Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can be highly poisonous to humans. Unfortunately, everything that burns fuel (including many fixtures and appliances found in homes) emits carbon monoxide. However, small amounts of carbon monoxide are usually unproblematic, which is why these fixtures and appliances are allowed in residential spaces. The issue arises when people are exposed to harmful levels of the gas, which is why it’s critical that carbon monoxide detectors work properly. When a carbon monoxide detector fails, it puts people in that space at incredible risk.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe has seen firsthand the harmful effects of failed carbon monoxide detectors and is committed to helping victims hold the responsible parties liable for the harm they’ve caused. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, and no one should be put at risk because of someone else’s negligence. Our personal injury attorneys can help you secure a favorable resolution for your failed carbon monoxide detector case.
What Is the Legal Liability for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Building owners, businesses, and landlords are legally responsible for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. They must take safety precautions, such as installing working carbon monoxide detectors that comply with the building’s codes, to protect occupants from deadly exposure to the gas.
In the event that an individual suffers carbon monoxide poisoning, the facility opener, landlord, manufacturer, or another professional could be held liable for the leak causing the overexposure if the party was negligent in ensuring that the occupants and guests were protected by ensuring that the detectors were operating properly.
When Is a Manufacturer Liable for a Failed Carbon Monoxide Detector?
When a faulty or improperly labeled carbon monoxide detector causes a consumer harm, the manufacturer or retailer of that defective or malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector may be held liable for the victim’s damages. Manufacturers and other companies involved in the production, distribution, and installation of carbon monoxide detectors owe a duty of care to consumers to ensure that the detectors are safe. When the detectors fail, victims can recover compensation through a product liability claim. The key elements of a product liability claim consist of the following:
The Product Is Defective
In any product liability case, you must be able to prove that the product was defective and that the defect was not obvious to an average consumer. There are several ways that a product can be defective, including:
- The product was unreasonably dangerous
- There was a mistake during the manufacturing process that was not disclosed
- The manufacturer did not provide adequate warnings of the risk
Proving a product was defective can be challenging, which is why it’s always better to have an experienced attorney at your disposal.
The Product Caused Your Injury
The key element of a product liability case is the link between the defective product and your injury. This usually means demonstrating that if not for the defective product, you would not have suffered any harm.
You Used the Product as Intended
A manufacturer must be able to foresee that a consumer could be harmed by the product and provide the necessary warnings and instructions. However, if the consumer follows the instructions and warnings and still suffers harm despite using the product as intended, the manufacturers can be held liable for damages.
When Is a Landlord Likely to Be Liable for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
In most premises liability claims, the court won’t hold a landlord liable for a tenant being injured on their property unless the tenant can prove that the landlord’s actions (or lack of action) were the direct cause or significant contributory factor to the harmful situation and the harm the tenant suffered. Cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning are no different. Landlords are not automatically liable for every instance of carbon monoxide exposure. Situations in which they would be considered liable include:
The Landlord Violated Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws
Landlords are required to install functioning carbon monoxide detectors on their property. They must also maintain and replace the detectors according to state laws to continually ensure the safety of guests and tenants. If a tenant or guest can prove that the landlord failed to comply with the laws governing the installation and maintenance of the carbon monoxide detectors, which lead to the detectors failing to warn them of possible overexposure, they can recover fair compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.
The Landlord Violated Health and Safety Codes
The state and certain cities often dictate the minimum standard for health and safety when it comes to carbon monoxide. For instance, the city might require certain types of ventilation for the gas ranges or regular maintenance of fireplaces in residential buildings. If a landlord violates those standards and the tenant or guest is poisoned by carbon monoxide, the landlord can be held liable.
The Landlord Failed to Uphold a Promise
Perhaps when the tenant first moves into the premises, the carbon monoxide detector isn’t installed or needs replacement which the landlord agrees to provide (either in the lease or through a verbal agreement). If they fail to uphold their promise, the landlord can be held liable for breach of contract. The landlord may even be held liable for carbon monoxide poison even if the law didn’t require the landlord to prove or maintain the carbon monoxide detector because they breached a contract.
Failed Carbon Monoxide Detector? Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe Today
Whether the carbon monoxide detector failed because of landlord or manufacturer negligence, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe is here for you. We know that these cases can be incredibly complicated and proud to be able to offer our knowledge, skills, and resources to victims of carbon monoxide poisoning so they can recover the compensation they deserve.
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, we will thoroughly examine the situation and ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the entire process. We will work to establish liability and recover fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Contact our firm today at 516-358-6900 or complete our contact form.
You can also visit our Cohen & Jaffe YouTube channel for more information on product and premises liability.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900