The situation is a well-known one- the carbon monoxide detector is running low on batteries, and its incessant din is echoing throughout the house. Everyone scrambles, trying to hone in on the one detector responsible for causing all the racket. If you’re familiar with this situation, it’s because we’ve all been there. So frustrated are we, when we finally find the infernal machine, that our first impulse may be to get rid of the system altogether. Irritated and exasperated, we’re convinced that the false alarms outweigh the serious threats by about a million to none. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we understand your frustration, and we sympathize with your plight, but we urge you to remain steadfast and diligent with installing and maintaining your carbon monoxide detectors. Because while it may seem like they’re a bunch of mechanical boys who cried wolf, the reality is that it only takes one dangerous leak of carbon monoxide to seriously harm you and your loved ones. And in that one instance, you will be glad to have stayed diligent. In case of an emergency, all of the previous rackets will have been worth it- their existence validated and deemed exceedingly worthwhile in retrospect.
The reason carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous is that it is undetectable by humans. It has no perceptible odor and no visible color, which means we are extremely susceptible to inhaling it without ever noticing.
- How was I exposed to carbon monoxide? You may have been in contact with carbon monoxide due to unsafe working conditions, or you may have been exposed in your home. Sometimes, faulty and defective products (such as furnaces, ovens, portable grills, etc.) may cause unsafe levels of carbon monoxide to be released into the air inside of your home. Cars and trucks also expel carbon monoxide as a byproduct. The distinction here is important, because which legal avenues you must take depends on how exactly you fell into harm’s way. The professional and experienced team at Kaplan Lawyers PC have a long history of winning compensation for their clients, and will know precisely how to proceed. Negligent property owners, landlords, and employers may be at fault if you were exposed to dangerous gasses in a store or restaurant, your home, or your place of business, respectively.
- What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? If you’ve been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide you may experience some, or all, of the following symptoms: headaches, intestinal discomfort, nausea and/or emesis, chest pains and various muscle pains, shortness of breath or other respiratory problems, syncope, seizures, memory loss. You may also feel a general malaise- a pervasive influx of flu-like symptoms, the particular constituent problem areas of which may be hard to pinpoint but, in aggregate, contribute to an overall feeling of unease. Passing out is the most dangerous aspect. If a person exposed to carbon monoxide faints in the contaminated area, they will continue breathing the tainted air. This could lead to death.
- What should I do if I’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide? If you know that you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, you need to remove yourself from the contaminated area. To be safe, seek out a well-oxygenated open space, preferably an outdoor area far removed from the leakage site, and wait there for medical professionals to arrive. Oxygen will help dilute the percentage of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream and will most directly remedy the ill-effects of the dangerous gas. From there, EMTs and hospital workers will take over. It is of paramount importance that emergency service workers are contacted immediately.
- How can I lower the risk of CO poisoning in my home? There is a twofold approach you can take to minimizing your risk of carbon monoxide exposure: prevention and detection. First and foremost, maintain constant and careful vigilance over the CO-emitting appliances in your home. This is the prevention stage. All of the supra-structure connecting ovens and grills to gas lines must be routinely checked and maintained, all gaskets and rings should be tightened and tested for leaks. The second stage is detection. If a leak does occur, it’s important that you are instantly alerted to the danger. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed throughout your home: near enough all pertinent appliances and any garages but not so far that any area of your home could possibly contain lethal amounts of carbon monoxide without triggering an alarm. We talked above about the hassle that these alarms sometimes present, but we must insist, that their benefits far outweigh their negative aspects. Please be diligent with installing and maintaining these devices. They could save your life. (Extra note: those with chimneys should keep them clean! Chimneys are a huge potential source of carbon monoxide.)
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There are many potential causes for carbon monoxide poisoning, and manifold physical problems may present themselves if toxic levels are reached. If you or a loved one has been exposed, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can help pay for hospital bills as well as help ease the emotional anguish you’ve undergone throughout your ordeal. As we mentioned earlier, there are many different ways that you could have been exposed to carbon monoxide. Let the esteemed professionals at Kaplan Lawyers PC investigate your case and analyze the intricacies involved. Our consultations are a free and easy way to begin learning about your rights.