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difference between trip and slip and fall injury accident lawsuit

Every year, over 52,000 people are hospitalized because of slipping or tripping on hazards. Most of the time, these accidents are preventable. In many such cases, it’s possible to file a “trip and fall” or “slip and fall” lawsuit to collect compensation for damages.

Many injured victims do not know the difference between a “trip” and “slip.” This can lead to inconsistent stories and evidence that can harm a case when it reaches court. To successfully receive the compensation needed to recover, victims must understand the differences between “trip and fall” and “slip and fall” accidents.

Trip and Falls vs. Slip and Falls – What’s the Legal Difference?

A trip and fall case is a legally distinct case from a slip and fall case, although the two accidents are quite similar. 

Legally speaking, to “trip” means that you fall forward as a result of:

  • stepping on something slippery or unbalancing
  • getting a foot caught on an object
  • not stepping all the way over something hard/fixed

Tripping forward typically causes people to fall on their chests, knees, and faces, and wrists. These accidents produce different injuries compared to slips, including bruises and broken bones on the hands, knees, and face.

 In a “slip” and fall accident, the victim falls backwards as a result of:

  • slipping on something wet or slippery on the ground
  • falling because of an unbalancing factor or shifting ground material

Slipping causes victims to fall on their backs, tailbones, and hit the backs of their heads. Again, this causes distinct injuries that may require different compensation including bruises and broken bones along the spine, hips, and the back of the skull.

Trip vs. Slip: Why the Difference Matters

The verdict of an accidental injury lawsuit is often determined by particulars and specifics. When relating an accident to a court, one must be certain to get the narrative of events straight and keep details accurate, descriptive and in order. Plaintiffs asked to recount the same testimony multiple times throughout the lawsuit process, as well as immediately following the accident when testimony is given for the first time.

If an injured party fails to keep their story straight, a defense attorney may prevent them from receiving the maximum damages they are entitled to because of the difference between their experience vs. the presented evidence. For instance, claiming that one tripped initially, then changing the description to a slip and fall accident, may unintentionally create a discrepancy that could be exploited.

Examples of “Trip and Fall” Accidents

  • An uneven sidewalk section has risen as a result of unfinished construction. A pedestrian trips over the raised sidewalk and falls on their face, causing scratches and other injuries
  • A business opens in an old building with a raised step. There is no sign alerting pedestrians as to the raised step, and an elderly man trips and falls, hurting his hands and knees
  • A grocery store customer walks down an aisle and turns a corner. A stool at knee height is left there by an employee. The customer trips and falls and injures their elbow

Common trip and fall injuries include:

  • Bruises on the hands, shins, knees, and face
  • Broken teeth from impacting the ground
  • Skinned hands and knees
  • Fractures for hand and arm bones

Examples of “Slip and Fall” Accidents

  • A restaurant employee mops the floor but does not put up a “wet floor” sign. A customer slips on the wet surface and falls, hitting the back of their head
  • A small store’s customers continually track in ice, which melts and creates a slippery surface. Another customer enters and slips on the water, becoming injured in the process
  • A business fails to warn customers that the sidewalk outside their establishment is icy after a winter storm. Customers attempting to enter slip and fall just outside the store’s premises

Common slip and fall injuries include:

  • Head injuries, including fractures or traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Hip injuries, such as fractures
  • Tailbone fractures

What to Do After a Trip/Slip and Fall Accident

First, seek medical attention if necessary. It is also important to take as many pictures of the scene of the accident as soon after it as possible. What’s more, collecting witness accounts to an accident can serve as invaluable evidence in court. But if injuries are too severe to remain at the scene, a fall injury lawyer can collect this evidence in the future. 

When receiving medical attention, ask as many questions as possible, and ask for copies of all medical records. Keeping medical records organized is one of the most helpful things injured victims can do in accelerating their case and ensuring maximum compensation.  

Avoid any initial offers from insurance companies looking to settle out of court. This is often a small amount that can be increased many times over by filing a lawsuit with a fall injury attorney. Also, do not provide any statement or testimonial about your injury to any party (except medical personnel and the authorities, if asked) before speaking to a lawyer. 

After seeking medical attention, consider the factors that caused the injury to determine whether it was a trip or a slip and fall accident. Once this is determined, relate the story to any police officers or emergency personnel that might be on the scene of the accident. Uncertainty about the type of fall involved should lead anyone to simply report a “fall.”

After receiving treatment, contact skilled New York accident attorneys and begin building a successful case, and ensure maximum compensation for damages.

How a Trip/Slip and Fall Lawsuit Works

A trip/slip and fall lawsuit is only possible if a victim is injured on the property of another person or business. In this way, trip and slip and fall claims are handled as premises liability lawsuits. In cases where the injuries sustained were on public property, victims may be able to sue the city itself. For instance, a city has a civic responsibility to its citizens to maintain safe, walkable sidewalks and pathways free of danger.

Premises Liability and Fall Accidents

If a victim trips or slips and suffers an injury while on the premises of a business, or on private property belonging to another person, they may be able to file a premises liability personal injury case. In these cases, victims can levy the responsibility for their injuries against the party who owned the property on which the accident occurred.

For instance, if a restaurant’s employee fails to put up a “wet floor” sign, causing a customer to fall and get injured, then the victim may be able to sue the restaurant itself, as they are liable for the safety of the premises, and therefore responsible for injuries directly caused by the property’s neglect.

Damages from these types of accidents often include:

  • Costs for medical treatment, including any ongoing expenses like pain medication
  • Costs for past surgeries or treatments
  • Costs of broken property 
  • Lost wages due to being away from work while in recovery

The specifics vary with each case. That’s why it’s important for victims to have excellent New York slip and fall injury attorneys on their side.

Contact Trip/Slip and Fall New York Attorneys Today

With over 50 years of fall injury legal expertise under our belts, Sobo & Sobo’s team of attorneys have all the technical know-how needed to help you craft an ironclad case, and make sure that you keep your story straight. With our help, you can secure the damages you deserve for your injuries and get back on your feet in no time.

Contact us at 855-468-7626 or visit our website and we’ll set up a free consultation right away.