Slip and Fall OR Trip and Fall? Why the Difference Matters

Slip and Fall OR Trip and Fall? Why the Difference Matters

Falls are considered the second leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths globally.  However, the initial cause of the fall and how the incident happened precisely can vary. In legal settings, the term “slip and fall” is often used to reference specific types of personal injury cases where the victim slipped and fell due to another party’s negligence. However, while a slip is different than a trip, people often use the terms interchangeably.

There is a difference between the two, and it is important to make the distinction when you file a personal injury claim. While it may not seem like a big deal, wording is crucial when dealing with legal matters and can make a huge difference in how your case plays out.

If you suspect you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you should consult with an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney. Though “slip and fall” might be used as a catch-all phrase for slips and trips, your attorney can help you clarify what type of accident actually happened to ensure there are no misunderstandings with your case.

Slip and Fall vs.Trip and Fall

Though slips and trips are very similar, it’s essential to make the distinction when filing a personal injury claim or even a lawsuit.

When you trip and fall, typically, you fall forward. While this can happen in various ways, it commonly happens because you trip or catch your foot on something on the floor or ground.

When you slip and fall, you will generally fall backward. Again, there are varying ways this can occur, but often it is the result of the foot slipping forward on a wet, slippery, or smooth surface, causing the body to lose its balance.

Causes of Trips

Common causes or factors that contribute to a trip and fall accident include:

  • Loose cords
  • Raised, uneven, or broken pavement and flooring
  • Loose carpeting or rugs
  • Elevated thresholds
  • Objects cluttering the floor
  • Poorly lit or maintained stairwells (going up)

Causes of Slips

Common causes or factors that contribute to a slip and fall accident include:

  • Spilled oils or liquids
  • Recently mopped or waxed floors
  • Snow and ice outdoors
  • Melted snow or ice on floors indoors
  • Rugs
  • Poorly lit or maintained stairwells (going down)

Injuries That Result From Slips and Trips

While you can sustain similar injuries whether you tripped or slipped, specific injuries can occur more often depending on the way a person falls. Trips, for example, are more likely to result in injuries to the front of the body because a person who trips tends to fall forward.

Examples of injuries from a trip and fall include:

  • Facial injuries
  • Head and brain injuries (towards the front)
  • Hand and wrist injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Elbow injuries

In contrast, slips and falls are more likely to result in injury to the backside of the body. This includes:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Head and brain injuries (towards the back)
  • Hip injuries
  • Arm and shoulder injuries

Why Does the Distinction Matter?

Again, when dealing with legal matters, classifications and wording are important. You will need to describe exactly what happened to you and how it happened when filing a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against a negligent party. The defending party may try to deny fault or claim that the fall occurred differently than you stated. So it’s important to get your story and wording straight to help insurance companies and the judge (if the case goes to trial) understand exactly what happened so they can determine fault and award damages.

It is often necessary in this situation to work with an attorney who can help you win your case so you can get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Generally, slip or trip and fall cases are matters of premises liability. Property owners are responsible for keeping their property reasonably free of hazards that could cause an accident. To prove fault, you will need to work with your attorney to show that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care and address the hazard.

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery — Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you love are injured due to a slip or a trip and fall accident, the experts at Poynter & Bucheri can help. While we use the phrase “slip and fall” for various types of fall accidents, it’s important to distinguish between a trip and a slip when it comes time to file your personal injury claim. Our team can help you correctly identify the type of accident that occurred to ensure there are no misunderstandings that could negatively affect your case. We will do everything within our power to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.  Don’t hesitate — one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.