By Stephen Anderson. Last Updated 13th September 2022. In this guide, we explain what’s involved in making a carbon monoxide poisoning claim. If you’ve been exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide, you may find your symptoms ranging from a headache to loss of consciousness. Whatever level you experienced, having suffered carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of third party negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
This comprehensive guide explains different kinds of breaches of duty of care that could lead to successful carbon monoxide poisoning claims. We’ll also talk about ways of determining whether you are eligible to make a claim and what health issues can be caused by dangerous carbon monoxide levels.
If you find that you have further questions or need to understand your particular circumstances, it is free to call our advisors on 0800 408 7825. They are here for you 24/7, offering legal advice with no obligation to use our services.
Select a Section
- Injuries From Carbon Monoxide
- Financial Suffering From Industrial Injuries
- What Is A Carbon Monoxide Incident?
- Additional Care Claims
- How Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Compensation Calculated?
- Case Study: £8,000 Compensation For An Injury Caused By Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Compensation Examples
- Make A No Win No Fee Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claim
- Seek Quality Personal Injury Lawyers
- Quick Contacts
- Other Guides And Resources
Though injuries are often not visible or long-term, carbon monoxide poisoning, or illness as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide, is subject to the same three main questions as any personal injury claim:
- Did the third party have a duty of care to you?
- Did they breach that duty?
- Did you suffer as a consequence?
Employer Duty of Care and Breaches
In broad terms, an employer’s duty of care is to protect, as reasonably possible, the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees. The employer must follow practices of ensuring the prevention of workplace accidents, whether physical or mental. This duty of care is contained within the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Breach of duty of care happens when employers fail to do everything reasonably within their power to keep employees safe.
As an employee, you must also take responsibility for your own health, safety and wellbeing. If you believe that you may have breached the following responsibilities in the eyes of your employer, it may affect your carbon monoxide poisoning claim:
- Take care of your own health and safety and that of others.
- Adhere to your employer’s health and safety at work policy.
- Use the training you have received.
Your personal injury solicitor should be able to advise you on what actions you can take and whether you are able to claim for a workplace accident under a No Win No Fee agreement.
Occupier’s duty of care
The common duty of care for occupiers of land or property (for example, a landlord or council) requires the occupier to ensure that a visitor is reasonably safe using their premises or aren’t at risk of being injured in the spaces under their control.
This is the law, whether the visitor has permission or not. If you feel that proper consideration was not taken to prevent your exposure to carbon monoxide and you’re looking to make a public liability claim, it’s important to consider the below:
- Were you reasonably warned of the risks of carbon monoxide at the property by the occupier?
- If there was an independent contractor involved, had the occupier taken reasonable precautions to allow them to advise you of the dangers?
- Did the occupier take reasonable steps to ensure the contractor was competent?
- Did you, as the visitor, willingly accept the risks and continue regardless? (If you did, this might affect your claim but your solicitor will be able to discuss it with you professionally.)
Carbon monoxide detector laws in England
In England, the law for carbon monoxide detectors in a rented property was updated via legislation called The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Amendments to this legislation will come into force from the start of October 2022. Under the 2022 version of the legislation, all relevant landlords will be required to ensure the following:
- One smoke alarm at minimum is equipped on each floor of properties they own where there is at least one room used as living accommodation.
- A carbon monoxide alarm needs to be equipped in any rooms used as living accommodation that also has a fixed combustion appliance (gas cookers do not count).
- Landlords should also ensure that smoke/carbon monoxide alarms in a property they manage are repaired/replaced as soon as possible when they are informed of faults with either.
Though rare, even low-speed road traffic accidents can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Road users have a duty of care to avoid causing damage to other users (including motor vehicles, bicycles and cyclists) in accordance with The Highway Code.
Whether the driver is experienced or not, they must have the care and skill of an ordinary driver and should be aware that other road users may not possess this same standard.
If you were involved in an RTA that resulted in illness due to being exposed to carbon monoxide, you might be entitled to make a carbon monoxide poisoning claim.
Financial loss (past, present or potential) can make up part of your claim and add to the compensation amount awarded. However, the financial loss is unique to individual cases.
For example, as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide, have you:
- taken unpaid leave from work?
- needed additional care?
- paid for medical expenses (providing you have evidence)?
- lost out on a workplace bonus?
- paid to travel to your medical appointments relating to the poisoning?
If so, you may be able to recover these costs as part of your carbon monoxide poisoning claim. If you believe you have lost out financially in any other way, your solicitor will be able to advise whether you can add it to your claim.
According to the NHS, in England and Wales there are around 60 deaths every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Whether a household incident, accidents in public places or workplace accidents, most exposure is caused by incorrectly installed or poorly maintained or ventilated appliances such as cookers, heaters and boilers.
