Who Is Liable for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

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Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. You often don’t even realize you’re inhaling it, and that’s the biggest part of the danger. The fact is someone must be held accountable for the potential wrongful death or personal injury claim resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning, but a question always remains—who’s at fault?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases Often Fall on the Shoulders of Landlords and Businesses

It isn’t, however, that cut and dry. Sifting through the facts of the case and showing the evidence?—that’s often what is required to ensure a victim receives the proper compensation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,244 fatalities occurred between 2010 and 2015 as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. This often happened during the winter season, which gives you the first clue—carbon monoxide often results from burning fuel, particularly for heat.

When you burn natural gas, fuel oil, coal, wood or charcoal, that “CO” is released, and exposure to that gas can be extremely harmful, which as long as it’s released into the atmosphere, the toxic effects are neutralized. If it is, however, contained—such as in a garage, or car, or in general a home with closed windows—it could be catastrophic, and no one would ever know the difference.

How Do You Prove That a Business or Landlord Is Directly Responsible?

It falls on the investigation of all appliances that are capable of releasing carbon monoxide into the air, such as furnaces, pipes and other devices. By law, all entities—such as landlords and businesses—must take all reasonable steps to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If they don’t, they would be at risk of facing a personal injury lawsuit due to wrongful death.

Certain actions include:

  • Regular testing of carbon monoxide detectors
  • Correct installation of carbon monoxide detectors
  • Building code compliance and safety regulations

If a contractor or manufacturer fails to ensure all of this has been done, and carbon monoxide poisoning occurs, that contractor or manufacturer would be held liable. If a landlord fails to contact a contractor to ensure all of this has been done, that landlord would then be held liable. Oftentimes it can be a combination of liabilities given the situation and presentation of evidence, but if the correct steps are not taken, that’s where personal injury law and practice go into effect.

Another potential source of liability is a product manufacturer. Appliances like space heaters and grilling devices can produce excess amounts of carbon monoxide if there is a defect in the product design. In this case, a product liability investigation can find out if the makers of the device are legally responsible for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Consult with an Attorney After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Occurs

Do you have questions? A qualified lawyer can help. Simply make a call, discuss your options, and present the facts of your situation.

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of David Klibaner.