Every year thousands of people are injured as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide. While some cases are unavoidable, most carbon monoxide accidents involve the negligence of someone else. If another person or a company has injured you because of their negligence, you have a legal right to be compensated for your damages. If you loved one was killed in a carbon monoxide accident, or left with permanent brain damage, you may be able to still collect money to help pay for their expenses and your own pain and suffering.
Types and Causes of Carbon Monoxide Accidents
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas found anywhere a combustion engine is in use. When modern engines are properly designed, maintained, and used, there is little risk of the carbon monoxide poisoning anyone. However, if anyone is negligent in the design, maintenance, or use of a combustion engine the results can be deadly.
Common causes of carbon monoxide accidents include:
• Using combustion engine, such as a generator, without proper ventilation
• Poorly maintained engines or ductwork
• Faulty design of engine or ductwork
• Faulty installation or manufacture of engine or ductwork
• Failure to properly maintain a vehicle
• Defects in components of appliances or ventilation from appliances
Carbon monoxide exposure happens most frequently in homes and vehicles. Common household appliances that have a leak can leak and cause carbon monoxide poisoning include:
• Hot water heaters
• Charcoal grills
• Room heaters
• Cooking ranges
• Wood burning stoves
Boats and cars can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Types of Injuries in Carbon Monoxide Accidents
Carbon monoxide poisoning is notoriously difficult to detect. People do not always lose consciousness when exposed to carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide exposure can cause:
• Memory loss
• Flu like symptoms
• Chest pains
• Problems with vision
• Difficulty walking
• Issues with speech
• Difficulty in organizing thoughts
• Permanent brain damage
The early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are often flu like symptoms. Much of the time the initial warning signs are missed by the victims and by doctors. Carbon monoxide leaves the body quickly when the person is not actively exposed, meaning it only shows up in blood work if tested shortly after exposure.
Minor levels of exposure are harmful, but do not cause an immediate blackout. Levels of carbon monoxide can be detected in the blood through lab tests, and carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to levels of the toxin in the home. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide, even at low levels can result in permanent brain damage. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to death.
Even after carbon monoxide poisoning has been identified, it can be difficult to know who is at fault for the carbon monoxide accident. An experienced lawyer needs to examine the case and the available evidence.
Sometimes the property owner will be at fault for the carbon monoxide accident because he or she failed to adequately monitor levels or maintain appliances such as the furnace or water heater. Sometimes the contractors who installed an appliance caused the carbon monoxide accident by failing to properly install an appliance or the ventilation system. Other times the manufacturer of the appliance, car, or a component will be at fault for the accident.
Often, there are multiple parties at fault for a carbon monoxide case. This may mean filing claims against multiple parties.
Challenges in a Carbon Monoxide Accident Claim
There are several challenges to bringing a carbon monoxide accident claim. The first challenge is in discovering the fact of the exposure. Once you have been diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning, the next challenge is in determining the source of the exposure.
Usually once the source is identified, every effort is made to repair the problem as quickly as possible. This is the right reaction, however, it can make it difficult to gather evidence of the earlier defect that caused the carbon monoxide exposure.
In cases where there are multiple responsible parties, it may be difficult to workout a settlement. Often the different companies are more interested in blaming each other than in offering fair compensation for your injuries.
Because the effects of carbon monoxide exposure can be permanent, it can be a challenge to prove how much compensation you are entitled to for future pain and suffering and medical bills.
If you or a loved one has been poisoned by carbon monoxide you need to find a lawyer right away. Lawyers with the expertise to handle a complex case like carbon monoxide accidents are difficult to find. We can help you find a lawyer to review your case. Contact us today and we can help you find a carbon monoxide accident lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you get the compensation you are legally entitled to. The longer you wait to take action the harder it may be to win your case.