Huntsville Injury Lawyers Handling Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claims

Helping victims of CO poisoning in Alabama and throughout the country

Carbon monoxide (CO) is present in fumes produced when cars, trucks, stoves, grills, fireplaces, furnaces, and gas ranges burn fuel. It can poison people who breathe in the fumes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 400 people die each year from unintentional CO poisoning which isn’t linked to fires. About 4,000 people of the 20,000 people who visit an emergency room yearly need to be hospitalized.

At Martin and Helms, our Huntsville injury lawyers have been fighting for families for more than 20 years. If your loved one has been injured after being exposed to carbon monoxide, you may be entitled to damages for those injuries. To learn more about your options, please contact us today. If you live outside of Alabama and need local counsel, we can assist with that, too.

Carbon monoxide symptoms and dangers

CO is hard for humans to detect because it is odorless and colorless. Many victims don’t realize they’ve inhaled too much CO. They just pass out or, in the worst cases, die due to the CO exposure. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause long-term neurological and respiratory damage. Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Malaise
  • Headaches

Some victims say their symptoms are like the flu.

Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it prevents blood from carrying oxygen. In essence, the CO replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream. Oxygen is needed for the body’s vital organs; if the blood doesn’t get enough oxygen, organs and tissues can be damaged. In the worst-case scenario, it can be deadly.

Appliances and items that can emit carbon monoxide

The following are some of the products that should be inspected, maintained, and monitored for possible CO leaks and emissions:

  • Cars and trucks
  • Boats
  • Generators
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Generators
  • Grills
  • Ovens

Common safety precautions

Homes, business, and organizations that burn carbon-based fuels should take the following safety measures, according to the CDC:

  • Install battery-operated CO detectors. The batteries should be checked regularly. The CO detector should be placed where it will wake residents up if it goes off. CO detectors should be replaced about every five years, according to the CDC.
  • Perform inspections. Gas, oil, and coal burning appliances, and water heaters/heating systems should undergo annual inspections. Gas equipment should carry “the seal of a national testing agency,” to ensure that it has been tested and found effective.
  • Keep outdoor products outdoors. Portable, flameless chemical heaters should not be used indoors. Neither should generators. Gas appliances, products, and vehicles should have proper ventilation, too.

In addition to failing to use standard safety measures, corporations or other individuals can be found negligent if:

  • They failed to install or maintain ventilation systems
  • Failed to take measures to detect and fix gas leaks
  • Failed to have quality CO detectors on the premises
  • Failed to have an escape route in place in case someone was exposed to carbon monoxide
  • Failing to inspect for gas leaks
  • Other acts or omissions depending on the appliance or products the produce carbon monoxide

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouses pose a real risk for CO poisoning, especially in winter months. When growers seal up their greenhouses to keep plants warm, their heating elements often produce carbon monoxide. Plants are less sensitive to this gas, but the amount of CO in a sealed greenhouse can prove lethal to humans. If you use a greenhouse in the winter, make sure to properly ventilate it before you enter, so you can avoid being poisoned.

Source: The Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Who can be held liable for carbon monoxide deaths and injuries?

In some cases, liability is based on negligence: the failure to take proper safety precautions. In other cases, liability is based on product defects. Possible defendants include:

  • Property owners
  • Construction companies
  • Manufactures of appliances and fuel burning products
  • Companies whose employees fail to service, repair, or maintain the appliances and products correctly and safely
  • Anyone who may have responsibility for the maintenance, use, and repair of a product that emits carbon monoxide

Delay can hurt your case. If you were harmed by CO poisoning, or someone you loved died from carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s important to see an experienced toxic exposure lawyer as soon as possible. This is because it is critical to determine the source of the CO poisoning. If the source isn’t fixed, others could suffer.

Strong advocacy for victims of carbon monoxide poisoning throughout the country

At Martin & Helms, our Huntsville injury lawyers investigate what led to the CO poisoning, so we can hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries. To schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Huntsville or Decatur, call us at 256-539-1990 or use our contact form. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, and represent clients in Athens, Madison, Huntsville and throughout the Tennessee Valley.