Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious problem where exposure to toxic fumes causes more than 40,000 injuries every year in America. In fact, CO poisoning can occur from various sources including malfunctioning heaters and boilers in residences or commercial buildings. The toxic gas is produced every time fuel is burned including gasoline, kerosene, charcoal, wood, and oil. The concentration of the carbon monoxide depends on the efficiency and quality of its combustion.
Without a carbon monoxide detector, no one can smell or see the toxic vapor. At high concentrated levels, CO can quickly kill in minutes. It is the leading cause of the nation’s poisoning deaths, claiming the lives of more than 500 victims every year.
Most accidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning from boilers and heaters occur from appliances that are used or maintained improperly. Dangerous levels of the toxic gas can quickly accumulate in enclosed spaces, creating a hazardous and life-threatening environment within minutes.
Broken heat exchangers and rusted boilers can prevent the combusted gas fumes from being exhausted away from the structure. Malfunctioning fuel-burning heaters can produce a significant prolonged problem if the unit generates small amounts of accumulated carbon monoxide pumped into different rooms in the building.
How CO Poisoning Can Occur
If CO gases backdraft from the furnace because of a blocked exhaust vent, chimney or flue, it can cause life-threatening conditions inside the home or building. Rusty metal flues or accumulated soot can be signs of combustion leakage that restrict venting of harmful toxic gases to the outdoors. While many signs of acute carbon monoxide poisoning from boilers and heaters are readily detectable, others are not. Some obvious signs include:
- Water dripping from a chimney
- Rusting on the vent system
- The accumulation of soot
- Missing or loose furnace panels
- Debris falling from a heater or fireplace chimney
- Accumulated moisture on the inside of window glass
Not so easily detected carbon monoxide problems include:
- Improperly adjusted burner
- Malfunctioning or damaged internal boiler or heater components
- Blockage or damage that is hidden in the vent system
It usually takes a competent service technician trained in detecting hitting problems to locate and correct many of the conditions listed here.
Common Poisoning Symptoms
Many of the first symptoms involved in carbon monoxide poisoning tend to mimic many flulike symptoms without a fever. This includes headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, disorientation, vomiting and a loss of consciousness if the concentrated levels are high. Poisoning occurs because carbon monoxide easily bonds to hemoglobin in red blood cells required to transfer oxygen from the lungs to tissue throughout the body. The accumulated bonded CO molecules prevent hemoglobin from carrying oxygen, suffocating vital body organs including the heart and brain. When diagnosing CO poisoning, doctors will often ask the patient numerous questions to assist in detecting the problem. Some of these questions include:
- Do the experienced symptoms happen only when in a specific structure?
- Are there others in the house or building who complain of similar symptoms?
- Did these shared symptoms with others begin occurring about the same time?
- Is the air or water in the building heated with organic fuel?
- When was the last time the fuel-powered appliances in the home or building were inspected?
- Did the inspection determine that the heater, boiler other gas-powered equipment worked correctly?
Prolonged or concentrated exposure to CO gases can create debilitating injuries. Any delay in receiving medical treatment can cause significant adverse effects including:
- Brain damage
- Heart issues
- Diminished focus
- Severe fatigue
- Organ suffocation
- Cognitive impairment
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Manufacturer, Distributor or Installer of a Faulty Furnace or Boiler Causing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you have suffered serious injuries caused by a malfunctioning heater or boiler, you may have the legal right to seek financial compensation from any individual or company at fault. A skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in carbon monoxide poisoning cases can assist you in filing a lawsuit against appliance manufacturers, service companies, builders, contractors, property owners or landlords.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at 888-424-5757 accept carbon monoxide poisoning from boilers and heaters cases on contingency, so no upfront fees are required. Our skilled attorneys will investigate your claim and determine every party at fault for your injuries. Our law firm serves as your legal advocate to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.