Windows play significant functional and aesthetic roles in the realms of lighting, airflow, and emotional impact in every home. They may also serve as emergency escapes in the case of fires or burglaries. When windows are poorly designed or manufactured, however, they can pose serious threats to young and curious children. Every year, an average of 18 children, most of whom are under the age of 10, die in window-fall accidents. Another 4,700 require hospital treatment for injuries sustained in window-falls.
If your child has been injured or killed in a window fall, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible. Contact child window-fall lawyer Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Children may sustain very serious injuries from window-fall accidents. Children’s heads and brains sustain the majority of such injuries. Brain-damage sustained at a young and delicate age can be permanently disabling. Some of the most common causes of window falls include the following:
- Faulty or broken latches
- Lack of upstairs window guards
- Poor furniture placement
- Negligent supervision
Thus, a negligent supervisor, building owner or maintenance company, or window manufacturer may be legally responsible for your child’s window-fall injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cautions parents to never rely on screens to prevent children from falling from windows, to open windows from the top rather than from the bottom, and to keep furniture away from windows.
Legal Liability for Window-fall Injuries
Window falls can be caused by defective windows or window components or by someone’s negligence.
Defective Windows or Window Components
If a defect in a window or one of its components was a cause of your child’s window-fall injury, you may be able to obtain damages in compensation for your child’s injuries from the manufacturer of the window or window component and from anyone in the chain of the window or window component’s distribution.
Defectively designed or manufactured window latches that result in a small child’s opening of a window and subsequent fall may be found to establish liability for the child’s injuries on the part of the manufacturer of the window and window latches, the assembler of the window, the seller, and anyone else in the chain of distribution.
Windows designed or manufactured with improper fitting characteristics may also lead to such liability if, for instance, a child falls from a window that did not properly fit and became loose when a child leaned against it.
In addition, if a window manufacturer fails to provide purchasers with adequate warnings and instructions regarding window installation and safe use, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution may be held liable for a child’s injuries under a failure-to-warn theory if the failure to warn is found to have been a cause of the child’s injuries.
The negligence of any number of individuals or entities can be the cause of a child’s window-fall injury.
- Landlord Negligence
Landlords of buildings rented by families with small children have a duty under the law to keep the premises reasonably safe for children and anyone else living on the premises. This duty includes the duty to keep the building, including its windows, in good repair and to provide safety features for residents’ protection. A landlord’s failure to install (and keep in good working order) safety devices that prevent small children from opening windows—but do not at the same time inhibit escape in the event of fire or other emergency—may be held to constitute negligence on the part of a landlord for injuries suffered by a child in a window-fall accident if the failure to install such devices is determined to have been a cause of the child’s injuries.
Building owners are also responsible for keeping windows in proper working order and ensuring that damaged or worn parts are replaced or repaired. A failure to do so, if it results in a child’s window-fall injury, may be found to constitute actionable negligence.
- Maintenance-company Negligence
Rental building landlord/owners often employ maintenance companies to repair and maintain the rental premises. The failure of a maintenance company to install window safety devices, as described above, may result in liability on the part of the maintenance company and the landlord/owner who hired the company for injuries sustained by a child in a window-fall accident that might have been prevented by the installation of such devices.
Maintenance companies, as well as building owners, may also be found negligent for failing to repair damaged or worn window-latches and other window parts, particularly when the company has been informed of the need for such repair.
- Negligent Supervision
When preventable injuries occur to a child while that child is under someone else’s care and supervision, the supervisor may be held liable in an action in negligence if the supervisor’s failure to exercise reasonable care was a cause of the child’s injuries. Window-fall accidents have often occurred as a result of the inattentiveness of adults charged with the responsibility of supervising a child. This may occur in a private setting, such as one involving a babysitter, or a public setting such as a school, public building or daycare center.
Poor window design or manufacturing plays a leading role in devastating window-fall accidents. If your child has suffered because of a faulty window latch or design or because of someone’s negligence, contact child window-fall lawyer Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 for immediate and expert assistance in pursuing your legal options.