Every year, an average of 400 people die due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Some of these fatalities occur in the home. Others happen while a person is staying somewhere unfamiliar, like a hotel. Often these deaths occur in the winter months when the heat is on. In some cases, there is no carbon monoxide detector present, and in other cases, the carbon monoxide detector is faulty and fails to sound an alarm.
Regardless, carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat to anyone who goes to sleep in a dwelling with closed windows and a heat source that produces carbon monoxide gas. This is especially common in wood or charcoal-burning stoves, as well as gas and propane heaters, all of which are most active in the cold weather months. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also be present for those who leave their car running in the garage without the garage door open. This is one of the most common scenarios that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning fatalities.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is most commonly produced by burning gasoline, propane, wood, or charcoal to heat a home or even to boil water on the stove. Incorrectly ventilated appliances could contribute to high levels of carbon monoxide. If these high levels of carbon monoxide accumulate in a poorly ventilated space, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases.
Common signs that a person is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- General lethargy
- Blurry vision
- A dull headache
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
Even though some of the signs of carbon monoxide might not seem alarming, it is important to remember that carbon monoxide poisoning is a dangerous and potentially deadly threat that can escalate quickly.
Why Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Often Deadly?
Carbon monoxide gas is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, making it difficult to identify without experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the main reasons that carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to a fatality is that many people experience it when they are asleep at night. During the day, people are active and not as likely to spend all of their time in the house or room where a carbon monoxide buildup is present. Even opening the door can help to diffuse the buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
Additionally, people who are exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning when they are awake are much more likely to identify the symptoms and seek help. Because carbon monoxide poisoning can cause weakness and a loss of consciousness, those who are already asleep are less likely to wake up and take action. In these situations, people pass away in their sleep, unaware they were ever in life-threatening danger.
What to Do if You Believe You Have Experienced Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to organ failure and even death. If you believe that you or someone in your home has experienced carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately open as many doors and windows as you can to let in fresh air. Even if the outside temperature is below freezing, it is essential to bring clean air into your home to dilute the carbon monoxide. Cleansing your house of carbon monoxide is the first step.
After opening doors and windows to circulate fresh air throughout the house, it is essential to call emergency services for help. Although some might be tempted to drive themselves to the hospital, the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to disorientation or a lack of consciousness, dangerous for those behind the wheel of a car. Call for help and explain the situation. The first responders will arrive on the scene and take the necessary precautions to bring you and anyone else who might have been exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning to safety.
When your doctor has completed their examination, it is important to make sure that you follow their suggestions for next steps and any required additional treatments that will help you recover.
When you return to your home or the place that you experienced the carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to check and see if a carbon monoxide detector was present. If there was not, you will want to get one as soon as possible. If there was, and the device seems to be working correctly, you should speak to an attorney to learn more about your legal rights around product liability.
Reach out to a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorney Right Away
Carbon monoxide poisoning often results in fatalities for those who are unknowingly exposed to the gas. If someone you know has been killed or injured due to carbon monoxide poisoning, determining what steps to take can be incredibly difficult. Working with a knowledgeable Michigan personal injury lawyer can make the entire process much easier.
Our Michigan injury lawyers understand the depth of pain involved in losing a friend or family member to carbon monoxide poisoning, and we are dedicated to helping our clients gain just compensation. We offer a free initial consultation to review the details of your situation and propose the next best steps.
Call us today at (888) 454-0801 to set up your initial consultation, or contact us online to learn more. We are ready to help, so don’t delay. Reach out to our carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers as soon as possible.