Visitor Question

No Outside Lighting Results in 2 Broken Ankles…

Submitted By: Melissa (Vancouver, WA)

I was walking from a friend’s apartment to mine through our apartment complex and I fell and broke both ankles. I thought there were only 2 steps and there was four. The ambulance driver said that they couldn’t even see how to get to me because it was so dark out, and that there should be better lighting.

Can I sue my apartment complex for not having outside lighting on the stairs?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Melissa,

You do seem to have a strong claim against the apartment owners and management. Those are two separate entities and your claims can be separate as well.

There are some personal injuries in which the injured party can proceed without the need for a personal injury attorney. Then there are those which require the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. This seems to be one of those cases in which the advice and legal representation of a personal injury attorney would be appropriate.

An investigation should be initiated to see if the apartment complex has had previous complaints of poor lighting, and worse, injuries suffered by tenants and others legally on the property that were injured.

This is usually accomplished by an attorney issuing a subpoena “duces tecum” – that is a subpoena a ordering the management and owners to send copies of those records to the attorney for her review.

The records will also show the names of those persons who filed previous complaints and who were injured. Your attorney may choose to contact them to get their statements.

Documenting your medical bills is also very important. That includes the ambulance bill as well.

A good personal injury attorney should be able to settle the case, or win it at trial and make sure you are fully compensated for your doctors bills, out of pocket expenses, any lost wages, and an amount for pain and suffering.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 15, 2011

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