Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Hotel Guests Suffer Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Apr 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

When booking a hotel room, most people are looking to see whether the hotel is the right price, clean, or offers free parking. However, most of us overlook the real dangers of staying the night in a hotel room. Whether staying the night for business or on vacation, one of the most serious risks is something that you cannot see, hear, or even smell. Hundreds of hotel guests are sickened or killed in carbon monoxide poisoning incidents across the country.

Last month, a mother of two young children filed a lawsuit against a Super 8 Motel after carbon monoxide exposure. The children were attending a birthday party at the pool when a number of guests became nauseated, sick, and fell unconscious due to carbon monoxide poisoning. To make matters worse, the hotel had a carbon monoxide detector, but it was not plugged in.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. It can occur in furnaces, vehicles, boilers, and even swimming pool heaters. It is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Without a carbon monoxide detector, a victim falling ill or dying may be the first indicator that there is a carbon monoxide leak.

In North Carolina, a hotel company pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter in the carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of three guests. According to the district attorney, the hotel management was cutting corners to save money, turning the hotel into a deathtrap. A faulty swimming pool heater system was to blame for the carbon monoxide leak.

For years, people have fallen victim to carbon monoxide poisoning while they sleep the night away in a hotel bed. In 2012, a USA Today investigation found over 170 carbon monoxide poisoning incidents for hotel guests, including 8 deaths. Despite the hotel industry being aware of the problem, the issue continues today, with unsuspecting guests paying the price.

Even though half of all states require carbon monoxide detectors in the home, most states have no requirement that hotels be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. According to Lindell Weaver, a researcher at the University of Utah, carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels “can harm dozens at a time.”

The hospitality industry says the cost of installing carbon monoxide detectors is too expensive, given the level of risk. Tom Daly, a hotel consultant, says the chances of a hotel guest being poisoned is as rare as being hit by a meteor. Medical experts dispute such claims. Doctor Robert Rosenthal of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine said, “I've treated a number of people with carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels, but I have yet to treat a patient with a meteor injury.”

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning you should contact experienced personal injury attorneys to make sure you are compensated for your injuries. At Gilman & Bedigian we have been fighting for injury victims for decades, with a focus on getting you compensation, so you can focus on recovery and moving forward with your life.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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