Fall From Height
TENANT (PLAINTIFF) FALLS FROM 4TH FLOOR WINDOW ONTO SIDEWALK
REVIEW OF THE EVENT
The Plaintiff stated that he attempted to raise the lower window frame of the living room window when the frame dislodged and fell on his back causing him to fall out of the open window head first. The Plaintiff survived the fall.
OBSERVATION AND ANALYSIS
1. Witness stated that they saw the Plaintiff lying on the sidewalk close to the point where the grocery store and gift store adjoin. Witness also stated that the plaintiff was lying in the middle of the sidewalk, face down in a north south direction with his head toward the building and his feet toward the curb.
2. Another witness stated that he went to plaintiff’s apartment when the police were making an inspection. He observed that the sofa was in front of the living room window approximately one foot (1′) in front of the window sill. He saw part of the window lying on the sofa. He also stated that the Plaintiff was lying face down on the sidewalk.
3. A third witness from the grocery store stated he heard a thump on the sidewalk outside of the store. He stated that the plaintiff was lying on the sidewalk with his head toward the building and feet toward the curb. He said it was raining and that when he looked up he saw curtains blowing out from the window and the window frame hanging out of the window.
4. The Plaintiff stated that while attempting to fix the lower window of the double hung window the window fell out of the frame and struck him on the back causing him to fall forward and out the window.
5. If the upper window struck the Plaintiff on the back, the direction of the force of the window would have been in a downward direction. Assuming that the force of the window caused the Plaintiff to fall forward and out of the window, he would have fallen out at the middle of the window, and he would have fallen straight down along the centerline of the window line. The point where the Plaintiff would have come to rest would have been under the center of the window line. (See figure below)
6. The Plaintiff would have gone out of the window head first. This type of fall offers little longitudinal rotation to his body and he should have landed with his head toward the curb and feet toward the building, with his feet probably close to the building because he had no or very little initial horizontal velocity. The height of the fall was approximately thirty-seven feet (37′) and would have taken approximately one and one-half seconds(1-1/2″). It should be noted that the Plaintiff would have probably struck the air-conditioner installed in the living room window of the apartment below. (See sketch below) The force perpendicular to the window was from the window frame falling on the Plaintiff as he stated. The force could only project the Plaintiff directly out of the window in line with the center of the window. It could not direct the Plaintiff to the right. A force at an angle to the window could only be applied to the Plaintiff from outside the window.
7. The Plaintiff was observed to be lying between the common line of the grocery store and the gift store and in line with the “G” of Gifts at the approximate center of the sidewalk. The width of the sidewalk measured approximately 18′-3″. The horizontal measurement from the centerline of the right window to the common line joining the grocery store and gift store was approximately 4′-8″. The horizontal measurement of the centerline of the right window and the “G” of Gifts was approximately 3′-3″. In order for the Plaintiff to have fallen horizontally between 3′-3″ and 4′-8″ from the center line of the right window, his movement must have horizontal before he fell. This movement would have projected him in a direction parallel to the building. This horizontal movement could have only occurred if the Plaintiff’s movement was initiated outside of the building, not inside. The horizontal movement, in all probability, was initiated by the Plaintiff as he climbed from the outside of the fire escape to the left window, which had the air-conditioner installed, a distance of approximately 3.5′. He probably stepped on the air-conditioner and then stepped onto the adjacent window sill. Because of the rain he probably slipped either on the air-conditioned or the window sill. He probably attempted to grab onto the opened living room window but could not. This horizontal motion caused him to come to rest off of the centerline of the window. The Plaintiff, while moving along the outside of the building had his back to the street as he faced the building. His fall probably caused him to rotate longitudinally, his head moving downward as his feet moved upward, causing him to land on the upper part of his body with his head toward the building and his feet toward the curb not perpendicular to the building or curb. (See sketch below)
8. The Plaintiff exited his next door neighbor’s living room window onto the common fire escape of the two apartments. He attempted to enter his apartment through the kitchen window which was locked by his wife when she left to go shopping. The Plaintiff noticed that the window adjacent to the window with the air-conditioner installed was opened. The Plaintiff climbed over the fire escape railing attempting to enter his apartment via the right living room window by stepping onto the the air-conditioner then stepping onto the adjacent window sill. Because of the rain, he lost his footing, grabbed for the opened window while moving to his left and pulling it from the frame, he fell to the ground. This opinion was based upon where the Plaintiff landed. The fact that he landed approximately 3′ – 4′ off of the center line of the living room window line made it evident that he had an initial velocity parallel to the building. Had he fallen from inside to outside as he claimed, he would have fallen in line with the living room window line.Last update: 09/12/2009