Kenny Habetz Injury Law | April 15, 2023 | Slip and Fall Accidents
Most of us are familiar with a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, and those terms are often used interchangeably in personal injury cases. It’s important to know the distinction between the two if you have fallen through no fault of your own.
Do You Know the Difference Between a Trip and Fall and a Slip and Fall?
The difference between these two kinds of accidents may affect your claim. Slipping is just different enough from tripping over something that a savvy defense lawyer may argue that you, the plaintiff, were just clumsy and not entitled to the compensation you’re seeking.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident happens when you fall because you were walking on a slippery surface, such as:
- A hard surface covered with spilled liquid, a slippery solid, or a water overflow, such as in a grocery store or bathroom
- Carpeting with low friction coefficients (slick, low-pile carpet)
- Hard floors like wood or tile that have recently been polished or waxed
- A cold, hard surface with condensation, rain, or ice
Most people slip and fall because they believe that the surface they’re walking on has more traction than it actually does. A slip and fall accident becomes a personal injury case when the property owner fails in their obligation to keep their floors clean, clear, and free of liquid or ice that could cause someone to slip and fall.
When you slip and fall, you often fall backward, causing serious injuries like a broken tailbone or back and spine injuries. You may even hit your head and suffer a concussion or brain injury. Injuries can be serious and could cause permanent disability.
Trip and Fall Accidents
Tripping accidents are those in which you trip over an object or uneven surface and cannot stop yourself from falling forward.
Trip-and-fall accidents often occur when:
- The elevation between the sidewalk and the street is different
- The surface you’re walking on is uneven, like a cracked sidewalk or paving stones
- You trip over a rolled carpet edge or rug
- You trip over items or other debris on the floor, from construction debris to a broom or an electrical cord
When you trip, you fail to adjust your gait in time to prevent you from falling forward. You may not have seen the object on the floor in time to stop or may have misjudged the differential in heights between surfaces you’re walking on.
Victims in trip and fall accidents usually fall forward as the momentum carries them forward. If you’re lucky, you simply fall to your knees, but if you’re moving fast, you could fall flat on your face, which is painful and could cause permanent disfigurement.
Because the motion of a trip and fall accident is forward, not backward, the injuries from this kind of accident are different. Most people automatically put out their hands to stop their fall, so wrist and arm injuries are common.
Typical injuries from a trip and fall accident include:
- Sprained or broken wrists
- Facial injuries like a broken nose or missing teeth
- Knee injuries or damage to the patella
- Shoulder injuries or a broken elbow
Head injuries may not be as common in a tripping accident, but they could still happen. The complications from a trip-and-fall injury could impact your ability to work, take care of your family, or enjoy your favorite hobbies.
Final Thoughts About Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Whether you slip or trip, falling onto a hard surface hurts. The embarrassment may be secondhand to the physical injuries you suffer. Many people may pursue a personal injury claim against the property owner who failed to keep their property clean and in good enough repair to be safe for visitors.