Following the death of a Mother and Daughter from Leyland in the Lake District over the Easter weekend, the catastrophic consequences of exposure to Carbon Monoxide poisoning have been thrust into the limelight. The pair were enjoying a boat ride over Lake Windermere when they started to have serious breathing difficulties, the result of suspected Carbon Monoxide inhalation. Although this is yet to be confirmed, it is believed that a faulty generator on board the boat was to blame.

A further incident occurred in the Lakes only a week later, where a woman and her two children were taken ill on a boat following an engine being left on and the canopy of the boat left closed. It is suspected they had also been exposed to Carbon Monoxide.

What is Carbon Monoxide and why is it so dangerous?

Carbon Monoxide is the product of incomplete combustion of gas and if inhaled, reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen around the body. As Carbon Monoxide is scent free and cannot be seen or tasted, the effects of such poisoning are only evident once the poisoning has happened. Symptoms of mild Carbon Monoxide poisoning are similar to that of a common cold or flu virus. Notably however, it does not cause a high temperature. In more severe cases, it can cause an irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulties and can cause permanent damage.

Where can I get Carbon Monoxide poisoning from?

The most likely causes of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the home include faulty boilers, central heating systems and faulty gas appliances. If the appliance is not correctly maintained in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the deadly gas will be released and could be inhaled by those in the immediate vicinity. It is high levels of the gas found in the blood that result in the most severe cases. Car fumes from car exhausts are also a common cause of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Landlords and homeowners alike are required to ensure that the above mentioned appliances are maintained to the correct standard so as to avoid exposure to Carbon Monoxide occurring. If you are renting your property, your Landlord is under both a contractual duty under your Tenancy Agreement and a Statutory Obligation to ensure that your boiler, central heating system and gas appliances are correctly maintained. If you are a home owner or rent your property and find that you have a gas appliance that needs repairing, those carrying out the repairs are under a duty to ensure that you are not left susceptible to inhaling Carbon Monoxide.

Can I make a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning?

In short, if a gas appliance or system has been negligently maintained or repaired and this has caused exposure to Carbon Monoxide and therefore resulted in illness, it is possible that a personal injury compensation claim may be brought against the negligent party for the injury and other losses. For more information or to speak to a personal injury solicitor about making a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

By Nick Molyneux,
Personal Injury Solicitor