Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorney
Carbon monoxide has been called the “silent killer.” It is an invisible, toxic gas that can cause accidental poisoning, serious injuries and death. An individual could be exposed to carbon monoxide due to a defective product or dangerous premises. You may have grounds to file a claim if you have been exposed to carbon monoxide or have a friend or family member who has been exposed.
Find out if you are eligible for financial compensation during a free case consultation at Cannon Law. Our personal injury lawyers can help you understand your rights as a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Why Choose Us?
- The attorneys at Cannon Law have been representing clients throughout Colorado for many years. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients in that time. We have the experience to handle a complicated carbon monoxide poisoning case.
- We don’t use a turnkey or one-size-fits-all approach to personal injury law. We understand that each case is unique and deserves a personalized legal strategy. Our lawyers will take the time to learn your unique situation and develop a tailored plan to yield the best possible results.
- You won’t pay any attorney’s fees for work done on your case until and unless we secure financial compensation for your case. Our carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, with no fees charged upfront.
How Can a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorney Help You?
A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit involving carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to navigate on your own. Unless you have a legal background, you may not understand the laws that are relevant to your case or how to effectively protect your rights. A lawyer can take over your case and fight for justice on your behalf. A law firm will have special resources, knowledge, experience and personnel to put toward your case.
A carbon monoxide poisoning attorney can help you in many ways, including:
- Conduct a full investigation to determine how and why you were exposed to carbon monoxide.
- Identify any parties that may be liable, or legally responsible, for your injuries.
- Collect evidence that links your injuries to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Negotiate with an insurance company to reach a settlement on your behalf.
- Take your carbon monoxide poisoning case to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
- Make sure you and your family have everything you need during this difficult time.
When you file an insurance claim for injuries caused by someone else – including carbon monoxide poisoning – expect the insurance company to try to minimize your payout as much as possible. To avoid being taken advantage of by an insurance claims adjuster, hire an attorney to represent you. An attorney can take over your claim and negotiate for fair compensation on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer is especially important if you or a family member has suffered significant injuries, such as permanent brain damage.
What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide, also known by its molecular formula CO, is a toxic gas that is produced when a fossil fuel, such as gasoline, oil or charcoal, does not combust completely when burned. If someone breathes in carbon monoxide, this toxic gas will bind to the hemoglobin in the individual’s blood, preventing the blood from being able to carry oxygen throughout the body. Essentially, carbon monoxide can cause the body to suffocate even though the individual is still breathing.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can starve the body of oxygen, eventually causing noticeable symptoms and potentially permanent damage. In the most severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 people visited emergency rooms and over 400 victims died from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the most recent year statistics are available.
What Are the Warning Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless. It can build up undetected in enclosed spaces, such as a home or vehicle, and poison those in the room. How long carbon monoxide takes to poison someone depends on the concentration level of the gas. At high concentrations, carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than five minutes. At lower levels, it can take hours to produce adverse health effects.
Common signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Confusion or disorientation
- Chest pain
- Speech problems
- Blurred vision
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Breathing problems
- Respiratory arrest
At higher concentrations or with longer periods of exposure, carbon monoxide can cause permanent neurological side effects. The brain may be starved of oxygen long enough to inflict long-term damage. If someone has a pet at home, carbon monoxide poisoning may become noticeable first in the pet. Small children and vulnerable populations such as the elderly may also notice symptoms before others. Although rare, if a pregnant woman suffers carbon monoxide poisoning, it can lead to neurologic complications that cause cerebral palsy or fetal death.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is produced when a fuel-burning device is ineffective or operates inefficiently, resulting in the failure to completely burn off the fuel used. Incomplete combustion produces CO that can be poisonous in enclosed areas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur due to many hazards, such as:
- Unsafe premises. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented with working CO detectors, proper appliance maintenance and safe products. An unsafe premises – including a home, hotel, Airbnb or vacation rental – puts residents, tenants and guests at risk of this health hazard.
- Poorly installed appliances. If a boiler, furnace, hot water heater or similar appliance is installed incorrectly or negligently maintained, it could malfunction and produce CO that ultimately causes carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Vehicle malfunctions. Vehicle occupants could suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning if the vehicle has a defective exhaust system. This is especially common in RVs with bad emission systems or defective generators.
