The inhalation of carbon monoxide can result in death. This gas is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. North Carolina state law requires carbon monoxide detectors to be established in all lodging and rental properties within the state, including bed and breakfasts and hotels.
Claims Management for Difficult Premises Liability Cases
Property owners, landlords, and managers may be negligent if they fail to install carbon monoxide detectors properly. It may be possible for you to recover compensation for your damages if you or someone you know has suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. This includes medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, companionship loss, funeral costs, and more.
Horton & Mendez understands the seriousness of these cases. If you or a loved one have suffered symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, we can help. Obtain the fair compensation and recovery you deserve by filing a premises liability claim against the negligent property owner with the assistance of our attorneys.
All Rental Properties Are at Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A gas range or water heater, chimney, or heating system are among the items in many rental properties that emit carbon monoxide. When these things fail or are not adequately ventilated, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be amassed.
Carbon monoxide could be present in the rental even if there is no source inside. Gas grills and lawn mowers emit pollutants that can float inside. The fumes from running vehicles can also threaten garages without appropriate ventilation. The gas from attached garages can drift into sleeping and living areas, which is especially dangerous.
Inhaling combustion fumes causes carbon monoxide poisoning. It occurs when appliances that burn gas or other fuels are not ventilated properly. A gas-burning furnace confined within a small room may cause carbon monoxide poisoning if it lacks proper ventilation. Fires and cars also radiate carbon monoxide.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
If you or a family member are showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should immediately go outside and call 911 or the poison control center. A person suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should receive immediate medical attention.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Sharp headache
- Vision issues
- Loss of consciousness
The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is always present, but it is extremely hazardous when an individual is asleep, drunk, elderly, or has heart disease, anemia, or breathing difficulties. Carbon monoxide poisoning may not be noticed by such individuals, making them more sensitive to its harmful effects.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risks
More than 400 Americans die every year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not related to fires, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, it accounts for about 20,000 hospital stays and 4,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain damage, tissue injury, heart injury, miscarriage, and death if left untreated.
Responsibilities of the Property Owner Regarding CO
To ensure occupant safety, certain North Carolina property owners must install carbon monoxide detectors inside their buildings. There must be at least one carbon monoxide detector in each rental unit. In contrast, hotel owners and other lodging proprietors must install carbon monoxide detectors in any room, including bedrooms, adjacent to an enclosed space with a fossil fuel-burning appliance.
In either case, the property owner would be considered negligent if you or your loved one succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in a motel without adequate carbon monoxide detectors. It is not your landlord’s responsibility if you fail to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector when you live in an apartment with carbon monoxide detectors.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Rental Properties by Landlords
Ideally, landlords should prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in their rentals. An inexpensive, easy-to-install preventive measure any landlord can take is installing a carbon monoxide detector: they are inexpensive, and many models come with batteries for backup. To ensure they work properly, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up and maintaining battery-powered and plug-in detectors.
It is also important to check your state and local laws-many require landlords to use a specific type of detector, and they may also specify where and how many detectors must be installed.
A helpful online toolkit from the Centers for Disease Control can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning beyond detectors. If landlords have concerns about carbon monoxide in their rental properties, they should consider contacting a local landlord-tenant attorney.
Landlords are not always aware of their carbon monoxide liability. Many factors must be considered and weighed by a jury in these cases.
Assigning relative responsibility requires weighing both parties’ points and considering North Carolina’s comparative or contributory fault law. If the lease required tenants to inform landlords of any necessary repairs immediately, the landlord could have enhanced their prospects of not being found liable in this situation.
When assigning blame, a judge might consider this when a tenant doesn’t act on the landlord’s desire to handle business promptly. It is also important to note that, once the landlord is notified, they should act immediately — for instance, by detaching the appliance while waiting for restorations.
In this case, the landlord’s liability is heavily influenced by what happened and where the tenant filed the lawsuit. Our premises liability injury lawyers can explain the law regarding carbon monoxide exposure to tenants and landlords.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Wilmington, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
A premises liability claim based on the failure of a property owner to install carbon monoxide detectors can be very complicated; you must prove negligence on the part of the property owner and also that you suffered injuries or damages as a consequence of that negligence.
Your right to a fair and just recovery depends on working with an experienced carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer. Contact Horton & Mendez today.
Premises Liability FAQs
Do I need a premises liability lawyer for a rental property injury?
You should contact an attorney immediately if you have suffered injuries because of a dangerous condition on your rental property.
How much does legal representation cost for a premises liability injury?
At Horton & Mendes, we enter into a contingency fee arrangement with all of our personal injury clients. That means that any legal fees we charge will be a percentage of any recovery you obtain.
Will I have to go to court for a personal injury?
That depends, but it is important to keep in mind that very few injury cases end up in court.