The injury or death of a loved one due to carbon monoxide poisoning can be devastating in its senselessness. Family members are often left wondering who or what is to blame. The experienced New York lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, may help you find answers. We may also help you get full and fair compensation from the at-fault party so you can focus on healing rather than on stressful financial and legal matters.
For a free, informative consultation, please call us today at (212) 986-7353. You may also fill out an online contact form or visit our office in the Graybar Building.
Carbon monoxide is commonly referred to as the "silent killer," as carbon monoxide fumes are odorless, tasteless, and colorless. It can be hard to pinpoint carbon monoxide as the source of a poisoning for this reason.
As the family member of a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, you want to identify what was responsible for the poisoning incident. An attorney with our firm can conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of your loved one.
If the incident occurred in the victim's home, we may find that a faulty product, such as a heater, stove, or other appliance that uses gas directly contributed to the poisoning. Combined with inadequate ventilation, a gas leak can easily go unnoticed and end up killing people nearby. In this case, the manufacturer of the faulty appliance may be sued for distributing such a dangerous product to consumers.
If the incident occurred on another's property, a New York premises liability lawsuit may be brought against the property owner. The owner of a premises has the duty to maintain a safe environment for all visitors, whether it is a home, business, or office. If a gas leak in a premises goes unrepaired and causes a death, the property owner can be held liable for an act of negligence.
Whatever the case, our legal team will gather the necessary evidence to establish your claim, including medical reports, witness statements, and expert testimony.
Approximately 170 people die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products in the United States - CPSC
While exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal, lower levels of exposure can cause acute poisoning and seriously impact a person's health. Acute poisoning refers to serious short-term exposure to carbon monoxide that quickly brings about symptoms of illness. There are three degrees of acute poisoning depending on how much exposure a person has had. These are:
- Mild: In cases of mild poisoning, a person typically experiences only slight discomfort, though this can be accompanied by a headache and nausea. In extreme cases, vomiting may also occur, but more serious effects are rare. Because of this, mild carbon monoxide poisoning is very rarely diagnosed correctly, unless there is already a suspicion of exposure.
- Moderate: In more serious cases of carbon monoxide exposure, the initial symptoms continue and often worsen, with increased nausea and dizziness, as well as a general feeling of weakness or fatigue. Someone with this level of poisoning may have difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly. Physical symptoms can include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or chest pains, along with drowsiness.
- Severe: Severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning that do not result in death can still have very serious implications. At this level there is often some sort of brain damage, which can cause seizures or result in a coma.
Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning refers to long-term exposure to lower levels of carbon monoxide, which can be very difficult to recognize and diagnose. Chronic exposure often manifests in ways similar to mild and moderate exposure, including symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue, weakness, difficulty with concentration, and changes in mood.
One of the best ways to identify this type of exposure is to notice when the symptoms develop and disappear. For example, if someone feels light-headed and nauseated every day while at home, but fine while at work, there may be a carbon monoxide leak in that person's home. This type of low-level exposure may not cause permanent effects, but it can lead to brain injuries due to lack of oxygen.
The best way to handle carbon monoxide poisoning is to prevent it in the first place. Homes and businesses should be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors that are in good working order. Anyone who may be exposed to carbon monoxide at the job must be supplied with ventilators and other safety equipment to avoid chronic, acute, or deadly exposure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards regarding how much carbon monoxide is allowed in any work area. Anything beyond that requires proper safety equipment. This is especially important for businesses in which routine exposure is likely, such as repair shops where vehicles are running for extended periods of time, or for workers who fix heaters and similar equipment. It is also worth noting that smokers are exposed to carbon monoxide every time they smoke a cigarette, so they may be more susceptible to severe symptoms from low-level exposure.
In New York, only the personal representative of the deceased person's estate can file a wrongful death claim. However, the deceased person's heirs, beneficiaries, or devisees may recover damages from the lawsuit. Damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses for the victim's treatment prior to death
- Conscious pain and suffering of the victim prior to death
- Loss of earning capacity, wages and benefit
- Loss of services and parental guidance
A reliable NY personal injury attorney should be able to establish the full extent of damages involved in your case and net you an optimal case outcome.
The pain caused by the poisoning of your loved one may never go away completely; however, if the liable party is brought to justice, no one else will be hurt. Contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, for assistance with your personal injury or wrongful death claim. The sooner we can get started investigating your case, the better.