Whether you are in a parking lot, industrial setting or returning home to your apartment, proper lighting makes tasks easier – and safer. People glean about 85 percent of their information through their sense of sight, which means lack of appropriate lighting can effectively cripple you – leaving you vulnerable and unable to avoid hazards that might otherwise be obvious. It also in some settings has the potential to invite criminal elements.
At The Ansara Law Firm, we know that property owners duty to make sure the site is reasonably safe for lawful guests.
When there is insufficient lighting, it creates an unsafe condition. Poor lighting can be the cause of numerous different types of injury that can occur on property, including:
- Traffic accidents (in a parking lot, parking garage or on the road)
- Stairway fall
- An attractive environment for crimes, which may increase the odds of a crime occurring (i.e., inadequate security)
These types of claims fall under the umbrella of premises liability, which holds accountable property owners for unsafe conditions. In the dark, hazards such as dips, holes, wires, vehicles or other people may not be visible at all, which greatly heightens the risk of a serious injury.
Of course, everyone has a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings and be mindful to avoid clear and obvious dangerous. But those who construct and maintain properties have to be attentive when it comes to where light sources should be placed in order to keep a space safe and well-lit. This is especially true in areas where it’s reasonably foreseeable that poor lighting could contribute to an accident or other injury-causing incident.
There have to be enough lights available in order to keep potential hazards in view. Anywhere people might reasonably venture, property owners have to make sure no portion is dark or dim. That could mean installation/ inspection/ replacement of:
- Overhead lights
- Floor lights
The exact lighting needs will depend on the nature of the location. Property owners need to bear in mind that:
- Sufficient lights need to be provided.
- Malfunctioning lights need to be repaired.
- Proper lighting is essential to safety, which is a reasonable visitor expectation.
- If adequate lighting can’t be provided, it’s reasonable to restrict access.
Employers should take note too that inadequate lighting is one of the top four reasons why office workers are hurt on-the-job in fall-related accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Claims for work-related injuries are probably going to fall under workers’ compensation laws, though if another entity was responsible for lighting (i.e., the commercial landlord or property owner), the worker may have an additional claim for third-party liability against that party.Inadequate Lighting Slip-and-Fall
The inability to see properly increases the risk of injury for people navigating all types of scenarios, and one of those is encountering slippery floors.
F.S. 768.0755 holds that if a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person has to prove the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.
Inadequate lighting can contribute to a slip-and-fall injury, and it’s usually easier to show that a defendant knew or should have known about that issue than about a specific spill on the floor.
Many times we see poor lighting slip-and-falls at or near:
Pool areas. Many pool designers like to create ambiance in their designs, and this often means incorporating lower lighting, particularly for indoor pools or night swimming. However, pools are notoriously dangerous for inadequate lighting falls because slippery surfaces and puddles can be hidden by darkness.
Walkways and sidewalks. Particularly in the summer months, South Florida is rain-soaked almost every afternoon. Humidity too can contribute to moisture on walkways. Someone can easily slip-and-fall in these conditions when there isn’t proper lighting to see the way.
Stairwells and staircases. In parking garages, condos, apartment complexes and more, exterior staircases are prone to hazards like beach sand, humidity, rain and other potentially slippery conditions that can’t be seen at night without proper lighting.
Another major problem with lack of proper lighting is the potential for a third-party criminal attack. Most often, we would see this in parking garages and parking lots, though it could also occur in other types of businesses such as restaurants, stores and theme parks.
In these cases, burden will be on the plaintiff to prove the property owner knew or should have known the risk of a criminal attack was foreseeable and therefore should have addressed the poor lighting in the area.
These types of premises liability claims are often complex and require expert witness testimony. An experienced injury lawyer can help guide you through the process.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.