San Antonio Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorneys
In Texas, the law requires daycare centers, apartment buildings, and family homes to have carbon monoxide detectors. Many other states and municipalities have similar laws.
But some property owners do not equip their premises with detectors or keep them in working order. In other instances, carbon monoxide detectors are present but are defective and fail to detect this poisonous gas.
If you or a loved one has been poisoned by carbon monoxide because a defective carbon monoxide detector failed to detect the gas, or if there was an improperly installed detector in your building, you have rights.
Call Wyatt Law Firm at (210) 340-5550 for a free consultation. Let our carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers help you pursue the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled. We represent people throughout Texas and the nation from our offices in San Antonio.
WE ARE DETERMINED TO WIN
Our property owner negligence attorneys have experience representing people who suffered poisoning by carbon monoxide. We have the technical resources and advocacy skills to bring your claim to a satisfactory conclusion. We have obtained substantial results for victims of negligence and achieved landmark results. Utilizing decades of legal experience, aggressive litigation skills, and a team approach, we seek the best possible result for every client.
Our firm obtained $2,063,448 for a child who suffered a brain injury due to carbon monoxide poisoning in a hotel. While this example doesn’t guarantee your case a specific result, it demonstrates our commitment to achieving high settlement values and compassionate service to our clients.
Wyatt Law Firm will stand by you, working hard to help you get the medical care and compensation you need.
CARBON MONOXIDE—A SILENT AND INVISIBLE KILLER
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by gas appliances and other devices that operate by combustion. Essentially, it is what happens when oil or some other fuel gets burned in something like an engine, gas stove, or appliance. It is not a naturally occurring substance but occurs as part of a reaction.
Carbon monoxide kills an average of 430 people across the country every year. Between 15,000-20,000 will visit emergency rooms after being sickened by the substance. Because you cannot see or smell carbon monoxide, people may not know until it is too late that they have taken ill. Many of these people suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence.
Carbon monoxide poisoning happens most often in the winter when people use heaters in their homes. Generally, things that produce heat can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, including:
- Space heaters
- Portable generators
- Kerosene heaters
Carbon monoxide poisoning will often result from a malfunctioning piece of equipment and inadequate ventilation. Even if carbon monoxide is escaping, it will not injure someone if there is adequate ventilation to get the air out of the room.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The side effects of poisoning can include tissue damage, brain injury, cardiac complications, brain and heart failure, and even death. Other symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Weakness or fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- General flu-like symptoms
Types of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Acute poisoning is a poisoning that doctors learn about right after it happens. This is when the person has sudden exposure to a large amount of carbon monoxide. This can cause headaches. In more severe cases, it may cause cardiac events. Over time, the person can experience neurological side effects.
- Chronic poisoning results from a steady but lower exposure over a prolonged time. The patient stands a better chance of making a full recovery once the exposure to the carbon monoxide ceases. Usually, this will make pre-existing conditions worse. This can happen when there is a very slow leak. This is more of a low-grade condition, but it can still pose long-term risks.
- Fatal poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide steadily builds up in the bloodstream and causes irreversible tissue damage. If the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough, the person can die in as little as five minutes. There is little time to treat or rescue the victim.
In severe cases, carbon monoxide will lead to death. The risk of death can be between one and 31 percent. Even those who survive the exposure can suffer serious long-term injuries. This can impact the victim for the rest of their lives, leading to serious costs for their families and a diminished quality of life.
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the leading cause of injury and death by poisoning worldwide, with about 40,000 people treated in the U.S. annually. Mild carbon monoxide poisoning may allow the victim to fully recover without long-lasting side effects, though people with moderate to severe poisoning may never fully recover.
While many are familiar with the immediate effects of being poisoned by carbon monoxide, many are not so familiar with the long-term effects experienced by survivors. Carbon monoxide damages areas of the body that require oxygen, particularly the brain.
Brain damage occurs days to weeks later in half of the patients with a moderate to a serious case of carbon monoxide poisoning. Severe poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage, as well as physical, mental, and behavioral changes. These permanent neurological side effects may also be accompanied by vision changes, heart problems, muscular weaknesses, and many other debilitating and life-changing physical changes.
If you’ve suffered exposure to carbon monoxide due to someone’s negligence, contact a carbon monoxide lawyer at Wyatt Law Firm. Our team is experienced in handling these types of personal injury lawsuits and can provide you with the support you need to obtain compensation.
