Difference Between Slip & Fall and Trip & Fall Accidents

Thousands of workers and older individuals sustain injuries in falls each year. However, falls occur at any age and can result in traumatic injuries and wrongful deaths. 

A person may fall from an elevated height or the same level. In either case, the result could be debilitating injuries. 

Two of the most common types of falls are “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” accidents. While the terms both describe a fall, the legal definitions of each term are different.

The difference can impact your personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer analyzes the facts of your case to determine what factors apply and how those factors affect your claim. 

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents occur when someone falls due to a slippery walking surface. Factors that contribute to a slip and fall accident include, but are not limited to:

  • Liquid or food spilled on the floor
  • Rain or ice tracked into a building
  • Recently waxed floors
  • Marble and other hard surfaces with condensation
  • Overflow of water from pipes or backed up drains
  • Oil or other slick substances on a walking surface
  • Ice or snow-covered walkways

When you step onto a slippery surface, your feet do not have traction with the floor. Therefore, it increases the risk that your foot could slide out from underneath you. As a result, you lose your balance and fall. 

In many cases, the person slips and falls backward. The resulting injuries can include:

  • Spinal fractures
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken arms and legs
  • Sprained or broken ankles and wrists
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Shoulder dislocation and injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage

Some slip and fall injuries can result in permanent disabilities and impairments. For example, a person with a brain injury may sustain permanent cognitive impairments, or a spinal fracture could result in partial paralysis. 

What is a Trip and Fall Accident?

Trip and fall accidents are similar to slip and fall accidents. However, instead of losing traction with the floor and falling backward, the person trips over an object and falls forward. 

Examples of trip and fall accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Tripping over items on the floor
  • Falling because of uneven pavement or damaged flooring
  • Tripping as you get onto an elevator or escalator
  • Falling over uneven or raised door jams
  • Tripping because of broken, uneven, or poorly constructed stairways

In many cases, the person does not notice the object on the floor or the hazard. They could also misjudge their gait to avoid the object or hazard. In either case, their upper body continues to move forward as their legs and feet are stuck.

Injuries commonly caused by trip and fall accidents include:

  • Sprained and broken ankles and knees
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken and sprained wrists (from trying to break the fall)
  • Head injuries 
  • Broken fingers and hands
  • Abrasions and cuts
  • Broken limbs
  • Facial injuries, including broken noses and jaws and injuries to the teeth

Trip and fall accidents can also result in permanent disabilities and impairments. Elevated trip and fall accidents can increase the risk of more severe injuries and death.

What Should I Do After a Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall Accident?

If you fall because of a hazardous condition, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, the steps you take after the fall could impact the outcome of your case.

Therefore, if you fall, the steps to take include:

Report the Fall Immediately

Report your fall to the property owner, manager, or another person in charge of the property. Ask for a copy of the written incident report. 

Document the Accident Scene

If possible, take photographs and make a video of the accident scene. The property owner may correct the problem after you leave. Therefore, it is crucial to show how the accident scene appeared when you fell.

Also, ask eyewitnesses to give you their names and contact information. Eyewitnesses can be very helpful in establishing that you fell because of a dangerous condition on the property. 

Seek Prompt Medical Care

You need to document your injuries for a personal injury case. Delays in medical treatment could create problems for your case. The property owner and the insurance company may argue that the fall did not cause your injuries because you did not see a doctor until days or weeks after the fall.

Do Not Make Statements or Sign Forms

Talking to an insurance adjuster or property owner without a lawyer could hurt your case. The statements you make could be misinterpreted to blame you for the cause of your fall. Likewise, signing medical releases and other forms without legal counsel is not advised. 

Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents generally fall under premises liability law. These cases can be challenging to prove and win. Understanding your legal rights and options begins with calling an injury lawyer.

An attorney investigates the cause of the fall, gathers evidence, files claims, prepares legal arguments, and protects you from unfair insurance company tactics designed to undervalue your damages. Your lawyer fights for your best interest by handling all aspects of your claim while you focus on your recovery. 

If you’ve been injured in Pennsylvania, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 955-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963