Brian White | May 8, 2018 | Slip and Fall
When you are injured on another party’s property, you could be entitled to compensation under premises liability laws. One of the most common types of premises liability claims involves slip and fall accidents. However, trip and fall accidents are also common types of premises liability claims.
What is the difference between a slip and fall and a trip and fall? Both accidents involve falling and sustaining injuries on another person’s property. Why does it matter whether the person slipped or tripped before the fall?
The main difference between a slip and fall and a trip and fall accident is the type of injuries sustained in the fall. The way a person falls can impact the type and severity of the injuries they sustain. In a personal injury case, the type and severity of injuries can significantly impact the value of the personal injury claim.
Therefore, it can be useful to understand the difference between slipping and falling versus tripping and falling.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
When the surface you walk on is slick or slippery, your feet do not have the same traction as they do when you walk on a dry surface. The lack of traction can cause your foot to slide or slip out from under you. The sudden movement causes you to fall.
An example of a slip and fall accident is when a store waxes the floor and a customer slips on the slick surface. Another example would be something spilled on the floor in a restaurant or a leaky pipe in a hotel bathroom that creates a slippery surface. Both situations could result in a person slipping and falling.
How Do Trip and Fall Accidents Happen?
A trip and fall accident occurs when a person trips over an object and falls. The object could be a broken step, uneven surfaces, damaged flooring, or debris in a walkway. Trips can also be caused by uneven door jams, elevators that do not stop even with the floor, and holes in the ground or pavement.
When the person trips over the object, the forward momentum causes the person to fall. You cannot get your other foot in front of you in time to regain your balance and stop the fall.
Injuries Caused by Slips, Trips, & Falls
A person who falls because of a slip or trip can sustain severe injuries. In some cases, an accident can result in a debilitating condition or permanent impairment.
Some injuries are common in both slip and trip accidents. Broken bones are common injuries sustained in a fall, although the broken bone’s location may be different based on whether the person slipped or tripped.
Injuries Sustained in Slip and Fall Accidents
When you slip and fall, you typically fall backward. As your foot slips out from under you, your center of gravity shifts, and you fall backward.
Common injuries in a slip and fall accident include:
- Head and brain injuries, including concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injury, from your head striking the ground
- Back and spinal cord injuries, including herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, and nerve damage
- Broken and sprained ankles from the pressure place don the ankle joint as it slipped
- Neck injuries, including cervical fractures and whiplash
- Broken and sprained wrists caused as you tried to break your fall
- Shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff injuries, fractures, and dislocations
Of course, you may also sustain other injuries in a slip and fall accident. Prompt medical addition is required to diagnose and document the injuries.
Injuries Sustained in Trip and Fall Accidents
When you trip and fall, you are more likely to fall forward. Your foot becomes entangled with the object causing your leg to stop, but your torso continues in a forward motion. Depending on the angle of the fall, you could sustain severe injuries including:
- Broken bones and sprains in the hands and wrists from trying to break your fall
- Elbow and knee injuries
- Neck injuries, including whiplash and soft tissue injuries
- Broken arms and legs
- Cuts, lacerations, and abrasions from striking the pavement or floor, especially on your knees, elbows, and the palms of your hands
- Injuries to the face, including broken facial bones and eye injuries
- Ankle and foot injuries from tripping
As with a slip and fall accident, it is important to seek prompt medical treatment for injuries caused by a trip and fall accident.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Slip, Trip, & Fall Accident?
Property owners have a duty of care to maintain their property in a safe manner for guests and visitors. Failing to warn individuals of dangers and failing to correct hazards could lead to a personal injury claim. The property could be liable for your injuries and damages including:
- Cost of medical care and treatment
- Loss of benefits, salaries, wages, and other income
- Decreases in future earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological injuries
- Emotional distress
- Impairments and disabilities
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
If you are injured on private, commercial, or government property, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation. An attorney investigates your accident to determine liability and files a claim seeking maximum compensation for your injuries, economic losses, and other damages.
Five Steps to Take Immediately After a Slip and Fall Accident or Trip and Fall Accident
After an injury on another party’s property, you should:
1. Notify the Property Owner Immediately
Report your fall and injuries to the property owner or someone in charge immediately. Ask for a copy of the written incident report or get the person’s name and contact information.
2. Document the Accident Scene
If possible, take photographs and videos of the accident scene because the owner may repair the damage or remove the hazard before you can hire a lawyer. Ask eyewitnesses for their names and telephone numbers. Try to preserve your shoes and clothing after you leave because they could become evidence in your case.
3. Go to the Doctor Immediately
Prompt medical care gives you the best chance of a full recovery from your injuries. It also helps your personal injury claim. Delays in medical care can be used to argue that the fall did not cause your injuries.
4. Do Not Talk to the Insurance Company or the Property Owner
Do not provide a statement or answer any questions from the property owner, the insurance provider, or an attorney for either party. Statements that you make could hurt your claim. It is best to consult with an injury lawyer first.
5. Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Your time to file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall or trip and fall accident is restricted by the Texas statutes of limitations. If your fall occurred on government or public property, the time to file a claim could be as short as a few months after your injury.
Contacting a lawyer quickly also helps you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your claim. Having an injury attorney to guide you through the claims process and provide support and legal advice gives you the best chance of receiving a fair settlement after a fall.