Safety depends on many things, but one of the most critical components is having lighting sufficient to illuminate interior and exterior areas as well as walkways in order to keep people safe from preventable accidents and violent crimes. Many times, a homeowner, property manager, or commercial property owner will fail to install or maintain adequate lighting, leading to dangerous conditions.
If you were injured as the result of insufficient lighting, there may be something that you can do to get the compensation that you need to recover from your injuries and deal with the emotional consequences of the harm that you suffered. The skilled Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to fight on your behalf. Our firm has more than 130 combined years of experience in advocating for our clients and we are ready to work hard for you.
The owner or manager of a property has an obligation to maintain the premises in a safe manner. While this responsibility takes different forms depending on whether it is a commercial property or a private residence, there is a duty to ensure the safety of guests and invitees, and to a lesser extent even trespassers. If there is inadequate lighting in a private home or building, a warning to guests may be sufficient, while the owner or manager of a commercial building may have to take more active steps to protect the well-being of those on the premises.
Lighting problems can take many different forms. In some buildings, there can be insufficient light inside the premises, leading to an inability to see the floor. When this is combined with uneven floor surfaces, changes in elevation, including step downs, or a set of stairs, a person can take a serious fall. This problem may exist outside the premises in the commonly maintained areas. A person may fall because they cannot observe the uneven surfaces. Although there can be a design problem that simply did not call for enough lights to be included in the construction of the interior and exterior of the property, there also can be a maintenance problem, where there is no routine inspection for burnt out bulbs or there is no protocol for replacing unlit or missing bulbs. Another form of negligence is where the owner ot their representative, knew or should have known of a dangerous condition and done something to fix it or warn of it.
One of my first cases involved a fall by a then 72 year old former teacher and children’s book author outside of a Coconut Grove restaurant when she was exiting from the front porch. I went to the property and looked at it and could not understand how the fall happened. I decided to meet my expert at the property at night, approximating the same lighting conditions which existed at the time of the fall. What we learned turned the case into a jury verdict finding the restaurant 100% at-fault. We observed that there was a shadowbox wooden fence which when the street light from across the street was on, made the entrance/exit of the restaurant appear as if it were camouflaged making it impossible for anyone to see a change in elevation. We have used site visits on many, many cases in order to see what the conditions were like…
negligence can have terrible consequences.
Poor or inadequate lighting can lead to the following accidents:
• A slip, trip, or fall on flat surfaces that may have some uneven points or other hazards that a person could avoid if he could see them;
• A fall down stairs that were not properly illuminated;
• A hard impact with an unseen protrusion or object in the area;
• A car crash in a parking lot where there was insufficient lighting to view the area around the vehicle; and
• Other serious accidents that could have been prevented with proper lighting.
A lighting failure also may lead to a criminal act that could have been prevented if the area were well-illuminated. This may include:
• A robbery, mugging, or physical attack that took place in an area where there should have been sufficient light to reveal the presence of another person and allow the victim to choose an alternative route; or
• A sexual assault or rape in or on the grounds of an apartment building or complex, shopping mall, motel or hotel, parking lot, airport, or after-hours ATM.
When reviewing the facts of the case, it is important to look at whether the problem with the inadequate lighting had lasted long enough for the parties who committed the crime to become aware of the problem and move into the area. A thorough analysis of complaints and requests for maintenance action will help build a strong case against the building owner or management.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano Represents Victims in Premises Liability Cases
The attorneys at South Florida law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 120 years of collective experience getting justice for clients who were injured as a result of another person’s negligence in a residence, retail establishment, or other location where they expected to be safe. We have recovered millions of dollars for people injured in premises accidents or criminal attacks that could have been prevented. We have received the highest rating, AV, from Martindale Hubbell and have been voted one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald. In addition, we were asked to join Primerus, an esteemed legal society. To discuss what happened to you, please call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website.