Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced by burning gasoline, wood, charcoal, propane, or other types of carbon-based fuel. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless—which makes it particularly dangerous when it’s allowed to accumulate in the air you breathe. When the body replaces the oxygen in red blood cells with carbon monoxide, the consequences can be life-threatening.
Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning who’ve suffered permanent damage, as well as those who’ve lost loved ones, are entitled to compensation for the harm they have suffered. At Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping Tennessee residents fight for the compensation they need to move forward with their lives.
How Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Occurs
Common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Vehicles left running in a closed garage
- Poorly maintained or improperly ventilated furnaces, fireplaces, portable generators, or space heaters
- Ovens, close dryers, and other common household appliances with maintenance or ventilation issues
- Workplaces that use internal combustion engines, forges, blast furnaces, and coke ovens and fail to take appropriate safety precautions
Battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in areas where carbon-based fuels are used. The detectors should be regularly checked to ensure they are operational and replaced every five years as recommended by the CDC.
In most cases, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs at the victim’s home or apartment. However, you could also be exposed at work or while on vacation, staying in a camper, RV, hotel, or private vacation rental.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be the result of a smaller exposure over a long period of time or a higher exposure over a shorter period of time. Both scenarios are equally risky.
Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The initial effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu without a fever:
- Shortness of breath
Vomiting, confusion, blurred vision, and muscle weakness occur with prolonged exposure. If a person loses consciousness, they are at risk of permanent brain damage, cardiac complications, or death. In a pregnant woman, carbon monoxide poisoning can also lead to miscarriage or fetal death.
Children, the elderly, and those with preexisting medical conditions affecting the heart or lungs are most susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. However, even healthy adults can be affected with little or no warning—especially when the exposure occurs while they are asleep. Any case of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning should be considered a medical emergency.
Potentially Liable Parties
When someone is injured due to carbon monoxide poisoning, there are several potentially liable parties:
- Landlord or property owner
- Third-party maintenance service
- Manufacturer of faculty appliance or vehicle
- Manufacturer of defective carbon monoxide detector
- Employer (if the exposure occurred at the workplace)
At an emergency room, blood tests are done to check carbon monoxide levels whenever exposure is suspected. If a person passes away from carbon monoxide poisoning, the cause of death can be confirmed with an autopsy. While this provides proof of injury, you will need to work closely with an attorney to establish liability for one or more parties.
Types of Available Compensation
Compensation for a premises liability claim or another type of personal injury claim can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages and loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Compensation in a wrongful death claim can include:
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering experienced before death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased individual’s love, society, and companionship
- Pain and suffering experienced by the family members as a result of the untimely death of the deceased
When carbon monoxide exposure occurs at work, workers’ compensation includes:
- Medical treatment
- Partial wage replacement
- Death benefits (if applicable)
In all of these cases, there are statute of limitations laws that affect how long you have to file your claim. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you can gather the necessary evidence in time to meet all applicable filing deadlines.
Do You Need to Speak With a Lawyer About Your Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claim?
If you or someone you love has been the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by another party's negligence, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 615.220.4180 to schedule your free consultation. We will schedule a time to meet with you at one of our offices in Smyrna, Nashville, Murfreesboro or Chattanooga, by telephone, video chat, or another location most convenient to you (including an in-home consultation).