Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is a deadly, silent killer. It can cause brain damage and life-long effects. Landlords have an obligation to provide a safe living and working environment. Morgantown, West Virginia Attorney Jeff Robinette has helped families receive seven-figure settlements after carbon monoxide exposure caused the death of loved ones.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuits | West Virginia
by Jeffery Robinette
Carbon Monoxide: the Silent Killer
Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal. Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.
CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu. The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. A sleeping or intoxicated person may not experience symptoms before they lose consciousness or die. Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.
In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes. Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide and may show symptoms sooner than a healthy adult. Because of their smaller bodies, children process CO differently than adults and may be more severely affected by it.
The well-established effects of carbon monoxide poisoning – memory loss, confusion, mood swings – can make day-to-day functioning difficult for survivors. But, others are affected, too. The survivor’s difficulties translate into changes in work performance, management of finances, and ultimately strained family and work relationships. Getting help and treatment for ongoing health issues can be confusing, frustrating, and time-consuming for everyone involved.
Morgantown, West Virginia Carbon Monoxide Exposure Attorney Jeffery Robinette
I’m attorney Jeff Robinette and I’m here to discuss with you your legal rights with regard to claims that involve exposure to carbon monoxide gas.
Why is Carbon Monoxide Called the Silent Killer?
Let’s quickly discuss some basic facts about carbon monoxide gas. It’s also known as CO gas and CO gas, or carbon monoxide gas, is colorless and odorless, and that’s why it’s called the silent killer.
In the United States, there are over 20,000 episodes of carbon monoxide exposure, about 400 people a year on average die of carbon monoxide exposure.
Where does Carbon Monoxide Come From?
Carbon monoxide comes from the byproduct of burning fossil fuels, and so, if you have a home that has a gas furnace, for instance, you will be producing carbon monoxide in your home.
Some more rural areas will have LP gas, or even fuel oil, which will also produce carbon monoxide emissions. Also, you need to be careful about carbon monoxide if you have a gas-fired water heater in your home.
Some people like to have an outside generator and you have to be careful to make sure that the generator does not produce emissions in or around windows, and especially not in the home.
Safety Precautions to Reduce the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Let’s talk about safety precautions in your home. As a homeowner, you should ensure that you have good, working safety detectors, carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Look on the back of your carbon monoxide detector and ensure that it has the warranty period that is still in service.
Also, look to see if there’s a Universal Laboratory stamp of approval on the monitor to ensure that it has met at least the minimum requirements of a safe mechanism for your home.
You also should have a safety person look at your furnace and hot water heater from time to time, to make sure that it is safely operating.
Foremost, you should have a test done at the same time by your heating and ventilation expert or technician to ensure that there aren’t any leaks in the furnace.
What Are My Legal Rights After Carbon Monoxide Exposure?
Finally, I’d like to discuss with you your legal rights with regard to exposure to carbon monoxide gas. Your legal rights against others will depend upon one of several different mechanisms by which the carbon monoxide exposure occurs.
First of all, it is unlikely that there will be a carbon monoxide exposure in a new home. This is true because the more recent building standards require hardwired as well as battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in all levels of a home.
This baseline defense against exposure is important to ensure that your whole household is safe from these types of exposures.
The next most common type of exposure occurs in tenant houses or leased houses that are of some age, and these occur because the landlord fails to keep the furnace and the other appliances that operate off of fuel in the safest possible condition.
And because carbon monoxide is a silent killer, most of the time, the detection of the leaks often occurs when people are discovered unconscious or already have passed away.
And then finally, the third mechanism of exposure occurs in rural areas where houses are not built according to code and there have been no updates in the safety features of the home.
In those situations, the homeowner himself should take extra precautions to make sure that operational and functional carbon monoxide detectors are in service.
Who is to Blame for Exposures in Carbon Monoxide Cases?
Many of the times, it’s due to the landlord failing to ensure that there’s a safe place to abide for his tenants.
In other instances, it can be the actual heating ventilation technician who fails to do his job by ensuring that the furnace or hot water heater or other types of fuel-burning furnaces are properly tested and certified for operation.
And so, if you are in one of those situations where you or a family member has been exposed to carbon monoxide gas, please call our office to discuss your case.
I’ve handled several of these cases that involve death, as well as very severe injuries. And so, we would like to discuss with you your legal rights and we wish you the best.
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