RECOVERING DAMAGES IN YOUR CARBON MONOXIDE LAWSUIT
If you suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to someone’s negligence, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. The losses incurred by being exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning can be immeasurably difficult to live with and require legal action to attain the financial recourse necessary to attempt to compensate for them. Individual losses may vary greatly; some of the greatest among them may be the loss of a loved one, permanent disability, loss of income, ability to work, and ability to conduct basic motor functions and engage in everyday physical activities.
If you succeed in your case, you may receive:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs to treat the injury
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Every loss one potentially can experience from CO poisoning is also a basis for recovery in the legal context, as long as you have the right attorney by your side.
WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS AFTER FATAL CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Texas law allows families to file a lawsuit when their loved one passes away due to negligence. Many carbon monoxide cases are filed as wrongful death lawsuits.
Claims resulting from a fatal carbon monoxide poisoning incident aim to compensate surviving family members for the tragic losses they suffered. If your lawyer can prove that their loved one died because of someone else’s negligence, they can receive:
- The lost earning capacity from the deceased
- The loss of emotional support that the deceased would have provided
- The mental pain and anguish suffered by the family
- The lost love, care, and companionship
If the injury and death were preventable and were the proximate result of the negligence of the defendant, family members and dependents of the victim may be able to receive compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Benefits available for wrongful death can vary by state, but most statutes allow primary beneficiaries to claim financial damages following the preventable death of a spouse, child, or parent.
Generally, a carbon monoxide poisoning claim for wrongful death may include compensation for the financial consequences of the death, such as lost earnings or lost financial support. Claims can also seek financial recovery for non-economic damages, such as mental anguish, lasting emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, protection, comfort, advice, counsel, training, education, or guidance, and other support that the victim provided to family before his or her death. Spouses can also add a loss of consortium claim to a wrongful death case.
If there is no surviving spouse, parent, or child, wrongful death claims may be available in some states for certain secondary beneficiaries who were financially dependent on the family member who died. Discuss whether you might have a viable claim with a San Antonio carbon monoxide attorney.
HOLDING PROPERTY OWNERS LIABLE FOR CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
When tragedy strikes, Wyatt Law Firm goes into action. Our team of lawyers acts quickly to initiate legal action, identify the cause of the accident, and document the liability of all responsible parties. In a carbon monoxide poisoning case that occurs in a rental property or apartment, these can include the building owner, landlord, property manager, manufacturer of the gas-fueled furnace or appliance, or a company that installed or serviced the equipment.
These parties all have a legal obligation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. But when they fail in this duty, people can die or suffer permanent disabling injuries. If you or a family member has suffered harm as the result of a building owner’s negligence, we will fight for you.
Some examples of negligence that could lead to a carbon monoxide leak include:
- Not installing a carbon monoxide detector in the unit as is required by local law
- Failure to properly maintain the appliance that had the carbon monoxide leak. In general, a landlord has a legal obligation to provide tenants with a habitable premise. Their failure to do so can be both negligence and a violation of the lease.
- Not following local health and safety codes
WHEN SOMEONE VIOLATES CO DETECTOR LAWS.
Many states and cities require landlords and owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in rentals. Often, these laws also require landlords to maintain the detectors in working order and to replace them when necessary. Some statutes explicitly state that violators are liable for a victim’s injuries without the need for the injured person to prove carelessness or negligence.
WHEN SOMEONE VIOLATES HEALTH AND SAFETY CODES.
City and state health and safety codes exist for a reason. There are many health and safety codes to follow that pertain to carbon monoxide and preventing incidents of poisoning. Such codes include rules about certain types of ventilation for gases like CO or the regular maintenance of fireplaces or other carbon monoxide gas-producing appliances. Codes often call for the regular maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors.
In any event, failure to abide by these codes can lead to liability for a homeowner or landlord should this negligence lead to a renter or house guest becoming ill with carbon monoxide poisoning. In some areas, negligence per se can become a factor in a claim when property owners fail to follow these health and safety codes relevant to CO poisoning.
WHEN THE LANDLORD FAILS TO UPHOLD A PROMISE.
This simply refers to the landlord failing to uphold a promise to, say, check and make sure a CO monitor was functioning properly or that certain means of ventilation in the property were up-to-date. In general, the landlord has a legal obligation to provide the tenant with a habitable premise. Their failure to do so can be both negligence and a violation of the lease.
NEGLECT OF MAINTENANCE
Almost every state recognizes the implied warranty of habitability, which courts and judges incorporate into residential lease law and laws relating to the transfer of real property or houses. This warranty requires that landlords provide tenants with rentals that meet basic health and safety standards. As such, landlords have a duty to ensure that they address and remove all potential hazards relating to CO poisoning so that a renter can be free from that risk.
