Can Poor Lighting Cause a Security Risk at a Business?
When you visit an Atlanta business, you may realize that its owner has a responsibility to ensure that the interior of the building is safe. However, that’s only one-half of their responsibility as a Georgia property owner. They’re equally responsible for ensuring its exterior is maintained in a safe condition for invited visitors and guests.
While how well-illuminated the property is may not be at the top of the list when it comes to what business owners need to do to ensure their premises’ safety, it needs to be. Poor lighting can pose a security risk, leaving you with injuries that require you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Below, we’ll outline how inadequate or poorly functioning lighting poses a security risk at a business. We’ll also address the potential injuries that emerge because of issues like these. We’ll then tackle how a negligent security lawyer like the attorneys at Bey & Associates generally handles personal injury cases attributable to poor lighting like yours.
What Impact Does Lighting Have on Safety and Security?
A University of Chicago Urban Labs report looked at the impact of the installation of new, high-powered lighting in housing developments in New York City, then compared the crime in those communities to ones that didn’t have any lighting. The researchers found that there were 36% fewer “index crimes,” which are defined as some property crimes and violent felonies such as aggravated assault, robbery, and murder. The installation of lighting led to a 4% reduction in crimes as a whole in these areas.
Similar studies have been published by the U.S. Department of Justice and Arizona State University with parallel findings.
If these studies about residential areas are any indicator of how unsafe business districts are when inadequately lit, then they let you know how important of a difference lighting can make to keeping individuals safe from becoming crime victims.
Dangers Inadequate Lighting Poses
As mentioned above, a person’s risk of falling victim to a crime significantly increases in minimal or nonexistent light conditions. Concerns a building’s visitors or workers have to worry about when navigating back to their vehicles in the dark include someone:
- Lurking in the shadows behind bushes, the corners of buildings, and cars lying in wait to commit a crime of convenience like a robbery or physical or sexual assault
- Breaking into your vehicle, stealing your belongings, or, worse yet, hiding in your vehicle waiting for you to get in so they can carjack you
The risk of becoming a crime victim isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when lighting is poor, though. You also have to concern yourself with other dangers, with the most common outcome being a slip and fall. These can easily happen in a poor lighting scenario. You may suffer injuries because you can’t see and thus fall on snow or ice, speed bumps, curbs, or potholes.
Injuries That May Stem From Inadequate Lighting Incidents
Victims may suffer different injuries, depending on whether they suffer a slip, trip, and fall type of incident or get hurt during the commission of a crime. Injuries in the combination of the two scenarios above may include:
- Cuts, bruises, and broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Head or traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Blunt-force trauma injuries that occur on concrete or asphalt, or that result from an aggressive physical attack involving weapons, tend to be particularly costly to treat. This is the case because they often require imaging, surgery, intensive care unit (ICU) stays, and rehabilitative care, such as physical or occupational therapy.
A wrongful death is also a potential outcome in poorly lit business environments.
What Falls Into the Category of Inadequate Lighting?
Georgia law requires property owners to maintain reasonably safe premises for those who visit. The existence of inadequate lighting might constitute a business’ violation of its basic responsibility to keep visitors safe. You, therefore, may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a property owner on the grounds that its poor lighting injured you if, for example, one of the following conditions applies:
- The property had adequate lights; however, they were burnt out or had timers that weren’t set to come on to protect visitors
- The wattage of the bulbs was insufficient to properly illuminate the space
- Lights were too distant from one another to effectively light up the area
- Motion sensor lighting wasn’t responsive or wasn’t programmed to stay on for long enough to effectively light a person’s path
- Existing light switches weren’t easily accessible or intuitively placed for individuals to use
Atlanta business owners have to make installing lights a priority. They also have to regularly check the ones they have to ensure they’re working properly to minimize potential dangers or safety risks. Unfortunately, as easy of a task as it may be to minimize some of their liability risks, not many businesses make their lighting a priority, resulting in unnecessary injuries and deaths.
What To Do if You Were Hurt Due to Poor Lighting at an Atlanta Business
Victims who can successfully prove that negligent security in the form of inadequate lighting left them injured may be eligible to recover damages much like any other personal injury plaintiff can. This means that you may be able to demand compensation to cover:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Funeral and burial costs
- Non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering
Know that Atlanta business owners and their insurers will fight liability for your injuries. That’s why you need a strong advocate on your side if poor lighting led to you getting hurt.
There are statutes of limitations that apply to Georgia personal injury cases like this, so it’s important that you proceed quickly in filing your claim to preserve your right to compensation. Reach out to our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation so we can go over your rights and legal options, and get to work for you.