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Is a Landlord Liable for Harm Caused by Carbon Monoxide?

 Posted on May 26, 2022 in Personal Injury

Kent County Personal Injury LawyerCarbon monoxide is a silent killer. It is odorless and colorless, making it difficult to detect. The symptoms it causes are easily mistaken for mere tiredness. When carbon monoxide is allowed to build up in an apartment building, it can very quickly become deadly. Michigan has laws in place requiring all multi-family homes including apartment buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors installed. Without a working detector, it is nearly impossible for individuals to notice that they are being exposed to hazardous levels of this insidious chemical. 

Sadly, because chemical exposure to carbon monoxide can become fatal before it is detected, many lawsuits related to negligent carbon monoxide poisoning are brought as wrongful death suits. If you were harmed by or lost a family member due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you should contact an attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. 

What Causes Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Rental Units?

A number of problems, often related to poor maintenance, can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in apartments or other multi-family structures. A landlord can be held liable for the harm their tenants suffer as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning if the landlord was negligent in allowing the poisoning to occur. Problems that can contribute to carbon monoxide poisonings include: 

  • Inadequate ventilation - One of the best ways to guard against carbon monoxide buildup is to ensure adequate ventilation in an apartment home. This could mean having windows that open enough to let toxic air out and fresh air in, or it could mean having a heating and cooling system that circulates air. 

  • No alarm - In Michigan, all multi-family buildings and apartment buildings must, by law, be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Having a functional alarm is the only way to ensure that occupants will be alerted to the presence of carbon monoxide before it reaches lethal levels. 

  • Poor maintenance - Proper maintenance of furnaces, heating systems, pipes, and other combustible equipment is essential to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. When a landlord neglects these necessary repairs, they are putting all of their tenants in serious danger and they could be held liable for any resulting deaths or poisonings. 

What Are Some Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and What Should I Do?

One of the things that makes carbon monoxide poisoning so dangerous is that most of its symptoms are easily mistaken for other, common, less threatening issues. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include: 

  • Tiredness

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Chest pain

  • Confusion

If these symptoms come on suddenly and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately get fresh air. Open a window if you can and quickly exit the building. Call 911 and report your suspicions. Let emergency services take it from there.

Call a Michigan Chemical Exposure Attorney

If you have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in a rental unit or have lost an immediate relative as a result of carbon monoxide in rental housing, John D. Tallman, PLC, Attorney at Law may be able to help you recover financial compensation. Our Grand Rapids chemical exposure lawyers can help you determine whether you have a case. Call us at 616-361-8850 to get started with a free consultation. 




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