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Can one be liable for injuries caused by broken street lights?

Technology continues to improve, making life much easier for Florida residents. Take, for example, smartphones. These products are very high tech and are capable of doing many tasks.

On the other hand, some technology was developed a long time ago and is continued to be used today. One such invention is the light bulb. Obviously the light bulbs people use today are much better than the one that Thomas Edison invented, but nonetheless light bulbs are still essential for people to see when the sun goes down.

People now just take them for granted and actually expect them to be present in certain places to illuminate the area and allow them to avoid dangerous property conditions. However, light bulbs break or burn out from time to time, and a person may no longer be able to see something dangerous, resulting in accidents and injuries.

However, the entity responsible for keeping the public lights on is not necessarily liable for these injuries simply because the light was not working at the time of the accident. However, they must follow certain rules in order to enjoy this immunity.

First, they must have a procedure on how they will provide notice to the public and its customers when a light is not working. Second, they must fix the broken light within 60 days of receiving notice that the light is broken. Third, if after investigating the problem, they determine that they cannot fix it within 60 days, they must make note of that and then fix it within 180 days unless it is due to a customer not paying a bill or it was destroyed in a weather related event.

People in Florida rely on streetlights to illuminate dangerous conditions. However, lights break and people may be injured as a result. The victim may want to seek compensation for his or her injuries, but the streetlight provider may only liable if they fail to follow the rules stated above. However, this should not deter those injured due to inadequate lighting from seeking the help they need.

Source: Florida State Legislature, "Florida Statute 768.1382" accessed on April 4, 2016

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