Winter weather in Wisconsin means that we enter the peak period of danger from carbon monoxide exposure. As a service to readers, our wrongful death attorneys in Wausau present this summary of the risks.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion. Though undetectable by humans, it can produce serious health problems and even death.
How does carbon monoxide poisoning happen?
Carbon monoxide is produced anytime a fuel such as wood, coal, charcoal, fuel oil, kerosene, or natural gas is incompletely burned. Sources of carbon monoxide gas include woodstoves, space heaters, furnaces, gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces, cigarette smoke, and even cars. Most carbon monoxide poisonings in Wisconsin occur in winter, not only because heating sources are more likely to be used during this time, but also because homes and buildings are closed up.
Causes of Wintertime Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Wisconsin
- A furnace, heater or stove is improperly installed or has defective parts.
- A furnace, stove or heater is not properly maintained or is repaired incorrectly.
- There is no outside vent for a heating source.
- The outside vent for a heater or furnace gets blocked with snow or ice.
- A chimney for a fireplace or woodstove gets clogged with debris or covered in snow and ice.
- A generator is used without adequate ventilation.
- A charcoal grill is used for indoor cooking.
- A car is left to warm up in a closed garage.
- Snow or ice is blocking the tailpipe of a car that was left running.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
When carbon monoxide enters the body, it takes the place of oxygen. Since cells need oxygen to live, they begin to die.
The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can feel a like the flu or even food poisoning. Victims don’t usually realize that something is seriously wrong. Within minutes the initial nausea and dizziness can give way to headaches and vomiting, fatigue, breathing difficulties, confusion, disorientation, chest pain, lack of coordination, heart problems, increased blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. However, it is possible for a victim to become unconscious without experiencing any other symptoms.
It is important that anyone exposed to carbon monoxide get outdoors and into fresh air right away. If a Wisconsin carbon monoxide poisoning victim does not get immediate treatment, he may suffer brain damage or even death.
Is a carbon monoxide death a wrongful death?
Not every Wisconsin carbon monoxide death is a wrongful death, but some deaths are. Hotels, restaurants, offices, stores and other businesses are required to meet certain guidelines in order to provide a safe place for the public. This includes insuring proper ventilation.
Manufacturers have a similar duty to ensure products are safe. Builders must build homes and businesses with proper ventilation. Repair companies must properly train their employees so appliances aren’t left in a condition that can cause harm. A manufacturer, contractor, landlord, business, or builder may be held liable if their actions or negligence cause a carbon monoxide death.
If you lost a loved one to carbon monoxide poisoning, our Wausau based wrongful death attorneys will be able to determine the cause of the death and who is responsible. They will find evidence to support your Wisconsin wrongful death claim, so you can get the justice and accountability that you and your family deserve.
Compensation for families for carbon monoxide wrongful death may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss income
- Loss of care
- Loss of companionship
- Other damages
There is a three year statute of limitations for Wausau carbon monoxide poisoning cases. This means that you and your family must file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the poisoning or you lose your right to sue. For this reason, if you have lost a loved one to carbon monoxide poisoning you are urged to contact our Wisconsin wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible even if you are not sure that you have a claim. For more information, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678