CO poisoning is a hazard affecting New Yorkers. Due to CO exposure, each year 200 people are hospitalized and 1,800 people visit emergency rooms across the state, New York Health Department records indicate. (2)
What Is Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning?
CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating gas contained in fumes from burning fuel. Because this gas is undetectable by human senses, it is referred to as the “silent killer.” (3) (4)
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is a life-threatening emergency that occurs from inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) fumes,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. (5)
“Breathing in carbon monoxide fumes prevents the body from using oxygen properly, which can harm the brain, heart, and other organs,” Hopkins explains. (6)
What Causes Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Burning fuel creates carbon monoxide gas. This leads to poisoning. Fuels that can result in carbon monoxide poisoning include: (7)
- Natural gas.
You can be exposed to carbon monoxide fumes in many ways. The list of possible exposure includes these causes of CO poisoning: (8) (9) (10)
- Wood burning fireplace, gas log burner, or any unvented space heater — Unvented space heaters are the most common source of CO poisoning. (11) Fuel burning space heaters should be replaced with electric models.
- Malfunctioning oil, wood, gas, or coal furnaces — A malfunctioning furnace may cause CO gas to build up in the home. Furnaces need to be checked annually and maintained by certified technicians.
- Malfunctioning water heater — Horizontal pipes should vent to the outside of the home. Never use tape or gum to patch vent pipes. (12)
- Malfunctioning gas clothes dryer — Like water heaters, pipes should vent to the outside. Check and maintain gas clothes dryers on an annual basis.
- Malfunctioning cooking appliances — If you smell an odor coming from your gas appliance, stop using it immediately. Have it serviced by a certified technician.
- Tobacco smoke — Only smoke in well-ventilated areas. Use caution when disposing of tobacco ashes.
- Clogged chimney —Debris from wood fires can flow up into the chimney and get jammed inside. Remove all debris from fireplaces and chimneys before using them.
- Auto exhaust or idling vehicles — Exhaust from idling motors vent CO into the air and deplete oxygen levels. Idle your vehicle in a well-ventilated space. Always consider ventilation when idling, and open vehicle windows, doors or both.
- Gas or fuel-burning appliances — You often find these in cabins and campers. They include barbecue grills, pool and spa heaters, and ceiling-mounted heating units.Good ventilation is the key to avoiding exposure to CO fumes. Do not use these appliances in confined, unventilated areas.
- Fires — Most CO poisonings occur in the winter when space heaters are used and are improperly ventilated. CO detectors should be installed throughout the home.
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Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
So how do you know if you may have suffered CO poisoning? There are symptoms.
While carbon monoxide can kill you, a less than lethal dose can also cause brain damage or other complications. (13)
Here are some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: (14)
- Cardiac arrest.
- Chest pain.
- Respiratory failure.
- Loss of consciousness or coma.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blurry vision.
- Loss of hearing.
Suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning may prompt you to explore your legal options. After seeking medical attention, you want to discuss your case with an attorney. A Weitz & Luxenberg lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Your W&L attorney investigate your claims, determines who are the responsible parties, and helps you pursue your best legal options. We can help if the furnace in your house malfunctioned. Or your carbon monoxide detectors failed. And even if you were in a hotel or at a resort and got sick — or a loved one died.
Manufacturers sometimes use fuel in kitchen appliances, furnaces, and other products. This fuel could leak CO fumes into your home, exposing you and your family members to the deadly gas.
Manufacturers, sellers, and distributors may be held accountable for defective products or faulty designs of products leading to your injuries.
Likewise, service technicians who work on the appliances in your home should be certified and trained to check for CO leaks and any buildup of the gas. If they are negligent in doing their job, you may be able to hold the service company and its technician responsible. This is also true if you are affected when visiting a hotel or other business.
If you or a loved one have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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Finding a Qualified Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyer
Carbon monoxide poisoning cases involve personal injury and — unfortunately in some cases — wrongful death. These are complex areas of law. It is unlikely you are knowledgeable or qualified enough to pursue your case legally on your own. You need an attorney to navigate you through the legal process.
First and foremost, you want an experienced attorney. Consider an attorney with both knowledge of personal injury law and experience with carbon monoxide poisoning and other environmental hazards and cases.
Look for an attorney with empathy, who can make a commitment to helping you achieve the best outcome in your case.
W&L is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with offices all over the country. We have a team of attorneys possessing years of experience in poisoning, personal injury, and environmental hazards cases.
We know the law, as our proven track record of successful cases can show. We see our client cases through, from start to finish — always advocating for fair outcomes that are in your best interest.
How W&L Can Help
W&L fights for the optimal outcomes on our client’s behalf. Our record of successful outcomes includes: