- Airport crews
- Boat and dock crews
- Blast furnace operators
- Commercial drivers
- Crane operators
- Coal miners
- Coke oven operators
- Construction workers
- Forge operators
- Industrial workers who recycle CO to use as fuel
- Kiln operators
- Metal oxide reducers
- Oil, gas, and refinery workers
- Operators of gas-powered engines (chainsaws, forklifts, bobcats)
- People in laboratories using chemical CO or synthesizing organic compounds
- People who work with methylene chloride (found in industrial paint strippers and solvents, metabolized by the body into CO)
- Police officers
- Pilots of piston-powered aircraft
- Pulp and paper manufacturers
- Taxi drivers
- Toll booth and parking garage attendants
- Warehouse workers
Signs of Carbon Monoxide PoisoningOne of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is that the symptoms of the illness are often very ambiguous. In other words, the symptoms can be similar to those of the common cold and other illnesses. Such symptoms may include dizziness, weakness, and shortness of breath, among others. Nevertheless, if you are employed in a high-risk profession like one of those mentioned above, and you think you might be the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, you must err on the safe side and seek medical care. Some signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- A dull headache
- Vomiting and nausea
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty breathing deeply
- Weakness and fatigue
- Prolonged exposure without treatment can result in permanent brain damage, life-threatening cardiac damage and complications, miscarriage or fetal death, or death of the exposed victim.
- The sooner you receive treatment, the greater chance there might be for a full recovery over time.
- Having a diagnosis of your exposure is necessary to later seek the compensation you deserve in a legal claim.
What Should You Do After Exposure to Carbon Monoxide While Working?When a doctor determines that you suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and you believe the exposure happened at work, you should immediately report your suspicions to your employer. You might have to fill out a report or other human resources forms, as your employer might be preparing for a workers’ compensation claim. You should make sure that you keep up with all recommended treatments and attend all follow-up appointments. This demonstrates that you are doing your best to mitigate the effects of the poisoning and taking your health seriously. Finally, you should contact an experienced carbon monoxide poisoning attorney to discuss your legal options. While your employer might seem willing to help with the workers’ comp process, there could be additional avenues for financial relief or additional action required outside the workers’ compensation process.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Carbon Monoxide Injury ClaimsTexas does not have a traditional workers’ compensation system that requires all private employers to carry coverage for injured workers. As a result, your employer might not even have workers’ compensation coverage. This is something that you should determine as soon as you know you have a workplace injury, and our law firm can help you plot the best way to proceed.
No Workers’ Compensation CoverageIf your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, you can file a personal injury claim seeking damages for your poisoning-related losses against the company. You would need to show that:
- Your employer negligently exposed you to carbon monoxide
- You suffered injuries and losses as a result
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past lost wages and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Long-term brain damage or cardiac or respiratory complications
With Workers’ Compensation CoverageEven if you have workers’ compensation coverage through your employer, you should still explore the possibility of a third-party injury claim with an experienced attorney. A workers’ comp claim can result in limited benefits, including medical treatment and partial lost wages. The benefit limitations are in exchange for being able to file a no-fault claim. Even a successful workers’ compensation claim can leave you with many losses uncompensated. This is why you should determine whether other sources of liability could help you become whole financially. This involves identifying whether a third party (not associated with your employer) was negligent and caused your carbon monoxide exposure. If you are working on a job site, and the owner of the property failed to properly detect carbon monoxide, you can hold that owner liable for your injuries and losses. The same goes for the maker of a faulty carbon monoxide detector that failed to warn you of the danger you faced. If you pursue a third-party claim, it can supplement the benefits you receive from workers’ compensation. This is why you always want the right attorney reviewing all of your legal options following carbon monoxide poisoning in San Antonio.
