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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Thought to Be the Reason for the Death of Couple on Lake Lanier

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Thought to Be the Reason for the Death of Couple on Lake LanierRangers from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources discovered the bodies of Gainesville residents Andrew Maronge and Julie Wright on a boat on Lake Lanier. The investigation is still pending, and an autopsy has not yet been completed, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that carbon monoxide (“CO”) poisoning appears to be the reason. The couple was found in the front cabin area of the 24-foot Bayliner cabin cruiser.

Boats like these are usually equipped with diesel generators, which means carbon monoxide can build up quickly. At this time, there is no information about whether or not the generator was running, or if the boat was equipped with a functioning carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat for boaters

It is a common misconception that in order to be poisoned with carbon monoxide, you have to be in an enclosed space. The truth is, you can be poisoned even if you are out in the open air. For boaters, this is a serious concern. C. Douglas Nielsen, a former game warden for Lake Mead, explained why in a piece for the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

While some may think they are safe because they have an open boat, nothing could be further from the truth. When idling or operating at slow speeds, or when operating a vessel with the bow in a high position, carbon dioxide can build up at the back of the boat or in the cockpit. A circular airflow draws or pulls carbon monoxide into the boat. Even a poorly vented canvas top can hold carbon monoxide.

The same holds true for those who fish, or try to ride the waves created by a boat’s wake.

When defective products lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

Because CO is odorless and colorless, you could be at risk without knowing it, and be poisoned without realizing what is happening to you. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we handle product liability cases involving:

  • Generators
  • Space heaters
  • Engines
  • Car exhausts
  • Leaking chimneys
  • Furnaces
  • Damaged or defective gas lines
  • Malfunctioning CO alarms
  • Faulty designs for products which release CO

We also handle premises liability claims arising from unsafe properties.

CO poisoning seems to be on the rise

As we mentioned, there is no new information yet about whether or not the Gainesville couple’s boat had a working CO alarm. Such an alarm may have saved their lives. Around 50,000 people across the country will visit an ER each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning, and defective and malfunctioning products will be the root cause of some of those visits.

The most visible example of this right now is accidental CO poisoning from keyless ignitions. All told, the New York Times reports that more than two dozen people have died because they thought their cars had been turned off, when in reality the cars were still running. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has even proposed a federal rule to install software that would alert people that their cars were still on, but the auto industry fought back, and nothing has come of it.

In other words, the auto industry as a whole knows they are creating a feature with the potential to kill people, yet they have issued no recalls and buck federal regulation to fix the problem.

What you can do if you are poisoned by carbon monoxide

If you or your loved one is exhibiting signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, the first thing you must do is seek medical attention. Prolonged exposure can lead to permanent brain damage and death, and you need to seek treatment immediately.

If your injuries were caused by a defective product, you do have legal recourse. HLM handles complex product liability cases for clients throughout Georgia. Our legal team has secured number one verdicts in both auto, product liability and premises liability. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, your lost days at work, any additional expenses you accrued in the course of your recovery, plus your pain and suffering.

Harris Lowry Manton LLP is an award-winning law firm serving clients in Atlanta, Savannah and throughout Georgia. We always work towards the best possible outcome we can for our clients. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers, please call our Atlanta office at 404-961-7650 or our Savannah office at 912-651-9967. You can also complete our contact form.

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