Daniel Galeas Killed In Harlem Window Fall Accident At 40-Unit Apartment Building On 133rd Street In Manhattan
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK (October 10, 2021) – A 3-year-old boy identified as Daniel Galeas has tragically died after falling out of a fourth floor apartment unit in Harlem on 133rd Street.
New York City police officials are saying that the accident took place around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 8th. Daniel Galeas was jumping on a bed when he lost his balance and fell through an apartment window.
Police officials found the victim in a stairwell that leads to the basement. Despite life-saving measures, Daniel Galeas died due to severe trauma from the fall.
Police confirmed that an AC unit was in the window at the time of the fall. Family members of the young boy told reporters that apartment management did not properly secure the AC unit in place prior to the accident.
Daniel Galeas was just a few days away from his fourth birthday when the Harlem apartment accident took place. A full investigation by the Department of Buildings remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Harlem Apartment Window Fall Accidents
Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death for children under 14 years old. According to the Stanford Children’s Hospital nearly 2.2 million children are treated annually in emergency rooms for fall related injuries. Falls are responsible for nearly 100 fatalities for children under 14 years of age. Nearly half of all of these accidents involve children under 4 years of age. There are a number of steps that can be taken to protect children from fall-related injuries.
- Windows should be properly secured.
- When possible, furniture should be kept away from windows.
- Doors to dangerous areas including porches, decks and landings should be locked.
Depending on the specific facts of any case, there could be numerous sources of liability for any accident involving a child that is injured in a fall. Property owners in New York City have a legal responsibility to exercise due care in order to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. This is especially true in apartment units where children 10 years of age or younger live. Steps must be taken to remove dangerous conditions or defects on the property.
If a property owner creates a dangerous condition through their own actions, they could be liable in the event someone is injured or killed by that dangerous condition. When a property owner has actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition, they must take steps to remedy that condition. See, for example, Rivera v. 2160 Realty Co., LLC, 4 N.Y.3d 837 ; Gordon v. Museum of Natural History, 67 N.Y.2d 836 . A defect could be created by an improperly secured window.
Window guards are required in many situations. According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, “In all buildings with three or more apartments, New York City (NYC) law requires that building owners install window guards if a child age 10 years or younger lives there, or if the tenant or occupant requests window guards for any reason.” Property owners who do not comply with this law (NYC Administrative Code §27-2043.1) could receive fines and be subject to civil liability in the event of an accident.
- Window guards must be made of a rigid metal and at least 15 inches tall.
- The gap between the window guards must be no more than 4 1/2 inches.
- The window frame where the guard is installed must be sturdy and well-maintained.
- The window guards must be tamper resistant and installed with one-way screws.
- When a unit has a child 10 years of age or younger, the AC unit must be permanently and safely installed.
The family of any child that died after falling from an apartment window may be able to seek recourse through N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1 (2021). Damages in a civil claim can help cover the unexpected expenses that often come with the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. Sadly, however, building owners will often fight tooth and nail to deny any responsibility for an accident on their premises. It is important that communication records between tenants and management is properly preserved. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Harlem Apartment Window Fall Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Daniel Galeas. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to the Department of Buildings. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of the family who have lost so much.
This accident also raises a number of safety questions. Was the AC in this apartment properly secured in this window? When was the last time this window had maintenance? What did the building owners know prior to this accident? This accident is a tragedy that should have never taken place. Window falls can nearly always be prevented when windows are properly secured with guards. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to make all of the apartment units in this building safer.