Two women who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning after a boiler was negligently serviced have received compensation.
In November 2003, a sub-contracted boiler engineer attended our clients' flat to carry out a service of her gas boiler and to assess whether it was suitable to be covered by a British Gas 3 star service contract. At the time of his arrival, the boiler was not working. The engineer informed both our clients that the pipe leading to the pilot light was blocked. He completed a service of the boiler and stated that the appliance was safe and satisfactory, though not suitable for a British Gas 3 star contract, on the basis that the closable air vent door on the boiler was inadequate for the air vents.
Within a few hours of the engineer leaving the flat, one of our clients had a headache and felt sick but did not relate this to the boiler.
During the next few visits to the property, both our clients noticed condensation on the windows and artex coming away from the ceiling.
The next time they stayed at the premises was in January 2004. After they arrived, one of our clients relit the pilot light on the boiler which had gone out and then went to sleep in her bedroom. When she awoke, she heard her flat mate collapse and suffer a fit. She also found it difficult to breathe. They were taken to hospital by ambulance and were found to have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. An engineer from Transco attended the premises that day and found signs of spillage and sooting from the boiler, with no evidence of ventilation. The boiler was decommissioned for use.
A claim was brought against the engineer by Katrina Elsey of Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Liability Team. Our clients received a combined compensation sum of £86,000 in an out of Court settlement.
Katrina Elsey said, "It is important, especially during the winter months when we are all using our heating more, to make sure the necessary checks and services are carried out to the highest standard.
"Carbon Monoxide poisoning is an extremely serious illness. The sub-contracted engineer in this case was in breach of regulations in place to stop this kind of oversight from occurring. He failed to service the boiler in a competent manner therefore allowing a very dangerous gas to enter the house.
"It is crucial that all people carrying out a service on gas supplies make sure they are following the correct procedures so that no one else is put at risk. The consequences of failing to do so can be fatal."
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