Getting a Recovery for an Infant’s Fall from a Window


New York City law requires that apartments with young children have window guards in order to prevent an infant from falling from a window.   See the New York City website here.

Where a child falls from an unguarded window there may be a case against the landlord for the child’s injuries.  Also, there may be a case where the a window guard fails due to either negligent installation, negligent repairs, or use of a non-approved guard.

    Recently, a child fell about 7 stories from a housing project window.  See story here.   The child landed on grass, and miraculously she is expected to recover from her injuries.  In another recent story, an infant fell from the 2nd story and died.

Window guards are required as follows:

  • if you live in a house with 3 or more apartments and a child living in your apartment under the age of 11;
  • window guards are required in every window except for the fire escape window; and
  • window guards are required for public hallways.

Even if you do not have a child under 11 living with you, you can ask the landlord to install window guards.  For example, grandparents who have their grandchildren stay over might want to have window guards installed.

The landlord must send an annual questionnaire to the tenants to ascertain if children under 11 reside in the apartment and whether guards must be installed.  It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide and install them. 

Here are some of the issues that arise in a case involving an infant’s fall from an unguarded window:

  • did the parents ask for window guards?
  • did the parents return the questionnaire, and does the landlord have the questionnaire on file indicating that children under 11 live in the apartment?
  • if the window guard were broken, was the landlord told to repair it before the accident?
  • did the tenant remove a window guard installed by the landlord?
  • if the window guard were loose or malfunctioning, did the tenant cause the condition by either negligent repairs or negligent installation?
  • even if the tenants did not respond to the questionnaire, should the landlord have been placed on notice on notice of children living in the apartment by having his superintendent or managing agent do a survey door to door?

As in any accident case, early investigation is necessary to prove a case.

If your child has been injured from a fall due to either a lack of window guards or faulty guards, then please call me at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com for a free consultation.

Mark E. Seitelman, 8/26/09, www.seitelman.com.

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