Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyers Columbia MD
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that is odorless, colorless, and potentially lethal. A common byproduct of the combustion of fuels (wood, gasoline, oils, etc.), carbon monoxide sources are varied, numerous and quite common. Chances are good that there is at least one source of CO present in nearly every home in America. With the dangerous nature of CO and specificity of these cases, it’s imperative to hire a skilled and experienced Carbon Monoxide poisoning lawyer in Columbia, MD to handle your case.
The Uniqueness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases
Carbon monoxide poisoning cases are different from any other type of personal injury cases, as they are incredibly difficult to investigate. Plaintiffs need to know precisely when and how they were exposed to the gas. The negligent parties in a case of CO poisoning can include property owners, leasers, contractors, and property management companies.
Discepolo LLP is one of the law firms that has extensive expertise handling these particular cases. Lawyers in our Columbia, Maryland, offices have been resolving cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, and they share their experience with personal injury lawyers throughout our other offices. To date, we have settled hundreds of CO poisoning cases and achieved settlements and verdicts amounting to nearly $75 million.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Because carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, it is nearly impossible to detect without special equipment. Often the first sign victims have is the onset of symptoms. When people inhale carbon monoxide, the gas replaces oxygen in the bloodstream, leading to hypoxia – lack of oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
- Headaches, which are often continuous and concentrated toward the front of the head
- Malaise (a general feeling of wrongness)
- Loss of judgment
Acute CO poisoning is so dangerous, because victims sometimes do not notice these symptoms at all or assign them other meanings. In many cases, it’s not until the gas has already dangerously affected victims that they realize the culprit. Victims simply slip into unconsciousness and succumb without ever knowing there was any danger. If a person notices something is wrong, he or she can prevent CO poisoning from reaching lethal levels.
Aside from the immediate effects of acute carbon monoxide poisoning, there are also effects from exposure to lesser (but still far higher than occurs normally) levels of CO over a long period. These effects range from vision problems, sleep disturbances, impaired memory, and numbness to brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many incredibly common sources, namely anything that burns fuel, produces carbon monoxide. This includes:
- Gasoline-powered vehicles
- Machinery powered by burning fuel
- Fireplaces and charcoal or gas grills
- And various home appliances, including furnaces, gas stoves, gas water heaters, and space heaters.
Despite its many sources, CO isn’t normally a danger, as adequate ventilation keeps it from reaching anywhere near poisonous levels under normal circumstances. CO only becomes a hazard when a room or building lacks proper ventilation or when appliances that produce it are improperly maintained or installed. Improperly maintained or installed furnaces, chimneys, water heaters, etc. can all put out dangerous levels of CO. “Efficiencies” and other types of very small apartments and homes are especially at risk of CO build-up due to their size.
Recent studies suggest carbon monoxide causes damage in other ways than by depriving the body of oxygen. Scientists haven proven that CO has neurotoxic effects because it creates a series of biochemical events. These events create a significant increase in oxidative injury to the structures surrounding blood and lymphatic vessels, nerve cells, and neurons.
Please, if you believe that you or your family has been the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, contact Discepolo LLP immediately. It is important to begin collecting information as close as possible to the circumstance that led to the poisoning. Put our personal injury lawyers to work on your case today.