Since elementary school, you have known not to ignore the beeping of a smoke alarm. Replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm when you hear it chirping can save you not only from a fire, which you would probably notice anyway because of the flames and the smell, but also from carbon monoxide poisoning, which is caused by an invisible, odorless gas. Carbon monoxide leaks in a house can kill a person within minutes, but these deaths are preventable if people install and properly maintain alarms that detect the gas. A carbon monoxide poisoning death that occurs because of a faulty alarm or because of a property owner’s failure to install one can be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Details of the Steinberg Case
Phyllis Steinberg, 92, lived alone in a single-family home in Valencia Isles, a community for people ages 55 and older who can live independently. Until August 2018, she was healthy; in the summer of 2018, she heard the carbon monoxide detector in her house beeping, so she called Castle Group, the management company hired by the Valencia Isles Homeowners’ Association to take care of such matters, to replace the batteries. The employee who replaced the batteries in the carbon monoxide detector allegedly did so incorrectly; while the device stopped beeping, its alarm did not ring when there was a carbon monoxide leak in Steinberg’s house. In August, she was found unconscious less than 20 feet away from the carbon monoxide detector that could have saved her life. It appears that she parked her car in the garage and forgot to turn off its engine, leading lethal levels of carbon monoxide gas to enter the house. Steinberg died in December from the carbon monoxide poisoning.
Steinberg’s daughter Valarie filed a lawsuit against Castle Group, which is based in Plantation. She alleges that the employee who serviced her mother’s carbon monoxide detector installed the batteries in a way that prevented the device from working when she needed it. If she wins the lawsuit, she could win compensation for the medical expenses associated with her mother’s final illness, as well as non-economic damages for emotional distress related to the loss of her mother.
The Legal Issues
Since Valarie Steinberg has named Castle Group as a defendant in the lawsuit, it appears that she and her lawyer believe that the carbon monoxide detector malfunction was due to the Castle Group employee’s error. If it had been because of an inherent defect in the carbon monoxide detector, then she could have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the device.
Contact Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers About Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death lawsuits are an option when a deadly accident results from someone’s negligence, and not only when the victim of the accident is young. If someone in your family has died in a preventable accident, contact Palm Beach County wrongful death lawyers at Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers for a consultation to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.