WHEN A HOTEL FAILS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF GUESTS
Hotels ought to prioritize the safety of their guests. However, they sometimes fail to properly maintain furnaces and water heaters. The result can be carbon monoxide poisoning, causing brain injury, death, and needless heartache for unsuspecting victims and their families. Such harm should not happen if hotel owners and hotel management companies properly maintain their equipment.
In sum, should a person suffer injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning, a facility’s owner, landlord, manufacturer, or other professional could face liability for the leak causing overexposure if he or she failed to protect guests, renters, and others. A carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer can help you identify a responsible party or parties and pursue legal remedies in your best interest.
FINDING THE RIGHT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING LAWYERS
The Wyatt Law Firm is the right place to come if you find yourself in need of a carbon monoxide personal injury attorney. Our firm has substantial experience litigating in this area. We also have connections to experts who can help determine fault or negligence in your case.
We have a track record of obtaining results for our clients, providing them with the compensation they need to help rectify the injustice they suffered. Our firm works with nationally recognized toxicologists with specialized knowledge of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as engineers knowledgeable in appliance design and maintenance.
Essentially, we at the Wyatt Law Firm have all the resources to make your case, prove fault and negligence, and come away with a favorable settlement or judgment to help you get what you deserve. Our San Antonio carbon monoxide lawyers will work diligently to build a strong and successful case for you, and all you need to do is contact us.
HOW WYATT LAW FIRM CAN HELP YOU WIN
The most common type of carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit will involve a premises’ liability claim. To win this case, your lawyer will need to prove:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached the duty by acting unreasonably under the circumstance
- You suffered an injury
- You would not have suffered injuries had it not been for the acts or omissions of the defendant
If you have suffered harm due to carbon monoxide poisoning, Wyatt Law Firm will go to work for you. You and your family deserve nothing less. Our team of skilled carbon monoxide attorneys will:
- Investigate the incident and how it happened. They may then inspect any maintenance logs to see if the property owner maintained the gas-burning equipment properly.
- Cast a wide net to identify all defendants. You will not want to leave anyone out. Your attorney can help ensure that you’re able to collect what you’re owed from the right parties.
- Show liability and refute potential defenses. A property owner may try to exploit gray areas. Most of all, they may try to argue that the poisoning victim was responsible for their own injury
You need a lawyer who can help tell your side of the story and hold the defendant accountable for their actions. The important part is figuring out who was responsible for your or your loved one’s injury. Your attorney can figure out the right person to sue in your case.
WHEN IMPROPERLY MAINTAINED APPLIANCES AND FURNACES CAUSE INJURY
Improperly maintained gas furnaces and appliances are a major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning cases in the U.S. Liable parties in such cases can include the manufacturer of the equipment, a parts manufacturer, the company that installed or serviced the equipment, or the owner or management company of an apartment building or hotel.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is not just limited to premises liability. There has been a recent increase in carbon monoxide poisoning in automobiles. New designs, such as push-button cars, increase the risks that drivers could inadvertently leave their cars on for an extended time, generating carbon monoxide when they are in confined spaces. When that happens, you may have a product liability lawsuit against the company that designed and made the car and the dealer who sold it. Product liability can include negligence factors such as:
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- The failure to warn of problems about which the manufacturer knows
Having successfully represented people in numerous carbon monoxide cases, we know what it takes to get results. Our firm works with nationally recognized toxicologists with specialized knowledge of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as engineers knowledgeable in appliance design and maintenance. We will work diligently to build a strong and successful case for you.
To win a product liability lawsuit, your lawyer will need to prove:
- You suffered an injury
- The product that you used was defective
- The defect was the cause of your injury
- You used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way
Product liability lawsuits are very evidence-intensive, and they require an experienced attorney with specific knowledge of these cases. Automakers might vigorously contest product liability cases given their possible legal liability, so you need an attorney who has the skill and toughness to take on large corporate interests.
In addition, you need a lawyer who has the skill and know-how to investigate carbon monoxide poisoning cases. These are not always the easiest cases to get to the bottom of because you are dealing with an invisible and odorless gas. It is a tall task for any attorney, so you need one with experience in these types of cases.
CARBON MONOXIDE FAQ
HOW DO DOCTORS DIAGNOSE CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?
