Who’s Liable for a Child’s Injuries After Falling From a Window?

Who’s Liable for a Child’s Injuries After Falling From a Window?

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, around 5,000 children age 10 and under fall from windows every year. Tragically, around 18 of these children die, and 1 in 4 children who fall out of a window have injuries severe enough to require hospital admission. These accidents don’t typically occur due to carelessness or a disregard for safety by the parents, but because many parents aren’t aware of how dangerous a window can be.

How Do Window Falls Occur?

Around 65 percent of all window fall injuries occur among children under the age of 5. Young children are mobile, curious, and don’t recognize the danger of falling from a window. Most injuries happen in the summer months when windows are most likely to be left open, and it probably doesn’t surprise most parents of boys, but around 60 percent of all window fall injuries are sustained by boys.

When we put aside the curious, rambunctious nature of young children, window falls can have several potential underlying causes. Some of the most frequent are:

  • Defective or broken window latches or childproofing devices
  • Lack of childproofing
  • Climbable furniture placed too close to a window
  • Incorrect installation of window or childproofing device
  • Negligent supervision

How Can Window Falls Be Prevented?

The easiest way to prevent window falls is to ensure that all windows are kept closed and locked as often as possible. If you need to open a window, open it from the top rather than from the bottom, and ensure that there isn’t any furniture that a child could climb to reach a window. If a child can open a window latch, or if the furniture cannot be rearranged, it’s essential to childproof the windows in your home.

There are several different options for childproofing windows, such as:

  • Window guards: usually in the form of bars placed over a window that allows the window to open without allowing a child to fall through. Typically, these guards have a childproof quick-release feature to allow escape in an emergency.
  • Fall prevention screens: similar in design to a normal window screen but manufactured with heavy-duty mesh that’s firmly attached to the window and rigorously tested to ensure that a child cannot fall through.
  • Window opening control devices: prevent a window from opening more than 4 inches.

Not all of these childproofing devices are suitable for all windows, so it’s important to make sure that you choose the right option for the windows in your home. It’s also important to keep in mind that a fall from ANY height, even the first floor, can result in serious injury. In addition, ordinary window screens are designed to keep bugs out, but even a toddler can easily break through a typical screen. 

My Child Was Injured After Falling From a Window. Who’s Liable?

Sometimes, even when we do everything right, tragedy strikes. For example, when a child falls through a window, it can be difficult to determine what happened. It’s important to find an expert to inspect your window to see if some defect or poorly designed feature may have played a part in your child’s injury. Many different parties could potentially be held liable depending on which factors contributed to the accident.

The window manufacturer, if:

  • the latch or locking mechanism on a window was defective, allowing a child to open the window easily.
  • the window itself was poorly designed and would not close all the way, or the glass was weak, thin, or loose.
  • The window installer, if:
    • the window was not installed or secured to the house properly.
  • The landlord of the property, if:
    • they do not allow or provide childproofing devices on windows.
    • they have been informed of a defect or damage to a window and have refused or neglected to correct the problem.
  • The maintenance company of the property, if:
    • they have not corrected a known problem with a window or have failed to notice a problem that a reasonable person would have identified.
    • they have installed a childproofing device incorrectly.
  • A school or childcare facility, if:
    • the injury occurred when the child was supposed to be looked after and kept safe by another person.
  • The manufacturer of a childproofing device, if:
    • the device was defective or easily broken.
    • the installation instructions were unclear or difficult to follow correctly.

I Believe Someone Else Is Liable for My Child’s Injury. What Can I Do?

The most important thing to do is hire an experienced attorney. A good legal team will help you determine who is liable and what the next steps should be. Injuries like this have a two-year statute of limitations in many states, including Pennsylvania, and evidence can be difficult to find as time goes on. So it’s important to act quickly and make sure nothing is missed that could help your premises liability case. Accidents like this often have multiple causes, so it’s essential to determine how much liability is held by each of the potentially responsible parties.

Why Hire Ross Feller Casey?

The highly accomplished legal team at Ross Feller Casey has extensive experience with all types of personal injury claims. We’ve recovered over $2 billion for our clients ($1 billion in the past five years alone) and have won more than 50 $10-million-plus verdicts and settlements. In addition, we have a team of Ivy League-trained doctors on staff, so we understand the medical complexities and potentially lifelong struggles that a child and their family can go through after a serious injury sustained by falling from a window. 

If you think your child’s window-fall injury is due to another’s negligence, then contact the lawyers at Ross Feller Casey today. We always offer free consultations, and there’s no fee unless you win your case. We’re ready to do whatever it takes to get your family the justice and compensation you deserve. 

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.