Posted on Feb 12, 2006
Boy injured in fall gets $13M award
Sun, February 12, 2006
TORONTO -- A 10-year-old boy who suffered brain damage after falling from an apartment window as a toddler has been awarded $13 million in damages and interest by an Ontario jury.
The award, which includes general damages and future care costs, is believed to be one of the largest sums awarded by a Canadian jury for a personal injury action.
On June 5, 1997, the boy, Harvinder Sandhu, and his brother had been staying with their aunt, just down the hall from their family's apartment in a west-end Toronto apartment complex.
The jury heard the weather was warm that day and the windows in the apartment were open. Court heard that Harvinder managed to get on a window ledge and fell through a hole in the screen covering the window, landing on a grass surface five storeys below.
The toddler suffered major injuries in the fall, including injuries to the frontal lobe of his brain, a fractured skull, injuries to his jaw and right eye, broken arms, a lacerated liver and a damaged kidney.
In the aftermath, the Sandhu family accused the building's superintendent, owner and managers of negligence and breach of duty of care in the incident and launched an action.
A trial began Oct. 19 and ended Jan. 16, with the jury hearing evidence that the child's aunt and her husband had complained to building management about the broken screen, but building management never followed up on the complaint.
The jury of three men and three women concluded the defendants were responsible under the Occupiers' Liability Act.
The amount awarded to the child included $11 million in future care costs for the disabled boy and a $311,000 award for general damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, said Nancy Ralph, the boy's lead counsel.
Having damaged the frontal lobes of his brain in the fall, Ralph said, the boy suffers from a very short attention span and impairment of his ability to initiate, continue with and complete tasks.