The first way that doctors will diagnose carbon monoxide poisoning is to take a blood sample to look for traces of the substance. However, carbon monoxide poisoning is not always the first thing that doctors suspect when a patient presents symptoms.
Moreover, the half-life of carboxyhemoglobin (the item that is used in blood tests to determine if there was carbon monoxide poisoning) is extremely short. Often, by the time blood is drawn, the levels are down to normal. This costs doctors valuable treatment time that could help prevent long-term symptoms.
IS THERE TREATMENT FOR CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?
Treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning includes normobaric oxygen therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, both of which administer 100 percent oxygen to the patient. Inundating with oxygen increases the speed at which the body processes and excretes deadly carboxyhemoglobin from the blood. Severe CO poisoning cases may also require life support and intensive care.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR GOES OFF?
Get out and get to fresh air immediately! Do not assume it is a false alarm! Once you and your family are safe, call the fire department and have them test for carbon monoxide levels in the house. If you present symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (such as headache, fatigue, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms), seek medical attention right away!
WHAT DO I DO IF MY SMOKE DETECTOR GOES OFF BUT THERE’S NO FIRE?
Many smoke detectors double as carbon monoxide detectors, so get out of the house right away! Do not assume it is a false alarm, since carbon monoxide is an extremely toxic gas that only special sensors can detect. Call the fire department and have them test the house for carbon monoxide concentrations. Seek medical attention if you present symptoms of CO poisoning, and do not reenter the house until they clear it.
CAN YOU GET CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING IN A HOTEL?
Many carbon monoxide poisonings occur in hotels that use fuel-burning appliances such as gas-powered furnaces, boilers, and pool heaters. Older hotels are common places for carbon monoxide poisoning, as neglected and malfunctioning appliances emit the lethal gas carbon monoxide that leaks into nearby hotel rooms. Always take a portable carbon monoxide detector with you when you travel, and get out of the building to fresh air if it goes off.
DOES MY LANDLORD HAVE TO INSTALL CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS?
As of April 2018, Texas state law mandates that landlords must install carbon monoxide alarms in apartment buildings and other residential properties that have both sleeping areas and fuel-burning appliances. Gas-burning appliances and improper use of fuel-burning products can cause the deadly gas carbon monoxide to collect in your home, and a carbon monoxide detector can warn you of the invisible danger. Even if your landlord refuses to install carbon monoxide detectors, you should install them yourself. They save lives and are an investment in your security.
DO I HAVE TO INSTALL CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS?
Depending on the building code in your area, you may be required to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. You should purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, whether required by the building code in your area or not. Many newer homes are built with carbon monoxide detectors already installed, but it is crucial to maintain them, as their average lifespan is only a few years.
ARE THERE PEOPLE WITH HIGHER RISK FACTORS FOR CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?
Usually, children and the elderly are most at risk of being sickened. Then, people who have existing respiratory conditions or cardiovascular disease may be more affected than others.
HOW MUCH IS MY CARBON MONOXIDE LAWSUIT WORTH?
While we recovered over $2 million in the case mentioned above, your actual recovery will depend on the extent of your damages. Of course, if someone died from the poisoning, chances are that the damages would be higher. If your loved one suffered severe injuries, they could also qualify for a larger settlement or jury award.
Know that there may be some significant costs associated with long-term carbon monoxide poisoning. The fact that it could result in oxygen deprivation means that some victims could suffer permanent brain damage. Being unable to work may be the least of their problems, as they could require round-the-clock care.
CAN I AFFORD A LAWYER?
At Wyatt Law Firm, our attorneys handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. The outcome of the case will determine whether your attorney gets paid. They receive a percentage of your proceeds if you are successful, but will not send you a bill for their services if you are not.
You have nothing to risk by scheduling a free consultation with one of our lawyers to find out how we might help you obtain the compensation that will cover your attorney’s fees in addition to your financial and general losses.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY
Contact Wyatt Law Firm by calling (210) 340-5550. We handle carbon monoxide poisoning cases throughout Texas and the U.S. from our offices in San Antonio.
Excellent knowledge from all staff aspects. Paula knows how to work in her clients corner and she brings so much experience and energy to make sure her clients are treated fair. She helped fight with Tricare on my husbands behalf and she will not stop fighting until the client is happy. My husband won his case with her and her staff. I highly recommend if you need someone to listen and go fight for you let this Lady do the work. Gabby is a great asset and kept my husband very informed during the whole process. They deserve more than 5 stars.
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC
21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10
San Antonio, Texas 78218