Poor lighting can be a hazard that may contribute to a slip and fall. It can also increase the defendant’s liability, making it more likely you will prevail on a personal injury claim.

Slip and fall cases can be surprisingly complicated. In California, an injured plaintiff must show that the defendant– usually a property owner– was careless and that this caused the accident. But defendants often allege that the fall was the fault of the injury victim. It helps to work with a seasoned Los Angeles personal injury lawyer from our team who can anticipate and respond to whatever the other party throws at you to deflect from their liability.

Slip and fall liability in California

In general, property owners must protect those who are lawfully on the premises, and sometimes may even be held responsible for injuries to trespassers. To be legally liable, the injured party must show that:

  • The defendant had sufficient control over the property or its condition that they had a legal duty to keep those who enter safe from harm.
  • The property had some defective condition, like improperly waxed floors, spills, leaks, or areas of disrepair.
  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have known (such as through regular inspections) about the defective condition.
  • The defendant did not fix the property defect or warn about it; and
  • The defendant’s breach of duty to repair or warn caused the injured party’s fall and injury.

Slip and fall liability based on poor lighting

Many locations on both commercial and residential property can be made much more dangerous by insufficient light:

  • Polished entrance ways – Slick tiles are a hazard made more dangerous when the floor cannot be seen clearly.
  • Stairwells and staircases – Poor lighting can make a frayed stair mat, loose railing, or another maintenance issue harder to see.
  • Pool areas and patios – Especially at night, a slip can lead to injuries from impact with the pavement or even a fall in the pool.
  • Parking lots and walkways – Dim lighting can obscure cracks, debris, uneven pavement, and other fall hazards.

Protecting against injuries from poor lighting

In some situations, it may be apparent that even if the property owner did not know about a dangerous condition, they should have. For example, if the premises are open to the public– then there may be a duty to inspect the area regularly to prevent harm. If this did not happen, then the property owner cannot use “I did not know” as an excuse for not fixing a problem.

Once a property owner knows about poor lighting or other premises’ defect, they have a duty to act reasonably. There are many ways that they can prevent an injury, including:

  • Fixing the defect
  • Placing warning signs about the poor lighting or a hazard that is less visible due to the lighting
  • Roping off a hazardous area when it is reasonable to believe someone may be injured

Your lawyer can help you determine, based on their skill and experience, whether the property owner’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances. If they were not, you might be entitled to compensation.

Pitfalls arising in slip and fall cases

When you are seeking compensation for slip and fall injuries, do not be surprised if the defendant tries to evade responsibility. Often the defendant will claim you were at fault, either completely or partially. Do not be surprised if the property owner claims that you caused the hazard, willingly assumed the risk, or were simply not watching out for your own safety.

These tactics do not need to deprive you of the compensation you are owed. Your lawyer will examine the merits of your case and any likely defenses and advise you accordingly.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you have suffered a serious injury, call to discuss your case, confidentially and without cost, with a slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles at Salamati Law. Our team strives to provide the highest quality representation to personal injury victims in Southern California.