Most people get carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning (University of Rochester’s Health Encyclopedia on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning) after they breathe in high concentrations of the toxic gas that has unknowingly built up in an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide exists in the earth’s atmosphere but in low concentrations. In higher concentrations, it deprives the body’s vital organs of oxygen and can lead to brain damage, other lasting impairments, and death.
Many people have dozens of potential sources of carbon monoxide exposure in their homes and are not even aware of them. Some common sources of exposure include vehicle engines, fuel-burning heaters, and natural gas-powered appliances.
When used correctly and in good working order, most appliances and products that burn fuel are safe and do not expose you or your family to excessive amounts of carbon monoxide. However, if used incorrectly or if defective, many fuel-burning items can become a source of dangerous carbon monoxide. These include:
Damaged appliances, defective designs, and poor maintenance are all reasons why a seemingly safe product, appliance, or structure could become dangerous for you and your family. Some methods of carbon monoxide exposure that could occur in your own home or a public place include:
There are currently numerous cases pending against automakers because of problems related to electric start/keyless ignition design (New York Times article on keyless cars and carbon monoxide toll). Most of these cases center on vehicles with keyless entry that were unknowingly left running in an attached garage. This scenario has caused many families to suffer injuries and led to several deaths.
Those pursuing claims believe it is too easy to leave the vehicle running and walk away with the keys. They want safe designs (including necessary and readily available safeguards like automatic shutoffs) and stronger warnings and are seeking compensation to cover their losses.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to take legal action based on your state’s product liability or premises liability laws. Hotels, stores, hospitals, restaurants, shops, and other public places have a duty to protect visitors from exposure to high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
At the same time, companies who design and manufacture keyless entry cars, space heaters, and other items have a responsibility to design and market a safe product that does not put consumers at undue risk of CO poisoning.
If you required hospitalization because of carbon monoxide exposure, or if your loved one lost their life, you may be eligible to hold the property owner or product manufacturer liable. In some cases, we may be able to help you join a mass tort that is already in progress.
Call Newsome Melton today at (888) 808-5977 for your free case evaluation with a member of our team.
At Newsome Melton, our attorneys are ready to discuss the facts of your case and explain your legal options. Call (888) 808-5977 now for your free case review with a member of our carbon monoxide poisoning team.