- Defective products. A malfunctioning fuel-burning product could emit CO and become dangerous indoors. Examples include generators, boilers, furnaces, room heaters, charcoal grills, cooking ranges and fireplaces. An improperly labeled or faulty product could malfunction and cause injuries.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by not using grills or other fuel-burning products indoors, and not idling a vehicle in an enclosed space. Install a carbon monoxide detector to help avoid serious injuries and save lives. CO poisoning becomes more frequent in the winter months, when people use space heaters, chimneys and fireplaces for the first time all year. Have these appliances inspected by a professional before use.
Can I File a Claim for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning because of someone else’s negligence, you can file a personal injury claim in Colorado. Negligence means a failure to use proper or reasonable care, resulting in harm done to others. The negligence of a vacation rental property owner, for example, could lead to a lawsuit against the owner if a guest is exposed to dangerous levels of CO.
A successful claim requires evidence of the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care – a legal obligation that someone has while performing a task that requires a standard of reasonable behavior.
- Breach of duty – a failure to meet the imposed duty of care, such as with a careless or reckless act or omission.
- Causation – a cause-and-effect connection between the defendant’s breach of the duty of care and the plaintiff’s carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Damages – compensable losses suffered by the plaintiff, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.
The main allegation in a carbon monoxide poisoning claim is that the victim or plaintiff was exposed to carbon monoxide because someone else was negligent. Proving this type of case requires clear and convincing evidence, otherwise known as a “preponderance of the evidence.” An attorney from Cannon Law can help you find and preserve evidence to support your injury claim, such as maintenance records, eyewitness statements and testimony from experts.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Naming the liable party in a carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit requires identifying how and why the exposure to CO took place. There are a few different possibilities in terms of defendants, depending on the circumstances:
- Property owner, landlord or property manager, if a property defect caused the injury, such as a lack of CO detectors or poor appliance maintenance.
- HVAC contractor, if carbon monoxide poisoning traces back to a badly installed appliance, such as a water heater or furnace.
- Maintenance company, if an improperly maintained appliance or vehicle causes carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Product manufacturer, if carbon monoxide poisoning took place due to a defective or dangerously designed product, appliance or motor vehicle.
Determining the liable party is something that a lawyer can do for you after conducting a comprehensive investigation of the incident. You may be able to hold multiple parties accountable, in some situations.
What Damages Are Available?
Obtaining financial compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning can help a victim and his or her family move forward with the financial assistance needed to pay for related medical care and other bills. A successful settlement or judgment award can make it easier for a victim to move forward by helping to recoup the costs associated with a serious injury or the death of a loved one.
The damages that may be available for your carbon monoxide lawsuit in Colorado include:
- Present and future foreseeable medical bills
- Necessary medical devices and prescription medications
- Long-term physical impairments or brain damage
- Lost income, now and in the future
- Attorney’s fees and out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages, in some cases
If you lost a loved one due to fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, your family may be eligible for additional damages through a wrongful death claim:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills connected to the final illness or injury
- Losses in income, financial support and inheritance
- Intangible losses, such as grief and loss of consortium
An attorney can accurately assess the value of your case so that you know how much it is reasonably worth. That will help you avoid being taken advantage of by an insurance company and settling for a lower amount than you deserve. It is especially important to consult with an attorney about the value of your case before signing anything if you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury, such as permanent brain damage, due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Otherwise, your family may not receive the amount necessary to pay for additional or continuing care.
How Long Do You Have to File a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claim?
Even if you have evidence that someone else is responsible for causing your carbon monoxide poisoning, your case will be dismissed if you attempt to file it after the expiration of your statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a law in Colorado that enacts a strict deadline or time limit on the right to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations is two years for most types of personal injury lawsuits, including CO poisoning cases.
The two-year clock generally begins on the date that the victim was exposed to carbon monoxide. If carbon monoxide poisoning injuries are not discovered until a later date, however, the clock may start ticking on the date of reasonable discovery. In a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving loved ones have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file. If you wish to bring a claim against the government (such as in a case involving CO poisoning in a public building), you only have 180 days to file a claim.
Contact a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorney to Find Out if You Have a Claim
Being exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could entitle you to financial compensation if one or more parties should have protected you from this health risk. It is almost always possible to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning with a reasonable amount of care, such as ordinary property maintenance.
If you or a loved one has been injured by carbon monoxide, you may have grounds to bring a claim against a product manufacturer, property owner, hotel or vacation rental, your employer, or a number of other parties for negligence. Discuss your ability to file a carbon monoxide poisoning claim in Colorado with one of our attorneys. Cannon Law has been representing victims and their families for many years. Call (970) 471-7170 or contact us online to request your free case consultation today.