When Can You File a Lawsuit for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious health risk that sends an average of 50,000 people to the hospital each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If one or more parties should have prevented you from suffering carbon monoxide poisoning – or prevented a loved one from a catastrophic injury or death due to exposure to this toxic gas – you may have grounds to file a lawsuit in Colorado.
What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when an individual breathes in the toxic gas that is created from the incomplete or inefficient combustion of fuel. When a fuel-burning product – such as a furnace, space heater, water heater or motor vehicle – malfunctions, it can create carbon monoxide that gets emitted into the air. In an enclosed space or indoors, carbon monoxide can be inhaled in dangerous amounts and poison a victim.
When carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream, it binds to the hemoglobin in the blood, preventing the blood cells from carrying oxygen to the body’s organs. This can deprive the brain, heart and other parts of the body of enough oxygen to cause serious – and sometimes permanent – injuries. The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning may include confusion, dizziness, nausea, headache and loss of consciousness.
Elements of a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuit
Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. It occurs most often due to unsafe premises, improper appliance maintenance and defective products. If one or more parties make a mistake that exposes someone else to carbon monoxide in Colorado, the injured victim could file a claim for damages (financial compensation) against the at-fault party. Most of these claims are based on the legal theory of negligence, which consists of four main elements:
- Duty of care – a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care.
- Breach of duty – an act or omission committed by the defendant that went against the duty of care.
- Causation – a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages – losses suffered by the victim because of the incident.
If a boiler or furnace malfunctioned or was poorly installed, a rental unit or hotel room did not have any carbon monoxide detectors, the alarms were expired, or any other example of negligence resulted in you or a loved one being exposed to carbon monoxide, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your related injuries and expenses.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Colorado?
The party that is liable, or legally and financially responsible, for your carbon monoxide poisoning depends on the circumstances. The defendant(s) named in a personal injury lawsuit is the person or party most at fault for causing the victim’s injuries. In a case involving dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide, the liable party could be a:
- Property owner
- Residential landlord
- Vacation rental (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)
- HVAC contractor
- Maintenance professional
- Product manufacturer
You may be eligible to file a lawsuit for carbon monoxide poisoning if you or a lawyer can prove that the defendant was negligent and this is what caused your injuries. If you are not sure whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit for your carbon monoxide poisoning, contact an attorney at Cannon Law to schedule a free case consultation. Our Colorado carbon monoxide poisoning attorneys can help.
How to File a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claim
You must take legal action within two years to have a valid claim to damages in Colorado. Filing a carbon monoxide poisoning claim requires filling out and submitting the required paperwork with the civil courts in the county where you live, as well as paying the filing fee. Most carbon monoxide poisoning cases do not require lawsuits, however; they are resolved with settlements with insurance companies. Hiring a lawyer to calculate your losses, gather evidence, identify the defendant, send your demand letter and negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf can help you achieve the best possible results for your carbon monoxide poisoning case.