Out the Window

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Q: My husband was at work on the thirteenth floor of a skyscraper.  A heavy guy, he got into a play fight with a coworker who pushed him through the center panel of a bay window.  The three-story building next door was not high enough to save my husband.

A: Apparently, the owner had neglected to furnish windows of shatterproof glass and a safety rail across the window’s face.  In this way, the owner may possibly have failed to comply with applicable regulations.  With your facts in mind, one of the first things your attorney will do is review the administrative code and the building code.

If the window had a very low sill, part of your case will be that this made the window highly susceptible to such an accident.  In general, your attorney will argue that wise engineering and building safety practices dictated that a strong protective barrier bar should be installed and that tempered glass should be used.

To the extent that you rely on and regulations and codes, there is always the possibility that they simply don’t say what you would like them to.  For example, perhaps the building was up to code when built, and there is no obligation to retrofit it.

To the extent that the statutes don’t help you, then ordinary principles of negligence law apply.  Your attorney will look at the police report.  Does it call the play fighting ‘rough’?  He will read the Medical Examiner’s report.  Does it classify the death as a homicide?  She will examine the history of the tower.  Have there been similar occurrences?  Under ordinary negligence principles, a jury must find that such an accident was foreseeable.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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