The news stories are tragic: Entire families dying from a faulty furnace; a resident of an apartment building sustains serious brain damage because of an improperly maintained water heater. According to the CDC, more than 400 people in the U.S. die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning linked to sources other than fire. More than 20,000 visit emergency rooms. More than 4,000 people are hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning. The financial and emotional costs of the death and serious injuries that can result from carbon monoxide poisoning are devastating.
Carbon monoxide, also known as “CO,” is a colorless, odorless gas. Exposure to CO can lead to serious injury or death. Carbon monoxide is produced through burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, furnaces, heaters, stoves, gas ranges, grills, and fireplaces. Properly designed, manufactured, installed, and maintained appliances and equipment pose little risk of CO exposure. Defective or old appliances and equipment, and even non-defective equipment or appliances that are not properly installed, maintained, or used, can lead to deadly exposure to carbon monoxide.
Inhaling CO prevents blood from carrying oxygen through the body, which can produce immediate symptoms. Common symptoms of CO poisoning are dizziness, headache, fatigue, upset stomach, vomiting, confusion, vision problems, chest pain. Continued exposure can cause a person to pass out and can lead to serious brain injury or death in a very short amount of time. Even extended or chronic exposure to small amounts or low-levels of CO can cause injury over time. CO exposure can be especially risky to persons who are drunk or sleeping, as they may not wake up or realize they are being exposed.
Many times, carbon monoxide exposure causing serious injury or death can result from the negligence or recklessness of others. Property owners and property managers may fail to keep their appliances and equipment in good working order. Installers of appliances may be negligent. Manufacturers or sellers of may produce defective and dangerous products. Persons who improperly use CO producing products may be negligent. Persons who are poisoned or the families of those killed may be entitled to compensation and damages from the responsible parties or their insurance companies for:
- Economic Losses, including past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, funeral expenses, and out-of-pocket costs
- Non-Economic Losses, including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, inconvenience
- Permanent impairment
- Wrongful death damages
- Loss of consortium by an affected spouse
- Punitive Damages
Obtaining full compensation for CO poisoning injuries can be difficult. Unless the physical or mental effects of the poisoning are pronounced, insurance companies are often skeptical of brain injury claims arising from CO poisoning. Part of the reason is that brain injuries from CO poisoning are difficult to “see” and prove because of the lack of obvious, objective physical injuries that can be shown to a jury. Brain imaging including CT, MRI, PET, and SPECT scans may be helpful in diagnosing and proving brain injuries arising from CO poisoning. Neuropsychological testing may be necessary or recommended for identifying cognitive difficulties and deficits. Skilled CO poisoning and brain injury lawyers use the best experts, evidence, and strategies to try and obtain the compensation CO poisoned victims deserve.
The most important action is to obtain the necessary medical evaluations and treatment to help you recover from the injuries. But if you or a loved one have suffered CO poisoning injuries because of someone else’s fault, it is critical that you immediately contact a lawyer experienced in handling personal injury claims, and particularly CO poisoning cases. Time is running on bringing a claim. You need someone on your side to help make sure your rights are protected.
If a family member or friend has died from CO poisoning, you should immediately contact an attorney experienced in CO poisoning and wrongful death for a consultation. The time to bring death claims is short. Your rights need to be protected.
Contact Burg Simpson Now
The Colorado personal injury attorneys at Burg Simpson are dedicated to helping injured people seek compensation for injuries caused by the fault or negligence of another. Our experienced lawyers have helped thousands of persons suffering from serious personal injuries and the families of those who have died rebuild their lives. We have the experience and resources to help injury victims navigate the many legal issues that surround CO poisoning injury claims, including causation investigation, medical injury investigation, product liability issues, damages issues, insurance claims, settlement negotiations, and, if necessary, litigating in court against persons and companies who won’t take responsibility.