A serious personal injury that doesn’t get talked about enough is carbon monoxide poisoning.  Thousands of people die annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in the US, especially during winter months.  It’s a real and dangerous threat that can cause sudden illness and is also called the silent killer. 

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas emitted when burning fuel, such as natural gas, coal, wood, or oil.  It's colorless, odorless, and can be very difficult to detect.  That's why it's so important to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and take steps to prevent it from happening.

If you or your loved one have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, we’re here to help.  Our experienced personal injury attorney Kevin J. McManus will listen and guide you on the best way forward.  Call our office today at (816) 203-0143 or fill out our online contact form.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Happen?

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can occur in several ways, but the most prevalent occurrence is exposure to the gas in an enclosed space.

carbon monoxide poisoning doctor clipboardSome examples of instances where carbon monoxide poisoning happens include:

  • If your home has a faulty furnace or oven
  • A car is running in your attached garage or if you're using a generator indoors
  • Using charcoal grills or portable stoves inside your home. That's why it's so important to ensure proper ventilation when you're cooking indoors.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so it can be difficult to know when you're exposed to it.  And because it's so dangerous, it's essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning in Missouri and Kansas

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be a serious issue and even silently kill.  Thus, it's crucial to be able to spot the symptoms as soon as possible so you can get the immediate help you need.

The most common CO poisoning symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion.  It can also cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and vomiting.  The symptoms of this type of poisoning are frequently compared to having the flu.  It can also cause you to lose consciousness or cause death if you breathe it in heavily in large quantities or for a lengthy period of time.  If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, get into fresh air immediately and call for help.

If you think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide, it's important to see a doctor right away, even if you don't feel any symptoms.  The sooner you're diagnosed, the better the chances are of minimal exposure and making a full recovery.

Who Is at Risk for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Missouri or Kansas?

Everyone runs a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with as busy and mobile as we are in our daily lives.  CO poisoning is more likely to occur in young children, the elderly, and persons with anemia, chronic heart disease, or breathing issues.  Every year, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room, more than 20,000 people are hospitalized, and more than 4,000 people succumb to unintentional CO poisoning unrelated to fires.

Other people at risk for CO poisoning include those exposed to it regularly, such as firefighters and construction workers.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The most important thing you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to be aware of the dangers and take the necessary precautions. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, and never ignore the warning signs.

Put your detector in a convenient location that will allow it to wake you when it goes off.  Purchase a detector with a digital readout so you have clear information on the  numbers registered if CO is detected.  In addition to warning, the detector will notify you of the highest level of CO concentration in your house.  You’ll also want to regularly check your detector and ensure it is replaced every five years.

Other tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Regularly checking and cleaning your chimney
  • Ensuring proper venting of all your gas appliances
  • Desist from using your generator or burning charcoal indoors
  • Avoid patching your vent pipes with gum or tape, as this may increase CO buildup
  • Only buy gas appliances that contain a seal from the national testing agency

If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded, get out of the enclosed space of your home or building immediately and call for help.

When Can You File a Lawsuit for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Once you've received medical attention and things have calmed down, you may wonder if you have any type of case or should perhaps file a lawsuit for your injuries.  The answer to that question depends on the circumstances of your case.  Generally, you can file a lawsuit if you can prove that someone else was negligent and caused your exposure to carbon monoxide and injury.

For example, if you were staying in a hotel and noticed that the CO detector was faulty, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the hotel owner.  Or if you were using a defective generator that caused carbon monoxide to leak into your home, you could potentially file a suit against the manufacturer.

Proving negligence can be challenging if you don’t get the facts right, so it's important to speak with our experienced personal injury attorney if you're considering taking legal action.  Our attorney will help you gather evidence and find out if you have a case. 

There is a 2 year statute of limitations in Missouri and Kansas in which you must file your injury claim.  If you’re considering filing an injury claim, call our office today and let us navigate this for you, we’re here to help.


What Kind of Evidence Do You Need When Seeking Compensation for CO Poisoning?

Important evidence you will need when filing a personal injury lawsuit for CO poisoning:

  • Description of symptoms
  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Symptoms experienced along with treatment and medical bills
  • Names of any potential witnesses
  • Gas or generator manufacturer or product information with a statement from a professional

The most important piece of evidence will be your medical records. These should document the symptoms you experienced and how they were treated.  If you can get a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning from your doctor, that will strengthen your case.

Witness statements from people who were with you when you were exposed to the carbon monoxide are very helpful evidence.  Additionally, any photos or videos you may have of the scene can be used to help prove that you were exposed to the gas.  

Get Help From Our Experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and believe another party's negligence caused it, call us today and get experienced help from our Kansas City injury attorney. He knows how to handle the situation and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries that you deserve.  

Call us at (816) 203-0143 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.  Our personal injury attorney has broad experience in cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning and will work with you to determine the best course of action.  For more helpful general information, you can also instantly download our free e-book Crash Course: 9 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim.  We're here to help, and on your side!


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS