By: Natalie B. DeClusin, Attorney at Law
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Most boaters understand that they must be on the lookout for any and all dangers when they are out on the water, whether it be boating traffic, weather conditions, or mechanical problems. However, quite possibly the most deadly of these threats is one that people cannot see, and that oftentimes goes undetected until it is too late. This silent killer is carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can collect within, alongside, or behind a boat in minutes.
As early as the 1990s, officials across the country began attributing many drownings to carbon monoxide poisoning, a link that had previously gone undetected. In 1995, after performing an autopsy on a 12-year-old drowning victim, Arizona officials found that the boy had been playing behind a boat, was not wearing a life jacket, and became unconscious after inhaling carbon monoxide fumes. Before this time, many similar incidences had been written off as mere drownings. However, medical examiners in this case found carbon monoxide to be the culprit, a discovery that has lead to widespread awareness campaigns, and efforts to create and improve upon detective devices.
Since carbon monoxide poisoning has garnered so much attention across the United States, the protections offered to boaters have greatly improved. For example, it is recommended that all boats be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. However, the very best way to avoid being the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning is to know and be able to recognize the early symptoms. Signs indicating the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Irritated Eyes
These are all symptoms that can easily be confused with seasickness or intoxication. However, it is important not to overlook the more serious potential cause, as recognizing these signs could mean the difference between life and death.
Carbon monoxide poisoning takes far too many lives each year, often as the result of another person’s misconduct or a defective product that fails in use. Other time, a carbon monoxide leak results from not just a defective product itself, but an improperly repaired part or ill adjusted parts used in repair. The cause of the carbon monoxide exposure could be attributable to many different factors.
Given the difficult and highly specialized issues involved in litigating a carbon monoxide poisoning case, victims must look to a qualified and dedicated attorney for legal assistance. This is exactly what Berman & Riedel, LLP, offers its clients. Our firm is equipped with experienced and knowledgeable attorneys that will work together with qualified experts to diligently investigate a claim and represent the interests of boaters that have suffered a serious personal injury or wrongful death as a result of carbon monoxide exposure.
Natalie B. DeClusin is an associate attorney at Berman & Riedel, LLP, a boutique law firm experienced in litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases in California, including those involving boating and other watercraft related accidents.