How to make a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas which is produced when carbon based fuels such as coal, oil, wood and gas are not burned up completely.
The gas is odourless and colourless which makes it very difficult to detect. As the gas is toxic, if it is inhaled, it can have very serious side-effects and in some cases, exposure can cause death.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning and what are the symptoms?
When carbon monoxide is extremely toxic and therefore harmful. When it is inhaled, it can severely damage the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Without oxygen, the cells and tissue in your body cannot live and will die. This can lead to damage of the blood vessels, swelling in the brain and loss of consciousness.
Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Breathing difficulties
Some less common symptoms which often occur if a person is exposed to a lower level of carbon monoxide over a longer period of time include mood changes, memory loss and mental deterioration.
How does carbon monoxide poisoning occur?
People can be exposed to carbon monoxide at home or at work, through any appliance which burns a carbon based fuel (coal, oil, wood and gas). These appliances may be prone to leaking carbon monoxide over time, which is why you should have regular checks (once a year) to ensure that your appliances are working correctly and are not damaged in any way.
Some examples of appliances which can leak carbon monoxide are:
- Central heating systems
- Car exhaust fumes
- Industrial processes
- Gas heaters
Am I entitled to make a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you can prove that your exposure to carbon monoxide was through no fault of your own, then yes, you may be entitled to make a claim. For example, if you were exposed to the toxic gas at work due to faulty appliances or not being provided with the correct personal protective equipment.
Another example is if you live in rented accommodation and find that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide through a faulty boiler. You may be able to make a claim as it is you landlord’s responsibility to have appliances such as boilers to be checked.
How can I make a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you have developed symptoms which you believe are due to exposure of carbon monoxide, the first thing you should do is seek medical advice to obtain a diagnosis. It is imperative that you see a doctor or other medical professional as soon as symptoms occur, to prevent any further damage.
If a doctor confirms that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide and are suffering with symptoms or illness as a result, then the next step is to determine whether the blame lies with you or someone else.
If you are not to blame for the exposure, you may have a good basis for a personal injury claim and contacting a solicitor is the next step you should take, who will instruct you further and help you in making your claim.