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Premises liability and streetlight providers in Florida

Whether you are at a park, walking on a city street, in a residential area or at a store parking lot, individuals frequently travel by foot in these places during the daytime and at night. However, many have concerns about walking around these locations at night. Florida law regarding adequate lighting and liability when there are injuries and fatalities in an accident on a property can be confusing. One such issue has to do with whether or not the provider of the streetlights can be held liable for damages that befell a person who was injured or killed.

In general, the law states that the provider of the streetlight will not be found liable for a civil damages if there was injury, death or property damage due to the streetlight malfunctioning or its illumination not being sufficient and is found to have contributed to the incident. However, if the provider did not adhere to certain provisions, then there can be liability.

The provider of the streetlight will be protected by limitations on liability, but the streetlight provider is required to have given disclosure of the procedures it follows if the streetlight was not working or malfunctioning. If there are repairs made by the streetlight provider and the light again stops working or malfunctions, the issue must be repaired within 60 days after the actual notice that it was not working or was malfunctioning after the previous attempt to repair it. After the notice is received, if it is investigated and the determination is made that the light is working correctly, the information will be noted in the provider’s business records.

When the streetlight provider determines that the repairs cannot be made within 60 days, there will be a note as to when it can be completed. The provider cannot take more than 180 days to repair the issue unless the delay is due to the customer not following the proper procedures or by an unforeseen event such as a severe storm.

With a state emergency declaration, the provider will have one year after the emergency or 60 days after being told that the streetlight is not working or is malfunctioning, whichever comes later. When a person is injured or a family loses a loved one because of inadequate lighting, they need to understand the details of how they can file a claim seeking compensation. A premises liability is a possible recourse. This not only holds a property owner liable but also helps an injured victim cover expenses for medical bills, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, “768.1382 Streetlights, security lights, and other similar illumination; limitation on liability,” accessed on June 27, 2016