Slip and Fall Accidents Due to Inadequate Lighting

Slip and fall accidents based on poor lighting can be the cause of legal liability. When a slip and fall occurs, the owner of the property in question may be legally responsible. Legal liability is based on the failure to keep the property in proper condition based on legal standards. Failing to light the property sufficiently can be one way the property owner fails to comply with their legal requirements. Here’s what to know about inadequate lighting from our experienced slip and fall lawyers.

Dark Parking Lot Before Slip And Fall

Slip and Fall Accidents Based on Poor Lighting

Slip and fall accidents based on poor lighting are a form of tort liability. When a fall occurs because of inadequate lighting, the property owner may be legally liable. The standard is whether the property owner breached their duty to people who fell on the property on account of having poor lighting. Slip and fall accidents based on poor lighting may result in damages to the victim, including pain and suffering and compensation for financial losses resulting from injuries.

How to Win a Slip and Fall Accident Based on Poor Lighting

To win a slip and fall accident based on poor lighting, a victim must prove the following:

  • Duty – The property owner has a duty to the person who enters the property. In a slip and fall case based on poor lighting, this element is almost always easy to establish because property owners typically have at least some duty to people who enter on the property. However, the level of the duty varies based on the purpose of entry onto the property.
  • Breach of Duty – Breach of duty occurs when the property owner fails to meet their legal obligations based on poor lighting. The victim must prove that the property owner didn’t have adequate lighting. The question of breach of duty hinges on the facts and what lighting was used at the time of the fall.
  • Causation – The slip and fall accident must result from the poor lighting conditions. In other words, there must be a causal link between the poor lighting and the slip and fall accident.
  • Damages – To win a case based on inadequate lighting, the victim must have damages. It’s not enough just to slip or slip and fall. To win compensation, the victim must have financial losses, injuries, or other quantifiable damages. When there are physical injuries, the victim can also claim pain and suffering compensation. However, to win a poor lighting slip and fall claim, damages are an important requirement.

Related: What You Need To Prove To Win A Slip & Fall Injury Case

Court Cases About Inadequate Lighting Slip and Fall

One court case that talks about inadequate lighting as the basis for a slip and fall claim is Haibi v. 790 Riverside Dr. Owners, Inc.[1] The New York Supreme Court decided the case in 2017. The issue in the case was whether the plaintiff properly showed that the fall was caused by poor lighting.

In the Haibi case, the victim was injured in a fall. The fall occurred at the stairway of an apartment complex. Another person found the victim lying at the bottom of the apartment complex lobby stairs. The victim brought a claim for compensation against the apartment complex owners. The victim claimed that inadequate lighting caused the slip and fall.

The plaintiff had an expert witness. The witness testified that lighting at the apartment complex wasn’t up to building code standards. However, the plaintiff did not have an eyewitness to testify that the fall occurred because of the lighting conditions. The defendant argued that the plaintiff needed an eyewitness to link the inadequate lighting and the fall. The plaintiff argued that an eyewitness wasn’t necessary. The question was an issue of legal causation and whether the poor lighting was the cause of the injury.

The court sided with the victim. The court said that a victim doesn’t need to have an eyewitness testify that poor lighting was the cause of the accident. In fact, the court said that having a lay witness testify about whether the lighting was the cause of the accident would be speculation on the part of the witness. The court said that it was enough for the victim to present evidence that identifies the hazard. The court noted that once the plaintiff identifies the hazard, it’s up to the jury to decide causation.

How Can Poor Lighting Be Grounds for Legal Liability

Inadequate lighting as a basis for legal liability can occur in several ways. On the one hand, lighting can be inadequate because of poor landscape design. For example, a restaurant may use dim lighting to have a certain ambiance. A theater or casino may want to use low lighting to give the room the desired atmosphere. But when the lighting is inadequate for the needs of patrons, and a fall occurs, the lighting may be grounds for legal liability even though it’s lighting that a designer chooses on purpose.

On the other hand, poor lighting can occur because a light or entire lighting system is broken. There might be a better lighting system that’s not in use at the time of the accident. Whether the lighting is intentionally poor or whether there’s an unintentional failure of the lighting system, poor lighting can be grounds for legal liability for a property owner. It’s up to the plaintiff to have the evidence to show that the lighting is inadequate.

How an Attorney Can Help You Win a Slip and Fall Case Based on Bad Lighting

An experienced attorney can help you determine what legal duty applies to your slip and fall case based on bad lighting. They can help you examine the case to see if it meets the legal requirements based on the legal duty in place at the time of the accident. When you qualify to bring a claim, your attorney aggressively builds the evidence and takes other legal action to win the compensation that you deserve.

Call Our Slip and Fall Legal Team

Were you in a slip and fall because of bad lighting? The attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, have a full-service legal practice devoted to helping accident victims. We have the experience and drive to ensure that you win the maximum amount of compensation for your slip and fall case. Call us today for a confidential consultation about your claim.


[1] Haibi v. 790 Riverside Drive Owners, Inc., Index No. 116364/2009

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