A 2-year-old Queens girl fell from a second-floor window the evening of July 21. According to a report in the New York Post, the girl’s father had just finished giving her a bath in their apartment on 26th Avenue near College Point Boulevard in College Point. The girl’s mother said her husband took their daughter out of the bath and went downstairs to get the hair dryer when the child got to the window ledge and fell off. Her mother was reportedly not home at the time. The family had left the window open because of the heat wave.
Police said the girl’s father who was downstairs heard screaming and ran upstairs to see what had happened. His other daughter told him that her sister was jumping on the bed and had leaned on the window screen before she fell out. The child had fallen through the window, which did not have a child guard, police said. The toddler was rushed to a hospital on Long Island and is expected to survive. She suffered a broken right leg.
What the Statistics Show
Window falls are tragically common in the United States and in New York City particularly in late spring and summer when families leave windows open because of the heat and humidity. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that about eight children 5 years and younger die each year as a result of falling from windows in the United States. Also, about 3,300 children 5 years and younger are treated each year in the nation’s hospital emergency rooms. Approximately one out of three children require hospitalization after suffering such falls. These incidents typically occur when children push themselves against window screens or climb onto beds or other furniture located near an open window.
Window Guard Laws in New York City
The Post reports that there were no window guards in this family’s apartment unit. Under New York City laws, property owners, managers, etc. have a responsibility to make sure windows have properly-installed guards. Local officials have the authority to issue property owners and/or property managers who fail to install window guards with violations.
Under the law, property owners and/or property managers are required to send an annual notice to tenants of multiple dwellings to determine if window guards are required. These guards are required on all windows including first-floor bathrooms and windows leading onto a balcony or terrace in an apartment where a child 10 years of age or younger resides. Guards are also required in each common area windows.
If tenants or building occupants want window guards for any reason, even if there are no children 10 years of age or younger, the tenant may request the window guards in writing and the landlord must install them. For example, grandparents who have visiting children, parents who share custody or occupants who provide childcare services may wish to request window guards, even though they may not have a child permanently living with them.
Compensation for Victims
There are a number of parties who may be held liable for falls from windows. Building owners and managing agents who have a responsibility to install window guards can be held liable for failing to do so. Owners of apartments, condos, hotels and homes can be held accountable for accidents that occur on their premises. When such an accident happens due to a defective window, screen or guard, the manufacturer, distributor or seller of a window, screen or guard can also be held accountable.
Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, lost income, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. If you have lost a loved one in such an accident, you may also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties.
If your child has suffered fall-related injuries due to someone else’s negligence (carelessness), the experienced New York personal injury attorneys with the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Our firm recovered $1,100,000 as a total payout for a child who fell from a window. The landlord in that case had not installed a window guard as required under the law. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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