Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Invisible, Dangerous, and Preventable
You can Hold Negligent Parties Accountable after Suffering from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Pennsylvania. We can Help.
There are a lot of dangers in our everyday comings and goings: accidents, acts of nature, violence, and illness all place us in harm’s way at one time or another. But at least those dangers can be perceived with our senses, allowing us to avoid them. That is not the case when it comes to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for a staggering 20,446 emergency room visits across the country. Of those, more than 3,000 patients were hospitalized, approximately 915 were treated in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), and there were 488 deaths, making carbon monoxide poisoning the leading cause of unintentional poisoning in the U.S., excluding fire-related inhalation deaths.
The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning stem from two sources. The fact that it is odorless and colorless makes detection impossible without the correct devices. Victims can be poisoned before knowing they have been exposed to toxic fumes. Secondly, once symptoms start, the amount of exposure is hard to determine, and patients are either under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed completely.
Common Symptoms of CO Poisoning in Newton, PA
As mentioned before, part of the challenge in diagnosing CO poisoning is the symptoms. They are relatively common in many mild illnesses, and what helps doctors diagnose CO poisoning is talking to the patient about their environment just before falling ill. If a patient is unconscious, determining the cause is much more difficult. Mild symptoms of CO poisoning include but are not limited to fatigue, dizziness, severe headache, nausea, and shortness of breath. Serious symptoms are impaired vision-hearing, impaired judgment or memory, vomiting, loss of muscle coordination, and drowsiness. The most severe symptoms are unstable vital signs, cerebral edema (water retention in the skull), hallucinations, coma, and death by heart attack or stroke. Children in utero can suffer from stillbirth, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) up to 4 weeks after birth, and behavioral issues.
Carbon Monoxide Sources You Could be Exposed to
Carbon monoxide is created by anything which burns fuel, and if that fuel is burned inside a structure where the ventilation is poor, overexposure can result. Vehicles left running in the garage, oil or gas furnaces, gas stoves, generators, water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces are all sources of CO gas.
Many professions can expose employees to possible CO poisoning. Welders, garage mechanics, firefighters, diesel engine operators, toll booth workers, police officers, and taxi drivers all suffer the additional risk of exposure because of their work environments.
Most Typical Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A frequent cause of carbon monoxide poisoning happens when vehicles are left running for an extended period. Trapped in snow, drivers are tempted to keep warm by keeping their car running. If the exhaust system is clogged by snow or ice, the toxic fumes will travel into the vehicle. Cold winter mornings that require warming up the car means leaving the car running in the garage, and even if the garage door is open, it can cause CO poisoning.
The most frequent causes happen in the home. Many people use a gasoline-driven generator to keep things running during a power outage. The generator should never be kept running inside the house. Using a gas stove to heat the home is another dangerous mistake, as is grilling with charcoal inside (even in the garage with the garage door ajar). Using a fireplace without annual maintenance is another cause of CO poisoning in the home. Chimneys and flues can get blocked by debris, causing the gas to go back down. Gas appliances such as clothes dryers and water heaters must be inspected every year. Portable gas camping stoves are meant to be used outside only because they give off toxic fumes.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in PA?
Responsibility for CO poisoning depends on how and when it takes place. Workers exposed to CO because of improper working conditions or equipment can hold their employers accountable for negligence. A business where customers are affected by a CO leak can also be sued for medical costs, permanent health issues, or wrongful death. Companies that manufacture stoves, camping equipment, generators, and other fossil-fuel-burning appliances are responsible for defective products that cause CO leaks. Apartment buildings with cracks in pipes and ventilation systems, faulty boilers, or water heaters leave tenants at risk. Hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and other businesses that neglect to keep their premises safe, are also liable. Also, repair, installation, and maintenance companies can unwittingly cause damage to property and release CO gas.
Pennsylvania law requires CO detectors in central locations, individual apartments, and other residences such as assisted living and long-term care facilities. Failure to do so can result in fines and a lawsuit if there is an accident. In the case of a multi-family dwelling, the tenants are responsible for the upkeep of the detector, checking the batteries, and keeping it active.
Contact our Bensalem and Philadelphia, PA Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyers for a Free Consultation Today
A lawyer can help you recover lost wages, loss of quality of life, lost wages, and money for your medical bills. What is important is to have a solid diagnosis, which isn’t easy. Many of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu, so diagnosis can be tricky. Your attorney can investigate the causes of your accident, requesting assistance from specialists who will serve as expert witnesses for you. The most vital asset that you have is a lawyer whose experience and tenacity will give you the representation you deserve.
Contact our Pennsylvania Personal Injury firm if you or someone you know have suffered from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning to explore your possible scenarios to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We can assist with investigating your potential claim and ensure you have skilled representation if you eventually file an injury lawsuit. Our lawyers have proven experience handling all personal injury matters, which is one of the reasons people across the state look for our professional services. We have helped clients in Croydon, Bristol, Buckingham, Tacony, and places throughout Northeast Philadelphia & Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.