carbon fueled equipment is operated indoors.
Often, injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning can occur with exposure to small leaks for extended periods of time. The initial signs of poisoning from carbon monoxide can be very subtle. It could be a small leak that doesn’t allow enough oxygen to reach the persons causing them to be fatigued or sleepy. Prolonged exposure risks persons to brain injuries that affect memory and learning functions with the impairment often being permanent. Many RV makers and RV and travel trailer and cargo trailer manufacturers are aware that customers use portable propane and butane lanterns, as such carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and alarms must be installed to help protect lives.
Part of the landlord’s duty to his tenants includes a duty to keep the premises safe. This premises liability includes making repairs to faulty and older gas appliances or removing other carbon monoxide sources and providing carbon monoxide alarms to residents. Each individual expects to stay safe and live in an environment free of any harm like carbon monoxide. Many carbon monoxide lawsuits are the result of landlord negligence. Carbon monoxide lawsuits from tenants often include leaky chimneys, malfunctioning fireplaces, gas stoves, gas water heaters, cracked heat exchangers, and back drafting air from furnaces. It is the landlord’s duty to reduce the risk of injury or death from carbon monoxide exposure by properly maintaining his property. Otherwise the landlord’s negligence may be seen as a proximate and leading cause in a carbon monoxide lawsuit.
Unfortunately, a great number of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning go undiagnosed. Additionally, doctors can struggle in diagnosing carbon monoxide poisoning. Sometimes they are trying to identify a cause of brain damage in patients who have not had some sort of traumatic event like a car accident or serious fall. The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu, and exposure to the gas does not always cause people to pass out or go unconscious. People suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning may become confused, develop speech and eyesight problems, and become nauseated. Unfortunately, for some victims, their symptoms will not always resolve by removing the source of poisoning and they may be left with permanent neurological side effects.
Other carbon monoxide deaths are due to the lack of a sufficient amount of an odorant called mercaptan which is a liquid added to natural gas to make the consumer aware of gas leaks as well especially if a gas appliance has been left on or the pilot light has gone out.
In 2013, Willis Law Firm was successful in a West Virginia carbon monoxide death lawsuit and another CO poisoning lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s brother for carbon monoxide poisoning and death that occurred in a cargo trailer the brothers were using on a hunting trip. The lawsuit was filed against the cargo trailer maker and propane lantern manufacturer. The carbon monoxide lawsuit was settled out of court.
If you or your loved ones have suffered a severe and debilitating injury or death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, talk to an attorney at the Willis Law Firm, We are here to help you get the compensation you may be entitled to.
Often a carbon monoxide death lawsuit must be immediately filed to protect the evidence at the scene and other critical evidence needed to win the lawsuit and damages for the clients. An investigation conducted by the lawyer can determine if there was a malfunctioning product as a result of defective design or installation. Call for a free case evaluation. Talk to a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 30+ years of accident and injury lawsuit experience.
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