RIDDOR advises that gas engineers must, by law, be registered under the Gas Safe Register. (If you believe your engineer wasn’t registered, it is important that you advise your personal injury solicitor.) Engineers work with dangerous appliances or fittings that could have flaws in the design, are badly constructed, installed incorrectly, modified or not maintained effectively.
Long Term Effects Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
As a result of being exposed to carbon monoxide, you may have experienced any of what the Gas Safe Register calls the ‘six main symptoms’:
- Loss of consciousness
If you experienced any of those symptoms due to being exposed and are looking at the strength of your carbon monoxide poisoning claim, it is important to ask yourself questions like:
- Did your workplace minimise risk by having appliances annually checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer?
- Did they go to other reasonable lengths, such as installing an accredited carbon monoxide leak detector or audible CO alarm?
- If a CO alarm was present, was it marked EN 50291 and did it have the British Standards Kitemark (as recommended by the Gas Safe Register)?
As part of special damages, your solicitor should advise you to take into account any additional care you required as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, depending on how long you were exposed.
Symptoms can get more extreme the longer you’re exposed and the higher the amount of carbon monoxide in the air. You may lose consciousness after 2 hours of exposure to a lot of carbon monoxide.
Long-term exposure can lead to neurological problems such as difficulty focusing or thinking and frequent emotional changes. High levels of carbon monoxide intake can cause severe symptoms such as vertigo, impaired mental state, seizures and even death.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you may have required a friend or relative to help care for you or even employed additional help (such as a cleaner or babysitter) while you recover. Whether it was for days, weeks or still ongoing, you may be entitled to claim additional care as part of your claim.
In order to prove any personal injury claim (whether an accident at work, road traffic accident
or accident in a public place), a medical assessment is required in order to establish whether the injuries were pre-existing and what the prognosis is. The result will help define the amount you may be awarded.
To successfully claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation, it’s important to obtain evidence. One way to achieve this is to get an assessment from your GP or a hospital as soon as possible. If you are a smoker, however, then it can be more difficult for medical professionals to identify carbon monoxide poisoning through a blood or exhaled carbon monoxide test (breath test). That’s because such tests detect a compound called carboxyhaemoglobin and smokers already have higher levels of carboxyhaemoglobin in their blood.
This increases the importance of seeking professional medical help as soon as possible and getting advice from personal injury lawyers on how to proceed.
Your solicitor will advise you on the two heads of compensation you can claim:
General damages compensate you for physical pain, psychological suffering and the impact on the quality of life. To help your solicitor determine the right level of general damages to pursue, they will, as part of your claim, ask you to attend an assessment with a medical expert.
This expert will assess your past medical notes, such as your attendance at your GP, and will review your condition too. They’ll put their findings into a medical report which your solicitor will use to help value and prove your claim..
Special damages relate to any financial loss you’ve incurred as a consequence of being exposed to carbon monoxide. However, you are not always guaranteed this compensation, even when you have won your case. For this reason, it is important to provide any and all evidence you have of financial loss. This may come in the form of things you have paid for (or are still paying for) such as:
- Transport tickets (if you’ve travelled for medical purposes where you wouldn’t have otherwise)
- Medical bills
- Additional care bills
If you are unable to work in your profession as a result of exposure, you may be entitled to more compensation but, again importantly, you will need to provide evidence for this.
Mrs Hyland worked as a receptionist at a private dentist’s office in Liverpool. She worked four days a week, rotating shifts with a colleague. The reception area would get cold and a gas heater behind the desk was often used.
On a particularly cold day, Mrs Hyland found herself suffering a headache and soon began to feel fluish. Her colleague agreed to work her shift. A few hours later, after resting at home, she began to feel better. She returned to work the next day and was told that her colleague had felt unwell too. Mrs Hyland continued her shift but regained symptoms. Mrs Hyland’s manager asked her to work for the rest of the day but to take short breaks outside whenever she felt very poorly.
When Mrs Hyland returned home, she had chest pains and felt breathless. Her husband took her to A&E where she was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning and treated with standard oxygen therapy. Her colleague sought advice from her GP as well, completed a blood test and was found to have been exposed to carbon monoxide too.
Mrs Hyland suffered headaches, fatigue and undue irritability for three weeks following the incident. She returned to work to find a new, properly installed heater.
After speaking with a personal injury lawyer about the incident at work, Mrs Hyland sought compensation for her suffering.
Using her hospital records and a photo a fellow colleague had taken of the heater’s label (showing it hadn’t been checked by an engineer for over a year), Mrs Hyland was able to prove that the heater had not been properly maintained.
