Carbon Monoxide Injury Lawyers
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that causes death and injuries to thousands of people each year and many victims are unaware that they’ve been exposed to the gas. Vacationers, renters, and hotel guests are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning as landlords trust their appliances and carbon monoxide detectors to wholly, resulting in error, failure, and injury. Because it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, it cannot be detected through our five senses, making it particularly deadly as there are few ways to determine if it is seeping through your home. Oftentimes, we only realize that we may have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning after it is too late – and oftentimes we think some other malady is afflicting us and carbon monoxide poisoning never enters our minds as a potential threat and cause; there is no shortage of horror stories from surviving victims, or those relaying the pain suffered by those who have died.
Carbon monoxide is found in a wide variety of household appliances, tools, and everyday items, such as furnaces, hot water heaters, car exhaust, generators, wood-burning stoves, and power tools. Because of its ubiquitous nature, it is also the most common form of fatal poisoning.
Although many people who have been exposed to carbon monoxide recover without permanent, or life-altering, damage, some victims are not so fortunate. Because carbon monoxide prevents cells from getting adequate oxygen, carbon monoxide poisoning affects the brain and the heart, the two most vital parts of our bodies that require the most oxygen for survival. Too much exposure to this dangerous substance can result in serious brain injury, permanent physical impairment, and death.
At the Klibaner Law Firm, we represent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning and families who have lost loved ones to this lethal gas. We care passionately about this special area of law, and we have made it a priority to educate our clients and their loved ones about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and its prevention.
How Is Carbon Monoxide Produced?
People who have begun renting, or have just purchased, a home should absolutely have the space and appliances checked for carbon monoxide venting to ensure that no problems arise, either quickly, or over a long period of time. Carbon monoxide is produced by gas-burning appliances, such as furnaces, hot water boilers, stoves, and gas dryers. Anything with exhaust produces carbon monoxide with furnaces being one of the top culprits. The gas is created from incomplete combustion and inadequate ventilation. When enough carbon monoxide is trapped in a poorly-ventilated space, it can cause physical injury and in the most extreme cases: death. This means it’s possible to experience carbon monoxide poisoning even when you’re outside; (however, as expected, it most often occurs in the home).
Individuals who use charcoal grills, gas-fired generators, and motorboats outdoors are at risk if the carbon monoxide doesn’t have a chance to dissipate into the air and away from your breathing space; a crack or leak along the ventilation line bypasses the safety designs and pumps the gas straight to you, which means you inhale dangerous amounts in quick succession. Similarly, leaving your car running in a garage or outside in high snow puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Chances are you’ve heard stories on the news, or have watched scenes in TV and movies that depict this very tragedy. For example, the lead singer of the rock band, Boston, committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning by lighting charcoal grills in his bathroom. Carbon monoxide is a terrifyingly effective naturally occurring poison.
What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning can range from mild to severe, but early onset of the poisoning is often brushed aside due to similarities to other sicknesses and victims think that they just need to give it time and rest (drink your orange juice!). Trouble is, the longer they remain in a home with carbon monoxide flowing, the worse the sickness will get and the chances for permanent damage skyrocket.
The symptoms of early carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness – all symptoms of other ailments, including the flu. Because early symptoms mimic other illnesses, many emergency rooms don’t suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, nor do they test for it. Unless an individual is brought into the ER unconscious, the diagnosis may be missed, increasing the risk of medical malpractice and negligent diagnosis.
When carbon monoxide poisoning is severe, it causes significant – sometimes irreversible – brain damage. Symptoms of brain injury due to carbon monoxide poisoning include loss of short term memory, inability to track when reading, and difficulty with mental tasks that previously posed no problem. Carbon monoxide poisoning can adversely affect hearing and balance and may result in seizures. In the very worst cases, it leaves the victim in a permanently unconscious state, with no brain activity.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
If you suspect you have been exposed to excessive levels of carbon monoxide, you should:
Get away from the source of the poisoning immediately. There is no way to tell how much you have ingested and the full effect of the poison likely has not manifested yet.
Contact your local gas company or fire department so they can accurately measure the carbon monoxide that may have built up in your home. The more information you have to give your doctor, the better they can treat you for the poisoning.
Go to the doctor and tell them that you and your loved ones have been exposed to carbon monoxide. The longer you wait, the worse the repercussions become and the negative effects compound.
Carbon monoxide poisoning injures countless numbers of unsuspecting individuals each year, especially in the winter as we run more appliances to keep ourselves and our homes warm against the colder temperatures. Families can protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of their homes and by making sure that all the appliances in the home are operating properly with adequate ventilation. Additionally, it is imperative to check the battery life and efficacy of the monitors. Simply assuming that they are in perfect working condition increases the risk and danger of device failure, leading directly to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Denver, Colorado Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured from exposure to carbon monoxide, we want to hear from you. Fill out our online contact form to have your case reviewed or call our office to set up a free consultation. We will answer your questions promptly and explain your legal options. Contact us today at 303-863-1445 to discuss your case.