Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide Poisoning in Los Angeles

Protecting the rights of injured clients throughout California

According to the American Council on Science and Health, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 50,000 people visit emergency rooms due to accidental CO poisoning, and about 430 people die each year in the country from accidental CO poisoning. The tragedy of this is that CO poisoning is completely preventable.

The Los Angeles carbon monoxide accident lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP understand what it takes to pursue complex cases. If you or someone you care about has sustained serious injuries, or if you have lost a loved one because of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide poisoning due to someone else’s negligence, we are here to pursue compensation for your losses.

Contact us to discuss the details of your case with our legal team. You will not pay attorney fees until we have recovered compensation for you.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Cedars-Sinai Hospital describes carbon monoxide poisoning as a life-threatening emergency that occurs from inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) fumes. CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is created when fuels, including wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas or kerosene, are burned.

Some of the common causes of CO poisoning occur from exposure to:

  • Fires
  • Malfunctioning cooking appliances
  • Gasoline or diesel-powered generators
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Clogged chimneys
  • Auto exhaust or idling vehicles
  • Malfunctioning water heaters
  • Malfunctioning oil, wood, gas or coal furnaces
  • Malfunctioning gas clothes dryers
  • Wood burning fireplaces or gas log burners
  • Gas or fuel-burning appliances in cabins or campers, barbecue grills, pool or spa heaters, or ceiling-mounted heating units
  • Boat engines
  • Inhaling smoke from a wildfire

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Symptoms of CO poisoning

E-Medicine Health lists the following symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like symptoms, fatigue
  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Visual changes
  • Fainting
  • Seizure
  • Memory problems
  • Walking problems

Injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning

Breathing carbon monoxide fumes can cause brain damage and death. Because it is a colorless and odorless gas, people who are exposed to it are unaware of the fact that they are being slowly poisoned. Unfortunately, when there has been a CO poisoning, it is often discovered after a victim has died.

Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

January tends to be the deadliest month for carbon monoxide poisoning because in most areas of the United States, January is the coldest month and people tend to be closed in with heating systems in their homes. offers the following tips to prevent CO poisoning:

  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil or coal-burning appliance inspected and serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Install battery-operated CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside the home, basement or garage or outside the home near a window.
  • Don’t burn anything in an unvented stove or fireplace.
  • Don’t let a vehicle idle inside a garage attached to a house, even if the garage door is left open.
  • Don’t heat a house with a gas oven.

What is the state of California doing to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

California passed a law, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 (SB 183), to protect people by making it a requirement that property owners install CO detectors in apartments, homes, hotels and condominiums that contain fossil fuel–burning furnaces, heaters or appliances, or that have an attached garage. If you make sure that your home or apartment has a carbon monoxide detector installed, you could be saving a life.

What causes carbon dioxide poisoning?

The International Journal of Emergency Medicine describes carbon dioxide (C02) as a product of combustion, fermentation and respiration. It is a colorless, odorless and non-flammable gas that accumulates near the ground as it is 1.5 times heavier than air. Enclosed spaces are vulnerable to C02 buildup as it displaces the oxygen in the air. The journal article used the term "confined space hypoxic syndrome" to describe confined space accidents that have occurred in water meter pits, tanks, holds of ships, mines or underground storage bins due to oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

Carbon dioxide causes asphyxiation by hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) and it is also a toxicant that can cause unconsciousness and respiratory arrest within one minute. Carbon dioxide poisoning can also occur when there is inadequate ventilation for scuba divers (this condition is also called decompression sickness).

E-Medicine Health reports the following carbon dioxide poisoning symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Flushing

Severe cases of carbon dioxide poisoning can cause confusion, convulsions and loss of consciousness.

A person suffering from carbon dioxide poisoning should be given fresh air or oxygen and rest. Call 911 if the symptoms are severe or if the person is unresponsive.

The importance of calling a Los Angeles CO/C02 poisoning lawyer right away

You need to call a lawyer as soon as possible after you discover that you or a loved one has suffered from carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide poisoning because of someone else's negligence. In California, the statute of limitations, which is the time limit for taking legal action, is only two years from the date of the injury. Our team will need to investigate the incident and determine who is at fault and who can be held liable for your injuries, or for the loss of a loved one.

The injury could have been caused by a defective product like a heating unit or appliance, or the injury could have been prevented had the property owner installed a working carbon monoxide detector. These are just two examples for who might be at fault for the injuries.

With more than 30 years of experience helping clients who have been injured obtain justice, the legal team at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP is here to represent you and fight for the compensation you need. Call and schedule a case review with our experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyers and receive guidance about your next steps.

Schedule a free consultation with a compassionate Los Angeles lawyer today

The Los Angeles lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP understand the grief and anger that come when you discover that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence. Call our law firm at 310.474.1582 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.