Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Injury & Fatality Lawyer
It seems every year when the cold weather strikes, we hear about another tragedy involving an individual or family who was killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning when their furnace malfunctioned or was improperly vented. Thankfully, many necessary preventative measures can be employed to drastically reduce this deadly situation from occurring or identify danger at its onset (carbon monoxide detector).
A basic understanding of gas dangers is vital to protect people from harm to keep families safe.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciates the hazards associated with carbon monoxide poisoning that people face every day. Our Cook County personal injury attorneys work hard to investigate all carbon monoxide poisoning cases to ensure all parties are held responsible for their role in an incident.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Fatality FAQs
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning builds up high levels of carbon monoxide in the victim's bloodstream, replacing oxygen in red blood cells. Without immediate treatment, poisoning can cause extensive tissue damage or death.
How Long Does It Take to Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Researchers show that a build-up of carbon monoxide can lead to poisoning in as little as two hours under constant exposure. Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide at low levels can also cause life-threatening neurological symptoms, including disruptive concentration and confused thinking.
How do You Know if You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
CO poisoning often causes weakness, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, vomiting, upset stomach, and confusion. Some victims have displayed "flu-like" symptoms. Inhaling large amounts of CO can cause the victim to pass out or die.
How do You get Rid of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Doctors and emergency medical technicians will ensure a CO poisoned victim breathes in pure oxygen that helps remove high levels of carbon monoxide from the bloodstream.
The procedure usually requires wearing an oxygen mask over the mouth and nose while inhaling.
Does Carbon Monoxide Make You Sleepy?
Most victims exposed to mild levels of CO levels experience fatigue, nausea, headaches, and accelerated heart rate. In some cases, the victim will display signs of fatigue and weakness that could present like sleepiness, disorientation, or drowsiness.
Can You Smell Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the "silent killer." The gas has no taste, smell, or sound, making it nearly impossible to detect when breathing it.
Long-term exposure often leads to carbon monoxide poisoning that could be fatal.
What Appliances Cause Carbon Monoxide?
The production of carbon monoxide is a byproduct of flames by any burning material, including gas, wood, and fuel. Sources of CO in the house include:
- Wood stoves
- Gas ovens and stoves
- Wood-burning and gas fireplaces
- Boilers and furnaces
- Gas-powered water heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Power tools
- Gas-powered lawn equipment
- Outdoor grills
What is CO? How is Carbon Monoxide Made?
For general information purposes, carbon monoxide (CO) gas is often referred to as the "silent killer" because it is odorless, tasteless, colorless, and deadly. The gas is released when fossil fuels like oil are burned in open fires, gas stovetops, ovens, and furnaces.
In confined areas, the gas can cause sickness and death. The best way to prevent gas poisoning requires you to protect yourself, your family, and home to avoid exposure to the noxious gas.
Effect of Carbon Monoxide Exposure on the Body
Carbon monoxide is formed when a fossil fuel such as gasoline, oil, or charcoal is not entirely combusted during burning. When inhaled, this gas combines with hemoglobin in the person's blood, blocking their ability to carry needed oxygen to the cells of the body.
By inhaling large quantities of this gas, the body begins to suffocate even though the victim is still breathing.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the air, the symptoms can affect the body within minutes or be delayed for a few hours. Poisoning can happen with lower exposures over a more extended period or substantial exposure in a short amount of time. In severe cases, death can occur in as little as a few minutes.
The general symptoms, in the order of severity, are:
- Brain Damage
- Convulsions / respiratory arrest
- Unconsciousness / Death
Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause long-term effects. Often, delayed neurological disorders happen a few days or weeks after the exposure. These delayed effects can include amnesia, short-term memory loss, dementia, and other neurological disorders.
When a person dies due to carbon monoxide exposure at work or on the premises of another party, the family may pursue a lawsuit from a wrongful death.
Treatment for Carbon Monoxide Ingestion
The apparent first treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning is your removal from the gas or area of exposure. For slight exposure, leaving the area will alleviate the symptoms within a few hours.
However, for more severe exposure, oxygen is administered to hasten the depletion of accumulated gas from the body. Oxygen supplied through a ventilation mask can help remove carbon monoxide in the body in one-quarter the time it takes breathing healthy air.
Other treatments may be needed for damage done to the brain and other organs from oxygen deprivation.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Build-Up In Homes and Apartments
Since carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, it cannot be easily detected. The best prevention for homes that use gas or oil-fired heaters requires installing detectors in all rooms of the house.
These devices are inexpensive and will give off an alarm if the levels become too high in the house. Other prevention methods are:
- Never burn a charcoal grill inside an enclosed home or garage. Every year when the power goes out, people try to dangerously heat or cook using a grill in an enclosed space, creating a life-threatening environment
- Never allow your car to idle within an enclosed area
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm to save lives and avoid serious injuries, including a brain injury
- Always use the fan above gas stoves when cooking
- Know the dangers of using keyless ignition when parking in an enclosed area and not turning the engine off when leaving the vehicle
- Though rare, carbon monoxide poisoning during pregnancy can lead to fetal mortality or fetal neurologic complications that could result in cerebral palsy
- Always have chimneys, fuel heaters, and fireplaces inspected before winter use
Approximately 15,000 people are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States, and an average of 430 people die from CO exposure. Many of these cases involving toxic exposure or the failure of a business owner or management company failing to maintain the furnace to ensure visitor and tenant safety.
