You’re excited to try a new restaurant. You park in the restaurant’s parking lot. It’s dark, and there aren’t any external lights in the lot. On your way into the restaurant, you trip over an elevated piece of concrete. You break your wrist and bruise your knee.
You are injured and wondering what your rights are for recovery are. You might wonder if you will need to hire a Miami personal injury attorney to help ensure you have the compensation you need to recover from your injury. Learn more about injuries due to poor lighting here.
What Are My Rights If I Fall Because of Poor Lighting in Florida?
If you fall on someone else’s property because of poor lighting, you may be able to bring a legal claim for compensation. Property owners have a legal duty to keep their property safe. That includes maintaining adequate lighting. When they don’t have good enough lighting, and you get hurt as a result, they might owe you compensation for your damages.
How Can Bad Lighting Lead to Legal Liability in Florida?
There are many ways that bad lighting can lead to legal liability. The company may not have installed adequate lighting for the intended use of the property. They may install proper lighting but fail to maintain it. A business may choose not to install adequate lighting on purpose to try to create a certain ambiance.
The standard for whether bad lighting leads to legal liability is if the business acts negligently. The property owner must maintain lighting on the premises in a reasonably safe way. While they don’t have to be perfect, they have to be reasonable. If there’s a problem that’s not immediately obvious, they need to warn customers that there’s a danger.
Poor Lighting and Florida Premises Liability
Accidents that result from poor lighting fall under Florida’s premises liability laws. The law says that the burden falls on property owners to keep their property well-lit and safe for customers and other people who enter on the property. The standard is what’s reasonable. The law says that it’s fairer to place the burden on business owners to pay for losses instead of the victim when the accident occurs because of negligence on the part of the business.
Property owners have two obligations when it comes to lighting on their property. First, they must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. That means more than just hoping for the best or fixing a broken light when someone reports it. Instead, the property owner must take active steps to inspect the property to discover problems. The other obligation that business owners have is to warn customers and other people who come on the property if there are any dangers that they can’t fix right away. The only exception is if the danger is obvious to people who come onto the property.
But we don’t know if I might still have fallen
It’s true that we don’t know if the accident still would have occurred if the lighting were better. But Florida law doesn’t allow the property owner to escape liability based on a technicality or “what ifs.” All you have to show is that the inadequate lighting was a contributing factor to the accident. It’s impossible to show what might have been, and the law requires you only to show that the poor lighting contributed to your injuries.
How Do I Bring a Claim After an Inadequate Lighting Accident?
The first step to bringing a claim after an inadequate lighting accident is to file an internal complaint form with the business. Most businesses have a procedure for reporting an accident. You should also take photos at the scene, if you’re physically able, and seek emergency medical care. None of these steps directly initiate a claim, but they’re still important to preserve the evidence in your case.
You begin your claim after a lighting accident by filing a formal complaint in a Florida court. The complaint outlines the facts of how you got hurt. It states how Florida’s premises liability applies in your case. Finally, you state your demands for relief. You complete your paperwork, file it with the appropriate court, and serve it to the other party. You wait for the other side’s reply, and you begin building your claim.
Proving Your Case After an Inadequate Lighting Accident
Building a strong case for compensation after an inadequate lighting accident often comes down to proving the facts. You need to carefully document what lighting existed at the time where your accident occurred. It’s also important to show what obstructions were in the way and what caused the accident.
Photographs of the scene are one way to prove what the scene looked like. You can also interview witnesses, return to the scene to investigate, and demand information from the business about the location and the lighting condition. An expert analyst can help explain the evidence to the jury.
Proving Damages in an Inadequate Lighting Accident
Another important thing to keep in mind is when you’re hurt in an inadequate lighting accident is that you need to prove what your damages are. That means showing how you’re hurt, both physically and emotionally, because of the accident.
Determining your damages in an inadequate lighting accident begins by looking at your medical bills. It’s important to get medical care to document your physical injuries and determine what exactly your injuries are. An experienced injury attorney can help you identify your damages including mental injuries, pain and suffering, and disruption in lifestyle because of the accident.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim After an Inadequate Lighting Accident?
You have four years from the date of your injury to bring a claim after an inadequate lighting accident. The time limitation comes from Florida Statutes 95.11. It’s important to bring your claim as quickly as possible if you’re hurt because of inadequate lighting. In addition to beating the deadlines, working quickly can also help you preserve evidence and begin to advance your claim.
Miami Injury Attorneys Bernstein & Maryanoff Can Help
Have you been hurt due to a poor lighting accident? Our team of premise liability attorneys in Miami has experience helping victims of poor lighting accidents. Whatever your problem or whatever questions you have, we’re ready to handle any situation and help you advocate for your rights.
We know that it’s hard to be the victim of an accident. Let us show you how we can help you and your family protect your legal rights and find the relief that you need. Call us today to connect immediately with a member of our legal team.
About the Author
Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.
Jack Bernstein is a hard-working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you’ve been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.