Falls are a significant cause of injury and death in the United States, resulting in approximately 8 million injuries and an additional 30 thousand deaths per year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A fall may have a single cause or result from a combination of several factors. In many cases there is an obstacle in a walkway, stairway, or parking lot that can’t be seen because of poor lighting in the area, causing a person to trip and fall. Falls frequently cause broken bones, back injuries, and other serious injuries. In fact, falls are the number one cause of brain injury related deaths. Many of these injuries can prevented with something as simple as adequate lighting.
The Property Owner’s Responsibility
Premises owners are required to keep their property safe from hazards that can cause injuries. This includes preventing slippery, uneven, or littered walkways and stairways and keeping them well-lit so people walking in the area can see and avoid anything that might cause them to get hurt.
Sometimes, the problem is simply lack of lighting alone, especially in areas with stairs or curbs. Without proper lighting, a person might not be able to see changes in elevation and unwittingly walk right into danger. If stairways and other fall prone areas cannot remain illuminated at all times, owners should install easy to find light switches at the top and bottom of every staircase or motion lighting which can be automatically triggered by movement.
Backup Lighting Can Prevent Falls
If an electrical failure causes an area of a store, apartment or office building, parking lot, or any other place open to the public to be without light, building owners should have generators or battery powered lighting available as a backup to prevent accidents. Reflective strips, such as those used in airplanes, can also be helpful in the event of a power outage.
It seems absurd, but we have handled cases where people are hurt because large companies decided to cut costs by not maintaining a backup power source.
Claiming Compensation from a Fall
A person who has suffered injuries from a fall caused in whole or in part by poor lighting conditions may have a claim against the property owner or person in control of the property for allowing an unsafe condition to exist. It must be shown that the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy it, that the claimant’s injuries were a result of the negligent condition, and that the claimant suffered actual losses.
For more details on the process, request our free guide, Dangerous Trips to Avoid in Your Fall Case.
Getting Help from a Slip and Fall Attorney
It takes an experienced slip and fall attorney to successfully pursue a claim for damages in Florida. Insurance companies are quick to blame the victim and deny responsibility. Florida’s comparative fault law allows for any amount awarded by a jury to be reduced in proportion to the amount of blame placed on the victim. Landowners often fix broken steps or clean up unsafe conditions immediately after an injury, destroying crucial evidence. Having the right lawyer can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a case. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation with an attorney at 727-446-0840.