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Bagen Law Blog

Hotel Guests, Carbon Monoxide Risks and You

Posted by Steven A. Bagen

Jan 21, 2013 3:19:00 PM

Most hotels do not have any type of carbon monoxide detectors. This has led directly to serious injuries and deaths across the country due to this invisible, odorless gas.

Staying in a hotel should be a relaxing experience. Most hotels worth your time go to considerable lengths to offer comfortable beds, cable TV programming and even complimentary meals at times. However, behind this congenial façade, there can be a serious threat lurking. Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous substance and it has already killed people in hotels across the country.

The Rising Death Toll

While most of us expect to be reasonably safe during our hotel stays, many people have found differently to their detriment. Across the country, more than 170 people have died in their hotel rooms from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is heavier than air. It kills by smothering its victims – essentially asphyxiating them due to a lack of oxygen. It usually strikes while you lie sleeping, because your body is low enough to be under the upper level of the gas (where the CO hangs beneath the oxygen layer).

However, the death toll doesn’t really tell the whole story here. Nationally, more than 1,300 people were evacuated in 2010 alone due to high levels of carbon monoxide within hotels. Many of these people were hospitalized for their exposure.

The Law on CO Monitors

Given the significant threat, it would seem logical that hotels would install CO monitors, and that there would be laws mandating this simply for public safety. However, no such laws exist, and few, if any, hotels have any type of carbon monoxide monitoring system in place. Part of the problem is that the monitors are relatively expensive (around $100 per monitor), and hotels would need to install one monitor per room, which equates to a significant expense per property.

For Those Injured

For those who have been injured and the families of those killed by exposure to carbon monoxide in a hotel, there are few options open. Perhaps the best solution is to retain a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases, including carbon monoxide exposure. This can help ensure that medical bills are paid and that any pain and suffering is compensated, something that can be impossible to do on your own when dealing with a hotel’s insurance company.

Topics: Personal Injury, Defective Products