The auto industry states that truck drivers and other motorists are at risk of a carbon monoxide leak from gas or diesel exhaust that could cause death or permanent brain injury. Do not let a family member become one of these statistics.
Legal Ramifications Related to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Homes, Mobile Homes & Apartments
Like most personal injury cases, a faulty heater lawsuit begins with determining who is responsible for the injuries or death. Numerous parties might be included in the lawsuit if the problem was defective, poorly maintained equipment or improperly installed furnaces that result in injury or death.
Potential defendants in a case may include:
- Furnace installation company
- Maintenance company
- Landlord or property owner
Sample Illinois Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Fatality Settlements & Lawsuits
$2,500,000 Settlement; LaSalle County, Illinois; 2019:
Tragically, a woman died of carbon monoxide after a fire broke out in her Ottawa, Illinois home. She was seventy at the time of the events that gave rise to this claim. Apparently, when she was on the second floor, the fire broke out on the first and the smoke crept up and found her. That would lead to the carbon monoxide poisoning and her subsequent death. She was survived by her son. Representatives for the woman’s estate claimed that fire alarms in the house were defective and responsible for the tragic affair. They sued the company for products liability and wrongful death. The company tried to blame the victim’s son for the ordeal because he allegedly removed a few of the devices. However, that was not enough to stop the claim. Sensing their prospects were better in private negotiations than an open trial, the company initiated settlement talks with the plaintiffs. Eventually, they reached an agreement and the family received $2.5 million for their extraordinary pain and losses.
$1,175,000 Settlement; Cook County, Illinois; 2009:
This dispute involved two people living in the same apartment building in Lincolnwood, Illinois. One of them started his car in the garage but, for some reason, let it run for a long time. It is unknown why the car was not turned off. Whatever the reason, the other person living nearby suffered carbon monoxide. Eventually, it became too much and he died. He was seventy-eight years old at the time of his passing. The man was survived by two children who had both reached adulthood by the time of this litigation. The man’s estate brought his action against the other resident and the condo’s association. They claimed the two were negligent and responsible for the elderly man’s wrongful death. Whatever objections the two had will never be known because the matter settled for $1,175,000. The resident’s insurance paid out $900,000 and the association’s insurance paid out $275,000.
$6,000,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2008:
This tragic incident occurred in a Chicago apartment. A family with many young children lived in an old building with even older smoke detectors. One late summer night, a fire broke out. However, the family did not initially notice because of the missing detectors. When they did notice, it was too late. Several of the family members died and others sustained carbon monoxide poisoning and other serious personal injuries. The family incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for medical expenses. They also had to endure the pain and suffering of the tragic affair. This suit brought in response to these terrible events. The family sought financial compensation for the inconsolable injuries and grief. They targeted the property owners and managers but that pair did not want to litigate the matter in court. Rather, they funneled the matter into settlement where the family obtained $6 million.
$1,000,000 Settlement; Lake County, Illinois; 2005:
This cause of action was brought against a property owner, gas company, and utility authority. It was initiated after a woman in her early fifties died from carbon monoxide poisoning in her rented home. Allegedly, the furnace was not properly set up and that allowed for the gas leak and subsequent in inhalation. At the time of her passing, the woman had three children who had all reached adulthood. They brought this case in their own right and on behalf of their mother who had wrongfully died. The plaintiffs alleged that the three defendants were responsible collectively for her passing and their harms. Despite filing initial rebuffs, the trio subsequently relented and settled for a combined sum of $1 million.
$500,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2004:
This unfortunate series of events started with a fire in Chicago. A resident of the building, in his fifties, tried to escape but carbon monoxide poisoning overtook him and he was sent into a years long coma. After nearly two years, he died and was survived by his one child. With counsel, he brought suit. The claim suggested that the defendant company was responsible for the death but the insurance company intercept the dispute and brought it into settlement. The plaintiffs received $500,000 for their pain and suffering as well as expenses.
Hiring a Chicago Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Injury Attorney
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understands that the time following an incident presents the best opportunity for obtaining valuable evidence to determine who is to blame. Contact our Illinois premises liability lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation for legal advice.
Our personal injury lawyers are ready to battle for you and your loved ones for compensation for your medical bills, hospitalization costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering. The furnace or device is a crucial component in prosecuting these cases, meaning it is essential to have engineers examine the furnace as soon as feasible following an incident.
Our team is on call and ready to help. All discussions with our carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
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- Carbon Monoxide Wrongful Death Lawsuits
- Brain Damage from Carbon Monoxide Exposure
- Side Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Treatment
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuits / Corporate Responsibility
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Boilers and Heaters