The defendant tried to claim that Mrs Hyland had unusually high carboxyhaemoglobin levels as a consequence of smoking, which contributed to her medical results. However, Mrs Hyland’s colleague (a non-smoker) was able to prove through medical records that she, too, had been exposed to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide and may have suffered on a similar level had she spent more time working in the reception area too.
Mrs Hyland was awarded a total of £7,650 in compensation. This was made up of special damages, which amounted to £3,940 and £3,710 in general damages.
|Type of Special Damages:
|To and from A&E (and consequently doctors)
|Care from family and childcare
|Loss of Earnings
|Loss of earnings: £1,300
Spouse loss of earnings: £2,000
The case of Mrs Hyland is purely an example. It is based on our past experiences of handling and valuing claims and serves to illustrate how accidents can happen and how they are valued.
You may want more information about potential settlement amounts for a carbon monoxide poisoning claim. As previously mentioned, general damages compensation is based on aspects such as the pain and suffering caused by the injury and how badly you’ve been impacted due to it.
The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can give you more insight into the potential compensation you could receive for carbon monoxide poisoning. This information has been provided from successful court cases in England and Wales. They are from the 2022 guidelines, which is the latest publication.
|Type of Injury
|Bracket of Compensation
|An inhaler is required fairly frequently due to the breathing difficulties caused.
|£31,310 to £54,830
|Wheezing that does not lead to serious symptoms – anxiety about the future may be caused.
|£20,800 to £31,310
|Slight breathlessness that has no effect on working life. Substantial recovery is expected within a few years.
|£10,640 to £20,800
|Wheezing and bronchitis that does affect social life and work with recovery largely expected to happen within a few years.
|£19,200 to £26,290
|Mild asthma-like symptoms that can be caused by being exposed to irritating, harmful vapour.
|£10,640 to £19,200
|Smoke/toxic fume inhalation causing residual damage. However, this will not permanently affect lung function.
|£5,320 to £12,590
|The injured person will have largely recovered from their injuries.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|A virtually full recovery will be made within two years.
|£3,950 to £8,180
|Psychiatric Damage (General)
|There will be an obvious and clear improvement by trial, leading to a good prognosis.
|£5,860 to £19,070
|Psychiatric Damage (General)
|Factors that will contribute to compensation amount include how sleep and daily activities are affected.
|£1,540 to £5,860
If you would like to know how much your claim for carbon monoxide poisoning could be worth, please contact us for a free consultation using the above details. We can advise you on whether you’re eligible to claim and we may also be able to provide you with a compensation estimate. Furthermore, if you have grounds to make a claim, we could potentially connect you with our panel of solicitors for additional support.
A No Win No Fee agreement is also known as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ or CFA and is often used to fund personal injury claims.
Put simply, if you win your case after a workplace accident, you will pay your solicitor a small success fee, which would be deducted from your compensation award. If you lose, you will not pay their fees. This means the solicitor shares the risk of the outcome of the case with you.
The fee that you pay your solicitor for succeeding in your claim is seen as compensation to the solicitor for the risk of not being paid. Through The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, success fees for personal injury claims are legally capped.
A good personal injury solicitor, such as the personal injury lawyers on our panel, will explain the No Win No Fee agreement with you. And if you have any other questions about such agreements, our team is standing by to take your call.
A competent No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer, such as those on our panel, will work hard to get you the carbon monoxide poisoning compensation you deserve. With a wealth of options out there (and modern advances widening the location of where your solicitor may be), it’s important you are represented by a well-informed professional.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when looking for a lawyer:
- Do they want to settle for less compensation than you believe you’re entitled to?
- Do they answer your calls and emails quickly and effectively?
- How strong are their impartial online reviews?
- Do you trust them?
If you’d like us to help you find a specialist personal injury lawyer for you, our team of legal professionals are here to help for free and without obligation. You can call them on the number at the top of this page or send them a message using our live chat, bottom right.
Our team of professional advisors is on hand to take your call on 0800 408 7825, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also send a message to them here, or use our live chat feature in the bottom-right corner to get in touch today.
How Can We Lower The Risk Of Public Accident Claims In The UK? – Our guide to lowering the risk of public accident claims.
Members of the Public Accident Claims Hot Spots – Our guide on where the most common accidents occur in the UK.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – NHS article with medical information.
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 – Legislation regarding employment law and accidents at work.
Index of Data Tables – Up-to-date RIDDOR statistics on personal injuries, including gas-related.
Feeling Unwell? It could be Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Gas Safe Register engineers’ advice on carbon monoxide symptoms and prevention.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide to making a carbon monoxide poisoning claim.
Guide by UI
Edited by II
We hope this guide to making a carbon monoxide poisoning compensation claim has helped you. You can get in touch with our advisors using the contact details in this guide if you’d like more advice or support.