Claims guide: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted Jun 19, 2018.
Whilst MP’s are pushing for a review of regulations regarding the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in domestic and rented properties, what happens if you have been unfortunate enough to have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and what grounds do you have to make a claim for compensation?

Carbon monoxide poisoning is usually caused by a poorly installed or maintained appliance such as a boiler, heater or stove. As carbon monoxide is both colourless and has no discernible smell, it is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’. Carbon monoxide results from the burning of carbon-based fuels such as wood, oil, gas and coal, meaning that many appliances have the capability of poisoning both people and animals if they have not been properly manufactured, installed and maintained. In the UK, any gas appliance must be installed, repaired and maintained by registered ‘Gas Safe’ engineers – Gas Safe replaced the older CORGI registration system back in 2009, so it’s important that fitters have the latest certification.

As well as domestic appliances, carbon monoxide poisoning can also be the result of an open fire, car exhaust, barbeque or even a cigarette. It is extremely important that such activities occur in a well ventilated room, including enclosed spaces such as garages, caravans or tents.

Signs and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning 

The best way to tell you if carbon monoxide is present is to use a proper detector, available from many DIY outlets. As such poisoning can cause perment brain injury or death, it is vital not to skimp on installing detectors. Also look for:

Yellow or orange flames in a gas boiler (flames should be blue)
Soot deposits or dark areas on ceilings or around appliances
Condensation on internal walls

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

Shallow breathing
Dizziness / confusion
Headaches & feeling sick
Stomach aches
Slow pulse
Loss of consciousness

Claiming for Carbon Monoxide injury

In general, you will have up to 3 years in which to bring a claim for compensation, so it is important to seek professional advice from a lawyer or solicitor as soon as possible. You may have grounds to make a claim if the responsible appliance was incorrectly manufactured, maintained or installed; for negligence against another person or business, such as a travel agency or holiday letting company; and against the operators of a public building such as a shop or sports centre. The highly experienced team here at Bakers Solicitors will be able to advise you in more detail, and at no cost, based on your personal circumstances.

Claims are usually made against the insurance company of the party that has been negligent, and compensation can take the form of:

General Damages – to cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The actual amount of compensation will depend on the specifics of each case, including the extent of the injuries suffered, predicted rehabilitation timescales and whether ongoing / life-long care may be needed

Special Damages – to cover out of pockets expenses and medical costs. Again, actual amounts are based on each claim, but typically include loss of earnings, travel expenses and, in claims involving more serious injuries, ongoing care costs and adaptations to housing.

To find out more, the team here at Bakers Solicitors will be happy to help.