It happens more than 5,000 times each year, or 14 times every day, across the United States. A child falls from a window and is hurt badly enough to require treatment in an emergency room, with about one-fourth of those children injured badly enough to remain hospitalized. Some suffer injuries that are fatal. It occurred just recently, in mid-October, when a four-year-old boy was killed in a fall from a seventh-floor apartment balcony near Philadelphia’s City Avenue. Police said a window screen leading to the balcony was broken. Last May, a three-year-old girl was hospitalized after she and her twin sister fell some 20-30 feet from a second-floor window of a home in the city’s Germantown section. One girl was treated and released but her sister suffered a fractured skull.
Windows can present a danger and often screens are a part of the problem, offering a false promise of security. But screens are often not strong enough to hold the weight of a child. One report notes that 83 percent of windows from which a child falls had a screen. In some of these cases, a screen may be broken, defective or have a tendency to come loose.
In some instances in which a child falls from a window, a landlord or others can be at fault. Last April, such a case resulted in a $5.5 settlement with a landlord and companies doing renovations on a building in North Philadelphia. In an earlier case, Shanin Specter won a $12.25 million settlement in a lawsuit for a two-year-old boy who suffered brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye after a three-story fall from a Philadelphia apartment. Specter had investigated the tragedy and found that there had been a long-standing problem with screens -- specifically that pins holding them in place had a tendency to “pop out” – and that the apartment complex management had been notified previously about the problem by other tenants.
Kline & Specter, which handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and across the nation, works on cases in which children have been seriously injured in falls from windows. You can contact us through this website or by calling 800-243-1100.