Helping The Victims Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Port Arthur

by Paula A. Wyatt | January 10, 2024 | Blog, Premises Liability | 0 comments

Helping The Victims Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Port Arthur

Each year, tens of thousands of people suffer injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide victims may never even know that they breathed in the deadly gas because it produces no taste or odor. They can lose consciousness within minutes. Four-hundred people die each year from this poisonous substance.

You may hold many parties responsible for your accident, and they must pay you for the damages you suffered. If your family lost a loved one to carbon monoxide poisoning, they may recover compensation for the hardships they sustained when their loved one died.

Carbon Monoxide Poisonous Gas Cloud Symbol

Before thinking about money, you must prove that someone else was responsible for what happened. You need evidence to help meet your burden of proof to show that a person or entity was negligent or that a product was defective.

You need an experienced lawyer to present the strongest possible case, and they will gather evidence to show who was to blame and why they must pay you. Then, they will fight for you to get every dollar that you deserve, whether it is through a settlement or jury award.

The first step is to contact an experienced carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer, and since these cases can be challenging, you should hire someone with previous experience. You should schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.

Why Carbon Monoxide Is So Dangerous

You may never know carbon monoxide is in the air because it is colorless and odorless, and there may only be a few brief moments where you feel symptoms before you lose consciousness. You may have already suffered a lasting injury; thus, carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer.

How Carbon Monoxide Can Injure or Kill You

Carbon monoxide is more dangerous than carbon dioxide because it can form a complex with the body's blood and displace oxygen.

When  it gets into your bloodstream, carbon monoxide interferes with oxygen absorption. Your body's organs need oxygen to survive, and when deprived of oxygen, you may experience tissue death and organ failure.

The lack of oxygen may also cause permanent brain damage and neurological issues because tissue can quickly die in vital parts of your brain.

All it takes is a brief loss of oxygen to cause permanent damage to your body, which is why carbon monoxide can kill people within minutes when the concentration is high enough.

Health Impacts of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Usually, it takes someone about six hours to breathe out about half of the carbon monoxide they have inhaled. The rest can stay in their body for months.

The primary long-term effect of carbon monoxide poisoning is neurological deficits, which are problems consistent with brain damage caused by lack of oxygen.

Appliances Commonly Produce Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs most often in homes or hotels, and the most common cause is from a fuel-burning appliance that leaks. Ordinarily, a carbon monoxide detector will alert the people in the house that the levels are dangerously high.

However, the landlord or property owner may not have provided a working carbon monoxide detector even though they should periodically inspect it to ensure it works.

Appliances will produce carbon monoxide in the course of their regular operation. The device should have a ventilation and exhaust system that routes the carbon monoxide outside the residence.

When the carbon monoxide escapes into an enclosed space, people can inhale it, causing severe injuries or even death.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Cars and Boats

Many think that carbon monoxide poisoning is limited to homes and hotels. However, since carbon monoxide leaks occur when fuel burns, any device that runs on fuel can produce the deadly substance.

Surprisingly, boating is one of the leading causes of carbon monoxide poisoning, and exposure can occur in numerous ways. Your boat may have a blocked exhaust pipe that causes the carbon monoxide to reenter the cabin. Or, it can have a defective design, allowing carbon monoxide to leak in.

Cars can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. While some deaths are the result of suicide, one can also be injured unintentionally by carbon dioxide. Specifically, there can be a defect in the exhaust system or a leak in the exhaust pipe that funnels the carbon monoxide into the car. Since the car is a closed space, the driver can suffer a critical injury within minutes.

How Landlords Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Nobody should ever suffer a carbon monoxide injury when living in a rented property. The landlord must provide reasonably safe premises and act responsibly to maintain the property.

First, a landlord needs to inspect and maintain the appliances in a residence periodically, and if there are any maintenance issues, they should take care of them immediately. Landlords should pay specific attention to ventilation on critical appliances in the house.

Second, the landlord must also provide you with a working carbon monoxide detector and should inspect and test it periodically to ensure that it works properly. 

Defendants in a Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit

You can hold the following responsible for your carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Landlords
  • Property owners
  • Lessees who are in control of the property 
  • Hotels
  • Repairers who were supposed to maintain an appliance
  • The installer

There may be more than one party to blame for the accident, and you can then file a lawsuit that names all the responsible parties. Your attorney will perform a full investigation of the carbon monoxide poisoning to learn who may be liable for your injuries, and the court will determine the percentage of your recovery each party owes you.

The legal theory you use to make your case depends on who was to blame for the injury. If you are suing a landlord or a hotel owner, you will sue under a premises liability legal theory.