Recovering for Permanent Effects of Carbon Monoxide PoisoningIn some instances, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in a permanent illness or health condition, such as chronic emphysema and breathing problems for many months or years down the road. When that is the case, and a victim will suffer from chronic problems and symptoms, they can seek compensation for the permanency of their condition. You must show proof that you reached maximum medical improvement for your illness. Maximum medical improvement does not mean that you made a full recovery. Rather, it means that medical professionals do not expect you to get any better, and some effects will continue indefinitely. If you believe that you suffered a permanent health condition due to carbon monoxide exposure, the experienced team of San Antonio carbon monoxide attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm are ready to help. We regularly represent clients with permanent conditions, and we seek the full amount they deserve for their permanent health issues and injuries.
Wrongful Death Claims Following Fatal Carbon Monoxide PoisoningWhile about 50,000 people need emergency treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States, at least 430 do not survive this type of poisoning. If your loved one died due to carbon monoxide poisoning on the job - or in any other situation - your family suffered a tragic loss. You may have suffered significant financial losses, too. In this situation, your injured loved one can no longer file a claim to hold liable parties responsible for the carbon monoxide exposure and injuries. However, Texas law allows close family members of the deceased to recover losses on their behalf by filing a wrongful death claim. This type of claim can come from one or more of the following family members:
- Surviving spouse
- Children (minors or adults, biological or adopted)
- The lost earning capacity of the deceased
- A lost inheritance that the deceased might have passed on if they did not die early
- Mental anguish and pain of the close family members
- Lost support, services, maintenance, and care of the deceased
- Lost love, comfort, and companionship
What Is the Role of a San Antonio Carbon Monoxide Attorney in My Case?You might know that you suffered poisoning due to carbon monoxide poisoning at your work, but this is not enough for an insurance company to pay your claim. Instead, you need to follow the proper steps of the claim process and provide adequate evidence to support your claim. This is a more challenging - and often frustrating - process than many people realize. Your focus should remain on your treatment and physical recovery, at least as much recovery as possible. The last thing you need is to learn about the legal process, identify your options, and pursue all avenues of compensation. You should leave this part of your case to our legal team. We can:
- Advise you whether you have a claim against your employer or another third-party claim, such as against the maker of a faulty CO detector
- Gather evidence of liability for your carbon monoxide poisoning
- Determine how much compensation you deserve for your past and future losses
- File the necessary insurance claims
- Review all insurance offers and negotiate a higher settlement amount when needed
Speak With Our San Antonio Carbon Monoxide AttorneysIf you believe that you suffered carbon monoxide exposure or poisoning, get the medical treatment that you need right away—and continue treating your injuries until you reach a level of maximum medical improvement. In addition, hire experienced legal counsel to represent you throughout your carbon monoxide poisoning case. The skilled and compassionate team of attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation that you deserve, and that will allow you to move on with your life. Our legal team can handle all aspects of your insurance claim or injury lawsuit, and our goal is to provide you with thorough and result-oriented legal representation that gets you full compensation for your injuries due to carbon monoxide poisoning. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a knowledgeable San Antonio carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer, please give us a call today at (210) 340-5550 or contact us online for more information.
You have a story to tell, and we can make you heard. Let us fight for you.
ReferencesAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association. (2019). AIHA Protecting Worker Health. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.aiha.org/ Communications Workers of America. (2017, December 22). Carbon Monoxide and the Workplace. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://cwa-union.org/national-issues/health-and-safety/health-and-safety-fact-sheets/carbon-monoxide-and-workplace Cunha, J. P. (2018, October 22). 19 Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment (M. C. Stoppler, Ed.). Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.emedicinehealth.com/carbon_monoxide_poisoning/article_em.htm#carbon_monoxide_poisoning_causes Flachsbart, P. G. (2008). Exposure to Ambient and Microenvironmental Concentrations of Carbon Monoxide. In D. G. Penney (Ed.), Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (pp. 5-41). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. OSHA. (2012, April). Carbon Monoxide Poisoning [PDF]. OSHA Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf