Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Turn to Our ATTORNEYS IN BALTIMORE
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless — making it a dangerous threat to public and home environments because it is normally undetectable until people feel its symptoms. This type of toxic poison causes brain damage and can be dangerous to pregnant mothers and their developing fetuses, both because of the hypoxic insult (loss of oxygen) and inflammatory response in the brain. Many of the problems related to carbon monoxide poisoning become permanent.
At Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, we advocate for the rights of those who have been harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning due to careless oversight or damaged safety products. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause severe brain damage, and our team works hard to ensure that the significant lifestyle changes and health expenses incurred from these mistakes are compensated.
Please call Murphy, Falcon & Murphy at 410.983.6266 if you or a loved one has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide & the Symptoms of Poisoning
Carbon monoxide results from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon, which includes gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. When inhaled, carbon monoxide displaces oxygen from the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Over 20,000 Americans are taken to the emergency room each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
If you are exposed to carbon monoxide, a variety of symptoms can present themselves depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the environment. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms closely resemble flu symptoms like headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea, making it even more difficult to detect the gas if you begin to feel sick. If present in large amounts, carbon monoxide can cause you to lose consciousness and suffocate within a matter of minutes.
Am I At Risk for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 400 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that those working in the following professions are at a greater risk of carbon monoxide exposure:
- Taxi Driver
- Garage Mechanic
- Carbon-Black Maker
- Organic Chemical Synthesizer
- Customs Inspector
- Police Officer
- Metal Oxide Reducer
Environments such as boiler rooms, breweries, warehouses, petroleum refineries, pulp and paper production plants, steel production plants, docks, blast furnaces, and coke furnaces all present a high risk of carbon monoxide exposure as well.
There are also a variety of in-home sources of potential carbon monoxide poisoning, including:
- Charcoal Grills
- Cigarette Smoke
- Gas Water Heaters
- Kerosene Space Heaters
- Propane Heaters & Stoves
- Gasoline & Diesel Powered Generators
- Solvents, Degreasers & Paint Removers
- Spray Paint
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
Carbon monoxide is very difficult to detect and it is important to take proactive steps towards preventing this dangerous gas from causing harm. Below are a few recommendations for preventing carbon monoxide in your home or workplace. However, even with certain preventative measures in place, carbon monoxide poisoning can still occur due to negligence or defective products.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms: A Necessary Safe-Guard
Of all preventative measures, carbon monoxide alarms are especially important in avoiding carbon monoxide exposure. Laws and regulations regarding carbon monoxide alarms vary from state to state. For a comprehensive list, please visit the National Conference of State Legislature's page on carbon monoxide alarms.
Since 2008, Maryland law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in a central location outside each bedroom of all new public housing units. This includes one- and two-family dwellings, multi-family dwellings, hotels, motels, and dormitories.
Recently, a bill was passed in Maryland requiring the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in new and substantially remodeled public schools in the state. This bill was proposed in 2011 as a direct response to two carbon monoxide leaks which took place within the same week at Dickey Hill Elementary and Middle School in Maryland. Each of these leaks sent students to the hospital.
How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Home?
Make sure that all of the above appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions and applicable local building codes.
There are also a few additional steps you can take at home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install carbon monoxide detection devices that meet the requirements of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard 2034 or UL 2075. Install these alarms in accordance with National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) 720 on every level of your home, including basements.
- Install an alarm outside each bedroom in your home.
- Never leave a vehicle running in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- When servicing fuel‐burning appliances, be sure you have the proper knowledge, skills, and tools. If not, please consider hiring a professional.
- When in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house, or other building, never use a portable generator or other gasoline‐powered tool. Even with open windows and doors, these spaces can allow carbon monoxide to build up to dangerous levels.
- Don't burn charcoal inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent, or other enclosed space.
- Don't use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Have your furnace, chimney, and flues inspected annually.
- Don't operate unvented fuel‐burning appliances in rooms where people are sleeping.
How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work?
If you are aware of any situation that might cause carbon monoxide to accumulate, be sure to report it to your employer right away. This includes any ventilation problems, especially where burning fuel gases might be released. Also be sure to promptly report complaints of dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea, as these can be early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never assume that you simply have the flu if you are working in an environment that can produce carbon monoxide.
If you believe that you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide:
- Avoid overexertion and leave the contaminated area.
- Make sure to tell your doctor that you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide if you get sick.
Why Clients Choose Murphy, Falcon & Murphy
Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers have a great deal of experience litigating these types of cases. We've had the honor of representing multiple families and individuals who were harmed because employers or property owners could not be bothered to make sure their premises were safe.
Our carbon monoxide poisoning cases have included:
- Representing restaurant workers who suffered brain damage while working in their hotel's kitchen. We secured them $34.4 million for their suffering and medical care.
- We secured $4.75 million for 5 women who suffered permanent brain damage while staying in a hotel.
- Representing 2 friends and business owners who suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning while at a Florida hotel. Our investigation revealed the hotel was at fault and we secured the financial support they would need to move on with their lives.
Our role is to make sure the law works for our clients, no matter how strong the odds are against them. We fight for people who have been forgotten, abused, or mistreated because they deserve to have their voices heard.
We are true trial lawyers, with a reputation built on captivating and precise trial litigation. As a result, we help our clients receive the medical and emotional support they need after a traumatic and life-altering injury.
When Can a Claim Be Filed?
If you or your family have experienced injuries, or even death, as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, you may be entitled to compensatory damages.
You may file for damages if these injuries or death were caused by:
- A failure to warn of hazardous conditions
- A defective product
Even if manufacturers were not negligent in providing a defective product, they may still be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product.
Call us at 410.983.6266 for your free consultation