Product Liability laws state that products sold to the public should be reasonably safe. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently released its 2010 annual estimates of non-fire carbon monoxide related deaths. It takes the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) many years to compile this data. The commission found that in 2010, 161 people were killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning from consumer products that was not related to a fire. All of these were unintentional deaths as the data does not include suicides or work related deaths.
Of those 161 deaths, heating systems were the number one killers which were responsible for about 58 deaths. Generators and other engine driven tools were the second most common killers. What is most interesting about the data is that, while the number of heating system deaths has decreased every year, the number of engine-driven tool related deaths from products such as power generators has increased. Every year, over 150 people die from Carbon monoxide emissions from consumer products.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is described in the report as:
a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fuels, such as natural or liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, gasoline, oil, wood, coal, and other fuels. The health effects related to CO depend upon its concentration in blood, which in turn, depends upon its concentration in air, an individual's duration of exposure, and an individual's general health.
The report does not go into detail as to how each death occurred or who was to blame. CO poisoning can happen in many ways, but commonly it occurs when a fuel-burning appliance is not vented properly or is defective and the fumes are trapped in a space with an unaware victim. In many cases, a user may be to blame for not allowing the appliance to be ventilated properly, but errors could also be made during service or repair that could endanger the user. Also, products that were manufactured poorly or not labeled property could cause deaths.
In these types of consumer product CO related deaths, there is a very strong chance that negligence may have been to blame. Even if a product was misused by the victim, companies have a duty to properly warn users of the dangers of their product. For example, if someone dies from CO poisoning after using a CO producing heater in an unventilated room, the company could be held responsible if it can be shown that the machine did not have warning labels on it or any other signs that the victim should have known better.
When a loved one if injured or killed by a consumer product, the family may have a right to compensation if it can be proven that negligence was involved during the design, production, marketing or another stage of the product's creation. In New Hampshire, a personal injury lawyer can help them find out if they have a case. If you or someone you love was killed due to CO emissions from a consumer product, call Russman Law to find out more.