Aptly called "the quiet killer" in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) TV presentation, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas which can cause sudden illness or even death. It is found in combustion fumes, like those of cars, trucks, stoves, small gasoline engines, burning wood and charcoal, gas ranges, lanterns, portable generators, and heating systems. CO is of the same density as air and so mixes quickly, even when coming from a combustible (heated) source. In addition, the body’s red blood cells pick up CO more quickly than they do oxygen, replacing oxygen in the blood with CO. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is also often slow, as the result of a small leak in a gas appliance and by the time it is discovered, the damage has already been done.
Contact Cullan & Cullan LLC online or by phone at (402) 882-7080 to learn how our Omaha carbon monoxide poisoning attorneys can assist you with your claim.
Symptoms of CO Poisoning
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in children and adults include:
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
Unfortunately, because the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of other illnesses, it is difficult to diagnose. Finding any CO leak before suffering symptoms is ideal and possible by ensuring that household appliances are inspected and maintained regularly, in addition to installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home, apartment, and/or workplace.
Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Most often, CO poisoning occurs over a prolonged period of time where the CO builds up gradually and unnoticeable in the environment, but more sudden and lethal cases usually involve a high level of CO concentration that has accumulated over a short period of time. If you are not cooking or baking and your heater is shut off and you suddenly smell "gas," it could be a large leak and you should open all windows and doors to the outside and leave your house/apartment before reporting it. CO poisoning is usually the result of inadequately vented gas appliances, poor installation of gas appliances, poor ventilation systems, and poor maintenance.
Liability in CO Poisoning
It is a property (home, apartment, office building) owner’s responsibility to ensure that all gas stoves, heaters, water heaters, other gas appliances as well as ventilation systems are to code, installed properly, and adequately maintained. This is known as premises liability. It is also the responsibility of the installer to make sure that everything is properly done. When a person rents or leases an apartment or house or a company leases office space, they trust that they are entering a safe environment. If through negligence the property owner or manager does not maintain gas appliances or the installer completed an improper installation, they may be held liable for the illnesses, injuries, or death caused by CO.
Child Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases
Well over 40,000 people each year suffer injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure, and 500 people are killed by exposure. Tragically, some of these victims are children.
For any parent, the idea of their child being injured by an invisible danger is a frightening idea. If their child's carbon monoxide poisoning was caused by the negligence of another person, that can only make the situation feel worse.
Here are the parties most commonly named in carbon monoxide poisoning claims:
- A worker who improperly installed, repaired, or inspected appliances
- Automobile manufacturers
- Gas companies
- Product distributors
- Product manufacturers
- Product retailers
- Residential and commercial builders
Depending on the extent of your child's injuries, you may be able to pursue the following damages after a carbon monoxide poisoning injury:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death damages (in the tragic event of losing a child)
Fatal Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Most incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning are the result of carelessness or negligence. Leaving a car running in a closed garage or using a carbon monoxide-emitting device such as a charcoal grill or gas powered generator in a closed, unventilated area are common causes of fatal carbon monoxide accidents. Faulty products like malfunctioning stoves, furnaces, or space heaters can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Losing a loved one is a painful experience to go through. If a death is caused by careless, negligent, or willful act, the responsible party can be held liable for any of the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of future income and benefits, such as medical or retirement benefits
- Loss of companionship, care, comfort, and guidance of the deceased
If you've lost a loved one due to CO exposure as the result of the negligence of another party, you have the right to seek compensation for your loss. An experienced Omaha carbon monoxide poisoning attorney can represent you in your wrongful death claim while you and family mourn. The attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC are particularly skilled in personal injury and wrongful death claims because we also have medical degrees and backgrounds in studying medicine.
Clearing the Air
Carbon monoxide truly is a quiet killer and its dangers should not be taken lightly. As physicians, we are well aware of the potentially lethal consequences of CO poisoning. As lawyers, we are well aware of the responsibility of property owners and appliance installers to do their jobs in accordance with the law. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our experienced Omaha carbon monoxide poisoning attorneys can help you determine fault in a CO poisoning case and thus seek compensation for the losses and damages you have suffered. We are committed to justice for our clients.
If you have suffered an illness or injury as the result of CO poisoning in Nebraska, contact our lawyers today to learn more about your legal rights and options: (402) 882-7080.