Earlier this month, a tragic housing complex accident in Queens ended with two generations of one family shattered by the loss of one “very good boy.” The 5-year-old victim’s parents had left him in the care of his grandparents while they ran a few errands. Unbeknownst to the caretakers, the boy climbed out of a third-floor window and died after falling to the ground below. A preliminary investigation concluded that faulty locks on the bathroom door directly contributed to his death.
The boy fell from the third story of a condo in Queens at around 3 PM on September 11th. He lay undiscovered until a neighbor happened by. The neighbor notified the grandparents who rushed him to New York Presbyterian Hospital. Sadly, his injuries were too severe and passed at the hospital.
Police found that the bathroom door’s lock had been installed backwards. They theorize that when no one responded to the boy’s attempts to get out of the locked room, he crawled out the window.
The condo in question is one of four two-family units that are currently under renovation. It hasn’t yet been determined whether the bathroom lock was installed as a part of that construction or by a member of the household. That determination will be a critical issue in whether the building owner would be liable for this tragic accident.
Whether the locks were installed by the landlord, a handyman employed by the landlord or by a private contractor, all the parties could potentially be held financially liable for the boy’s death under the prevailing premises law. While these individuals have a duty to protect you from harm and maintain your living space in a safe manner, was it reasonable to expect anyone to climb out of a window and injure themselves. One mitigating factor is that the standard will be judged by what a reasonable 5 year old would have done under the circumstances.
If you’ve been injured because your landlord’s negligence, contact an experienced housing complex injury attorney in New York City.