A medical examiner in Western North Carolina knew that an elderly couple had died from carbon monoxide poisioning after being exposed while staying at a hotel in Boone, but he failed to report it. One week after the couple died, an eleven-year-old boy stayed in the same hotel room and died from carbon monoxide exposure.
Now officials have determined that a negligently maintained air filter system was not ventilating properly and funneled the poisonous gas into the hotel room.
There are multiple areas of negligence in this tragic accident. For one, the hotel should have maintained sufficient ventilation, a maintenance schedule, and reports of routine care. Another, the hotel could have suspended access to the room in question until an investigation was complete for the safety of other guests. Yet another, the medical examiner should have contacted the state as soon as the toxicology reports revealed the carbon monoxide exposure.
The surviving family members of the elderly couple and the young boy may very well have grounds for wrongful death lawsuits against the North Carolina hotel. It remains to be seen, but an investigation will determine if the medical examiner holds liability for a wrongful death claim on behalf of the boy's surviving family members as well.
Learn more about premises liability in North Carolina.