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On average 40 to 50 people die and 400 are admitted to hospital from carbon monoxide poisoning every year in the UK. If you or a family member has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Known as ‘the silent killer’, carbon monoxide gas has no smell or taste. Breathing in the gas can make you extremely unwell and can cause injuries to the brain. It can even be fatal.
Many domestic appliances produce carbon monoxide through the burning of gas, oil, wood and coal. If these units are not suitably serviced or well maintained and fitted, they can release this potentially-deadly gas into the atmosphere.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured through carbon monoxide poisoning, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Our expert team of serious personal injury solicitors have helped many people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning to secure the best possible compensation. They are dedicated to supporting their clients through the course of their claim and beyond.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels (including gas, oil, wood and coal). It occurs when these fuels burn in an enclosed space using up the oxygen levels to create poisonous Carbon Monoxide.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
CO can be fatal. When inhaled, it enters the blood’s haemoglobin in the red blood cells. This prevents oxygen reaching tissues and organs such as the brain, which can fail and die. CO in your bloodstream also causes damage to blood vessels which can cause swelling to the brain, nerve damage, loss of consciousness and death.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Mild exposure can lead to flu-like symptoms including: light-headedness, headaches, breathlessness, dizziness and nausea. Usually in these cases, when you remove the exposure, symptoms will resolve themselves without any long-term ill effects.
However, with long-term exposure or contact with larger amounts of carbon monoxide, deterioration happens very quickly and can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness and confusion and severe neurological problems such as: seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. If your symptoms disappear when you go out, and reoccur when you come home, or if other people in your household suffer from similar symptoms, this could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning and you should take medical advice.
What should I do if I suspect harmful levels of carbon monoxide?
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents provides guidelines on what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or if you suspect you have a leak. You must act fast:
- Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house
- See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect CO poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check
- If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline
- Ask your landlord to arrange for Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a fault.
How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?
Your landlord is legally responsible for your safety, as a tenant, in relation to gas safety. By law they must:
- Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition
- Ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
- Keep a record of each safety check
- You should also keep your tenants informed about their responsibilities while they are staying in your property
Most landlords will also fit their properties with carbon monoxide detectors, although this is not legally required.
Who is responsible for ensuring my safety from carbon monoxide poisoning?
Employers, landlords and other building owners are responsible for ensuring appliances —such as gas fires, central heating systems, water heaters and cookers — comply with health and safety regulations and are well-maintained. If you health has suffered because someone else has been negligent in their duty of care, you may be able to claim compensation. If you’re unsure of where your exposure to carbon monoxide happened, or who is responsible, you can contact our expert team today for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your claim, with no obligation.
Are the responsibilities the same for all types of landlord and tenancy agreement?
No matter what type of tenancy agreement you have – temporary or permanent – and no matter what type of landlord you rent from – private landlord or public body (such as local council or housing association) – the person(s) who you rent from is legally responsible for safety in relation to gas safety.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is not the only possible danger from living in rented accommodation. Employers, landlords and other building owners also have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe and well maintained. Poorly maintained properties can lead to serious injuries, such as:
- Spinal injury claims
- Brain and Head injury claims
- Serious burn claims
- Multiple fracture claims
- Fatal injury claims
If you have had a serious accident in a rented property and sustained a serious injury, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
The compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries and the impact on your life. Severe, life-changing injuries will involve more compensation to cover medical bills, rehabilitation, care and support, adaptations to the home and loss of earnings and pension.
Yes. The general rule is that you have three years from the date of the accident or the date when you realised your poisoning may have been caused by someone else’s mistake or negligence.
If you are claiming on behalf of a child, you can claim at any time until the child turns 18. When the child turns 18, they can bring a claim in their own right but the three year time limit will then apply and they will have until they are 21 to do so.
For example, there is no time limit for people who don’t have the mental capacity to make legal decisions and different time limits apply for some injuries or illnesses sustained abroad.
Time can be a critical factor in compensation claims, so it’s important to get in touch with our specialist personal injury team as soon as possible for expert advice.
Starting a carbon monoxide compensation claim is straightforward. To begin your claim, contact us on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or online for a free, no obligation chat. Click here to learn more about our team and the high level of expertise in your area of injury.
After an initial consultation phone call, your specialist solicitor will come to visit you in your home – or a location at your convenience – to discuss the details of your claim. This will include information such as how your injuries occurred and the impact that your injuries have on your day-to-day life, so they can understand your needs and advise you on the compensation you may be able to claim.
Our legal expert will also use this as an opportunity to talk you through the process of making a claim and to explain your funding options and any relevant paperwork for making your claim.
From that point on, your solicitor will pursue your claim on your behalf. The next step will be to contact the defendant’s insurers and to start gathering evidence to support your claim, liaising with medical experts and healthcare providers to access your records. Your solicitor will keep you updated as your claim progresses and at every step of the process.
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If you have a question that is not listed above, please visit our FAQs page. Alternatively, please call our specialist team on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation chat.