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Carbon Monoxide poisoning personal injury claims.
Every year, in England and Wales, there are approximately 30 accidental deaths from acute carbon monoxide poisoning, with another 200 people, in rented accommodation, suffering non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, requiring hospital admission. Government data suggests that the real numbers could be higher than this, with many tenants visiting their local A&E department but not becoming hospitalised.
Many of the carbon monoxide illness claims that MG Legal’s NO WIN NO FEE solicitors take on, arise out of faulty, leaking electrical products that tenants are supplied with in rented accommodation. If you have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning in the last three years that was not your fault, get in touch with our specialist personal injury solicitors today, here.
What are common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained, or poorly ventilated household appliances, such as cookers, heaters and central heating boilers, are the most common causes of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.
Other possible causes of carbon monoxide poisoning include things that you may not often think about as being particularly harmful, such as fumes from paint (for example, when a landlord has just decorated the flat or house they have rented to you) or even cleaning fluids (sometimes after the rented accommodation has had a deep clean, using lots of chemicals). Often people suffer carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of things such as:
running a car engine, petrol-powered generator or barbecue inside a garage
blocked flues and chimneys – this can stop carbon monoxide from escaping the home, and is especially dangerous at night in cold weather when we are sleeping
faulty or blocked car exhausts – a leak or blockage in the exhaust pipe, such as after heavy snowfall, could lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide
paint fumes – some cleaning fluids and paint removers contain methylene chloride (dichloromethane); this substance is broken down by the body into carbon monoxide
Are some people more likely to suffer illness because of carbon monoxide?
Whilst carbon monoxide is a danger to everyone, including our pets, some groups are more at risk than others. Our solicitors specialising in personal injury claims have found pregnant women, people with respiratory issues such as asthma or those with chronic heart disease to be more at risk. Due to their size, babies and small children are also very vulnerable. Long term exposure to carbon monoxide can also damage an unborn baby.
What is a Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claim?
A carbon monoxide poisoning personal injury claim is, quite simply, a claim against any party who has been negligent in exposing you to carbon monoxide, and as a result, you have suffered some form of illness, or injury, no matter how mild. Most often, this will be a residential landlord who has not had a boiler serviced properly; but it can also be the case where hotels or holiday homes are not properly ventilated, or heating systems are not properly maintained. In some cases, you may work in an office block, or other workplace, where the heating system has not been serviced or maintained properly, and as a result, carbon monoxide leaks into the work environment. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also occur if you are asked to work with certain types of paint in an unventilated environment. In instances like this, your employer would be liable.
If you live in rented accommodation, and have come into contact with carbon monoxide, and suffered adverse symptoms, which the law will define as an “injury” you are entitled to claim compensation against the negligent party. MG Legal’s specialist carbon monoxide personal injury solicitors are on hand to help you make that claim aginst your landlord, and to obtain maximum compensation, all on a No Win No Fee basis.
What illness is caused by Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious, particularly during low-level exposure, from a leaking appliance in rented accommodation.
The most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning is often a headache, that is constant, and similar to a migraine, or stress headache. However,if carbon monoxide levels are high enough, you may become unconscious. Exposure to moderate and high levels of CO over long periods of time has also been linked with increased risk of heart disease. Other symptoms include:
feeling and being sick
tiredness and confusion
shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
If you are living in rented accommodation for weeks or months, then long-term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can also lead to neurological symptoms, such as:
difficulty thinking or concentrating
frequent emotional changes – for example, becoming easily irritated, depressed, or making impulsive or irrational decisions
Breathing in high levels of carbon monoxide gas can cause more severe symptoms. These may include:
impaired mental state and personality changes (intoxication)
the feeling that you or the environment around you is spinning (vertigo)
loss of physical co-ordination caused by underlying damage to the brain and nervous system (ataxia)
breathlessness and a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia)
chest pain caused by angina or a heart attack
an uncontrollable burst of electrical activity in the brain that causes muscle spasms (seizures)
loss of consciousness – in cases where there are very high levels of carbon monoxide, death may occur within minutes
How do I make a claim if I have been made ill by carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you have suffered illness or injury as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and are thinking of pursuing a claim for compensation, then contact MG Legal. Firstly, we need you to tell us everything about who and what you think is responsible for your exposure. If you still have access to the property, device or workplace that is responsible, it is often worthwhile testing the area with a home carbon monoxide detector, something that it is recommended every home has in any event.
After this, your specialist carbon monoxide personal injury solicitor will take full details of the case and look to instruct suitable experts to assess the claim. Expert evidence from gas engineers, respiratory, toxicology and neurology specialists can all be combined to bring a compelling case against the fault party.
Once liability is established, the same medical experts can provide an opinion on how you will recover and any longer term effects, which can then be used to value your claim.
