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Who might be liable for carbon monoxide poisoning?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2023 | Personal Injury

A home should be a safe place for everyone who resides there. Unfortunately, there are sometimes influences present within a residential property that can make it more dangerous for residents. One of the more insidious risks is the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, meaning that people generally don’t notice its presence. Exposure to carbon monoxide, particularly in high concentrations over protracted periods, can potentially lead to illness and even death in extreme cases.

Those hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning or dealing with the symptoms of this potentially debilitating medical condition may wonder who’s actually liable for the situation. Depending on the circumstances, there could be multiple parties that bear some degree of responsibility.

Product manufacturers

Hot water heaters, clothes dryers and numerous other small appliances can leak carbon monoxide into a residential property. Manufacturers should make every reasonable effort to ensure their devices are safe for indoor use and to provide accurate information for homeowners and professionals installing their products to help minimize the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure and illness.

Installation and maintenance professionals

Property owners often pay licensed professionals to install new appliances and systems in their homes or to maintain their existing systems. From ensuring the ventilation system is sufficient to double-checking each step of the installation process, there are many steps that repair, maintenance and installation professionals can take that help minimize the risk of clients experiencing unsafe levels of carbon monoxide exposure. If there is evidence that the installation of a new system or the repair of an existing one led to the carbon monoxide issue, the professionals who engaged in unsafe behaviors may be partially responsible for the outcome of the situation.

Property owners and landlords

Tenants expect that the property that they rent will be safe, and landlords should seek to keep facilities in habitable condition while also providing systems that protect and warn tenants should something go wrong with a key system, like the furnace. Landlords in Iowa generally have an obligation to install and maintain carbon monoxide testing units, just like they need to maintain smoke detectors for the safety of residents. If there was not a functional carbon monoxide detector in place at the time of a leak and that lack of testing contributed to the outcome of the situation, a landlord may be at least partially responsible for the medical consequences that renters experience. They could also be responsible for poor maintenance of appliances and household systems.

Evaluating a situation to determine who may be responsible for carbon monoxide poisoning could help victims and their family members demand justice when poor professional practices culminate in a serious medical issue.