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What Are the Dangers Associated with Inadequate Lighting?

Published on Apr 20, 2022 at 2:15 pm in Premises Liability.

Street light

Most of us feel uncomfortable when the lights go out unless we’re planning to watch a movie or are going to bed at night. The discomfort we feel stems from perhaps an inability to know what surrounds us when we can’t see it.

If you fear walking in a dark parking lot, garage, office, apartment building, or anywhere else at night when it’s poorly lit, then you might have a good reason to feel that way. We’ll highlight some of the dangers you face when there’s inadequate lighting below.

What Constitutes Inadequate Lighting?

What do you think of when you hear the term “inadequate lighting?” Does the thought of there not being enough light to adequately illuminate an area come to mind? While this is one way of defining this concept, it’s not the only way of doing so.

The other situations listed below may give rise to a potential situation where there’s inadequate lighting:

  • You’re one of the first people to arrive for the day, and lights haven’t yet been turned on.
  • Bulbs have been turned on, yet haven’t reached optimal brightness.
  • A bulb is burned out, or the overall fixture isn’t working.
  • The placement of lighting fixtures is ineffective.
  • There’s something obstructing the lighting, making it not as illuminating as it could be.
  • The wattage of the bulbs or type used (like a decorative color) is insufficient.

No matter the reason for the inadequate lighting, this factor can present injury dangers such as the ones outlined below.

Slip and Fall Dangers That You Face in Poorly Lit Settings

How many times have you ventured into a foyer, hallway, bathroom, or stairwell within an office building and nearly slipped on:

  • Tracked-in rainwater
  • A recently waxed or mopped floor
  • Spilled drink
  • Strewn papers

These are just some of the many slip dangers you face when visiting a business or residential building. There are even more trip dangers, such as:

  • Poorly placed planters
  • Boxes
  • An improperly secured entryway doormat

The dangers are just as significant at your local grocery store. In addition to the hazards mentioned above, you also have to worry about food packaging or spilled consumable products, like oils, pet food, ice cubes, and dry cereals. At department stores, you have to worry about clothing rack footers. Then there are slip, trip, and fall dangers you might face on the exterior of a building, such as ice, uneven pavement, potholes, and curbs.

All of these hazards are examples of ones you might face during an average trip somewhere. The potential of you getting hurt increases if the facility has inadequate lighting, though. How?

You might not notice a spill, chipped tile, or frayed carpet if you can’t see what lies ahead, making you vulnerable to slipping, tripping, and falling if the path is not illuminated.

You might also make the mistake of assuming that you’re heading into a room or out of a door on the same level if it’s dark, only to find that you have come to a stairwell once you’ve fallen down it. You also might not see debris on stairs or not notice you have one more stair to go down if it’s dark, leaving you vulnerable to tumbling and falling.

Struck-By Dangers Associated with Inadequate Lighting

If you’ve ever found yourself walking somewhere that cars frequent at night, then you’ve probably had a whole host of thoughts run through your head. You might have worried about the prospect of motorists not seeing you, thus crashing into you.

If you’re wearing dark-colored clothing and there’s little to no lighting in an area, then it’s going to be hard for anyone to see you. This concern is why safety advocates always warn pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists to wear brightly colored clothes to increase their visibility at night.

Even if there is some lighting or you wear fluorescent or reflective clothing, it may still be hard for someone to see you unless their lights are properly illuminated. There may be shadows or blind spots. This scenario puts you at significant risk of getting struck by an automobile.

Your Risk of Becoming a Crime Victim in a Poorly Lit Space

Dark parking lots are also dangerous. They put you at risk of becoming a crime victim. Statistics compiled by LedsUniverse suggest that 10% of all crimes in parking lots are car thefts.

Poorly lit parking lots aren’t the only place you have to worry about falling victim to a crime, though. The potential for a would-be criminal to take advantage of you at a West Virginia park, around an apartment complex, or any other similar area is a reality.

While you have to worry about falling victim to property crimes in poorly illuminated areas, as described above, you also have to worry about violent ones, such as:

  • Robberies
  • Carjackings
  • Murders
  • Assaults

What Can Be Done to Minimize Injury Risks Caused by Inadequate Lighting?

All business owners are responsible for ensuring that their premises are reasonably safe for their customers or visitors. They can do this by ensuring that there’s adequate lighting to call attention to potential hazards.

Other steps that property owners can take to reduce the incidence rate of light-related personal injury incidents include:

  • Placing light switches in intuitive and easily accessible locations
  • Installing motion sensor lighting if there isn’t constant lighting in an area
  • Using the adequate wattage of bulbs to adequately illuminate a space
  • Quickly repairing any malfunctioning or non-operational lighting equipment

Property owners can benefit from regularly performing risk assessments to ensure that they are reasonably keeping their premises safe.

It also doesn’t hurt for property owners to add deterrents like surveillance cameras or hire security guards to circulate to be on the lookout for distressed individuals or discourage would-be criminals from visiting their premises.

What Should You Do If Inadequate Lighting Left You Injured?

As you might imagine, based on the different scenarios described above, inadequate lighting can contribute to victims suffering various injuries. These situations may leave you with physical injuries and mental health injuries.

Virtually any Charleston, WV premises liability attorney will let you know about your ability to recover compensation for your broken bones, head injuries, and other physical impairments after an incident. Few will mention your ability to secure funds to cover counseling for the trauma you’ve endured.

Our attorneys at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, can help you recover compensation for your current medical expenses and future ones. Schedule your risk-free consultation to discuss your case today.

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