In premises liability law, you sue for an injury you sustained while on another person's property. The property owner, or the person in control of the property, owes you a duty of care and must provide you with reasonably safe premises.

If you sue because a specific appliance was defective, you will file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or the seller.

You will need to prove that a product had defects in:

  • Manufacturing
  • Design
  • Marketing

Product liability lawsuits can lead to large jury verdicts when you can prove your case at trial.

Proving Liability in a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuit

In many cases, you will rely on the testimony of an expert witness to prove the cause of the carbon monoxide leak and to show that the defendant failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. The expert will describe how the leak happened, causing a victim's exposure to carbon monoxide.

Your lawyer may also use an accident report (although a police report may not be admissible in court).

You will also need to show that you suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, and your lawyer may use blood tests and medical records to prove your condition.

Damages in a Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit

If you can prove that someone else was to blame for your' or a loved one's carbon monoxide poisoning, you are legally entitled to receive compensation for total damages.

In any personal injury case, your damages break down into the following two categories:

  • Economic damages cover the financial losses you have suffered, whether money you had to spend or what you could not earn.
  • Non-economic damages compensate you for the ordeal that you are enduring, including your physical pain and other effects of the accident.

It is possible to get punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit; however, it is rare. If you can show that the landlord egregiously failed to inspect apartments and respond to maintenance issues, you may have a better chance of getting punitive damages.

If your loved one passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning, your family will file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Given the magnitude of your loss, your compensation may be considerable.

Wrongful death compensation will include:

  • The income that the deceased person would have earned for the rest of their career
  • The grief and trauma that the family has suffered from the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one
  • The loss of the close, loving relationship that the family had with the deceased person
  • The loss of the guidance and support that the loved one provided

In some cases, there may be more than one person who died. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit for each person.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a Carbon Monoxide Case?

When filing a carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit, you usually deal with an insurance company or a large corporation. Either way, you are against some legal firepower and an apparatus designed to reduce or eliminate your compensation, and you need help to take them on. At the same time, you want to try to maximize your financial compensation in any personal injury case.

The first thing that your lawyer will do is investigate the accident. They will gather some of the sources of evidence described above as they seek to compile the necessary proof for someone else to be held liable.

Before you can file a claim or lawsuit, you need to know the amount of your damages so you know what to request from the jury. The starting point of how much you deserve is essential because you may get too little for your damages without it.

Your lawyer's job is to fight for you to get as much as possible through whatever necessary means, and they may start by filing a lawsuit on your behalf. Eventually, your lawyer may negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement agreement, and if this is unsuccessful, your lawyer must present your case in court.

Carbon monoxide cases can be complex, particularly when your lawyer argues how the leak occurred and who should be held responsible. You need someone with experience in this area of law to present the most compelling case on your behalf.

It does not cost you anything out of your pocket to get an experienced carbon monoxide attorney working for you. Any personal injury lawyer receives a percentage of your financial recovery if you can get one. Until then, you do not have to write a check to your lawyer for their services, and you do not need to pay them if you do not win your case.

What to Expect from Your Free Consultation with an Injury Lawyer Regarding a Possible Carbon Monoxide Case

During a free consultation with a personal injury attorney regarding a potential carbon monoxide case, you can expect a comprehensive discussion that helps assess the viability of your claim.

Here's what to anticipate:

Paula A. Wyatt, personal injury attorney at Wyatt Law Firm.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyer, Paula A. Wyatt
  • Case Evaluation: The lawyer will review the details of your situation, including the circumstances surrounding the carbon monoxide exposure. Providing a thorough account of the incident, symptoms experienced, and any evidence available will aid in the lawyer's initial assessment.
  • Discussion of Damages: Your lawyer will discuss the damages you may be entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any long-term consequences of the carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Legal Fees and Contingency Arrangements: The lawyer will discuss their fee structure during the consultation. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they only receive payment if they secure a settlement or win the case in court.
    Client Questions and Concerns: The consultation allows you to ask questions and address any concerns you may have. It's essential to openly communicate with the attorney to clearly understand the legal process and potential outcomes.
    Client-Attorney Compatibility: The consultation is also a chance to assess whether you feel comfortable working with the attorney. A good attorney-client relationship is built on trust, communication, and a shared commitment to pursuing justice.

By the end of the free consultation, you should have a clearer understanding of the strengths and challenges of your potential carbon monoxide case, the legal options available to you, and the next steps in pursuing a claim.

Seek your free case evaluation with a carbon monoxide lawyer today.


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