Finally, any out of pocket expenses will be assessed, whether from medical expenses, lost earnings, alternative accommodation costs or other unforeseen expenses, this will be combined with your injuries to formulate what is known as a global settlement – a sum of money that replenished any financial losses as well as a suitable award for the injuries and symptoms you have had to ensure as a result of someone else’s negligence.
What precautions should my employer take to ensure employees do not suffer carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace?
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure you are kept safe at work- this responsibility includes making sure you are supplied with suitable equipment, and have a safe environment in which to work. This is a legal responsibility.
MG Legal’s No Win No Fee personal injury solicitors have won carbon monoxide poisoning compensation from employers who have failed in their duty to:
get all fuel burning devices checked annually by an expert;
ensure that all chimneys and flues are swept at least once a year;
fit carbon monoxide detectors throughout the workplace;
Ensure that when carbon monoxide detectors are located throughout the workplace, that they are serviced regularly, and are approved to the latest British or European Standard (BS Kitemark or EN50291).
If your health has been put in danger because your employer has breached the duty of care owed to you, or you have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace, and you are thinking of pursuing a claim for injury in the workplace, then please do not hesitate to contact our team of local personal injury solicitors. Our personal injury solicitors accept all claims for carbon monoxide poisoning illness in the workplace, on a No Win No Fee basis.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning- A Case Study:
In Sykes v Harry  a tenant of rented accommodation suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a faulty gas fire. Subject to section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord of the rented property was liable to maintain the fire. Section 11(6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 confers a right of entry on the landlord for the purpose of discharging the statutory repairing obligations.
In the case of Sykes, despite the landlord knowing that the fire had not been serviced, and admitting to fully understanding the importance of the need to service such an appliance, the landlord had failed in his duties to the tenant, and his lack of action, had caused the tenant to suffer personal injury. As a result, the court held him liable for the personal injury sustained to the tenant, as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The question of actual knowledge of the defect did not arise. Given that the landlord had a right of entry for the purpose of carrying out his repairing obligations, the sole question for consideration by the court was whether or not the landlord had taken reasonable care to see that the premises rented to the tenant, were reasonably safe. The court found that the landlord had not taken reasonable care, to protect his tenant, by ensuring that the rented premises were reasonably safe, and the landlord was held liable for causing the tenant’s injury due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
How much is my carbon monoxide poisoning claim worth?
If you have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, and are looking to make a carbon monoxide poisoning personal injury claim, you're probably wondering how much your claim is worth.
While each claim is calculated on a case to case basis, our team have put together the table below outlining possible compensation for injuries, not taking into consideration other damages, explained here.
Financial compensation available
Lung disease- in a younger person where there is a probability of worsening
Lung disease- causing worsening lung function and impaired breathing
Breathing difficulties requiring regular use of an inhaler
I suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in rented accommodation. Can I make a claim for personal injury compensation?
When you have lived in rented accommodation and have been made ill by carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a gas leak because your landlord did not fulfil the smoke alarm requirements, then you may make a carbon monoxide landlord claim.
Since 1 October 2015 landlords in England have been required to:
ensure smoke alarms are installed in all of their rented residential accommodation, and
ensure carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in every room with a solid fuel heating appliance. This includes any open fireplace that is available for use i.e not blocked off.
The regulations apply both to houses and flats and also to housing in multiple occupation (HMOs); and are included in HMO licences. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.These provisions only apply in England at the moment. However similar requirements are set to be introduced in Wales once the Renting Homes Wales Act is brought into force.
Landlords are legally required to provide a gas safety certificate which is current. In order to keep this certificate up-to-date, it must be renewed annually. Without the certificate, the landlord is breaking the law and so if you are wondering can you sue for carbon monoxide poisoning then the answer is yes, and your landlord may also be prosecuted through the criminal court.
Can I claim against my employer if I am made ill by carbon monoxide poisoning?
If you have suffered carbon monoxide due to being exposed to carbon monoxide in the workplace, then a claim for negligence can be brought against your employer.
How do I make a personal injury claim for carbon monoxide poisoning?
Simply get in touch with MG Legal by phone, email or web-contact form and we will make sure you speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor straight away. We don’t operate via agents or a call centres and so, when you contact us, you speak directly to people who will be involved in your case.
We have tailor-made claim forms for every type of case to keep paperwork to a minimum and to ensure that from the start, we have the information we need from you. We will have a clear, concise Client Care Letter sent out to you, setting out the claim and how we will run it so that you know exactly what to expect. We work hard for each client and because we work on a Conditional Fee (no win no fee) agreement, we ensure that every case that can be, is successful and our success rate of over 99% speaks for itself. Contact MG Legal's specialist carbon monoxide poisoning personal injury solicitors today and we will get the ball rolling straight away.