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Slip and Fall vs. Trip and Fall: Key Differences and Legal Guidance

Slip and fall and trip and fall are extremely common accidents that can occur anywhere. Let’s discuss the difference between the two, the steps to take if you experience one, and how to receive the compensation you deserve with a personal injury attorney. 

Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents

Definition of a Slip and Fall

A slip and fall accident occurs when a person falls over due to walking on a slippery surface. They usually happen when a person doesn’t expect a surface to have a foreign substance on it, or expects it to have more grip than it does. When this does occur, it typically results in the person falling backward, which can cause serious injuries. 

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can be a risk anywhere, whether it be at work, in a store, or in any other public setting.  When you’re outside of your home, it can be difficult to predict what surfaces will be slippery or not. 

These are some of the most common causes of a slip and fall: 

  • Carpets with low levels of friction
  • Hard surfaces with condensation
  • Hard surfaces that are covered in liquid from water flow or a spill
  • Recently waxed or cleaned hard floors

Injuries Commonly Associated With Slip and Fall Accidents

Spine and Nerve Damage

Slip and fall accidents make the spine and surrounding nerves vulnerable to damage. If the spine is compressed and harm is done to the nerves around it, it can potentially lead to permanent loss of motor function in some parts of the body. 

Head Injury

During a slip and fall accident, it’s common for the person to hit their head on the ground and receive a brain injury. Head injuries can often be extremely dangerous, or even life-threatening in the most severe of cases. It’s vital to be very aware of these injuries, as the person affected may have their cognitive functions altered, and they may not be aware that it’s happening. 


Sprained ankles and wrists occur frequently with slip and falls. When your foot loses its grip and slides along the floor, it can fall out of alignment with your leg, which strains the ankle joint. The force of this can damage ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones in the ankle. 

Trip and Fall Accidents

Definition of a Trip and Fall

A trip and fall accident occurs when a person trips over an object on the floor. This is typically a result of the person not adjusting their walk to accommodate an object lying on the floor because they either don’t see it or misjudge its location. In the case of trip and falls, the person usually falls forward instead of backward. 

Common Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents

Trip and fall scenarios are an everyday occurrence, whether they are mild or severe. 

These are some of the most common causes of them:

  • Uneven paving stones on the sidewalk
  • Items left on the floor, such as construction materials, boxes, and brooms
  • The elevation between the street and the sidewalk
  • Door jambs that connect the door to the floor

Injuries Commonly Associated With a Trip and Fall

Broken Bones

According to a trip and fall lawyer, a trip and fall usually occurs when a person falls forward, triggering a response of reaching out their arms to break their fall. This can result in limb fractures, as well as broken finger bones. 

Lacerations and Bruises

Damage to the skin tends to be worse with trip and falls than it is for slip and falls. The risk of grazing skin or creating bruises is much higher, especially on the elbows, knees, and palms of the hands. Fortunately, lacerations are fairly easy to treat with stitches, and bruises tend to heal on their own.  

Neck and Shoulder Injuries

During a trip and fall, the arms reach out to break the impact of the body, but the head continues to move toward the ground. In this scenario, the neck takes most of the force, which can lead to injuries in the neck and shoulders. 

Key Differences Between Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Accidents

The Nature of the Hazard

Slip and fall lawyers note that slippery surfaces are the main hazard that causes them. This can include fluids on the ground, freshly waxed floors, or a heavily condensed walking surface.  

With a trip and fall, the main hazard is obstructive, including items left on the floor, uneven stone placements on sidewalks, or differences in elevation on the ground.  

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents

Both a slip and fall and trip and fall accident are extremely common. However, there are some steps that can be taken to try and avoid them. 

  • Display warnings signs
  • Keep objects off of walkways
  • Clean up any spills that occur immediately
  • Ensure that exit doors are free from blockages
  • Make sure that floors are kept dry and clean
  • Provide rubber mats, drainage systems, or footwear in areas that are wet

Legal Implications and Liability

In both trip and fall and slip and fall lawyer cases, it’s imperative to prove negligence on the property owner’s part. Negligence is when a person or party fails to protect the safety of others either by action or inaction. To prove this, there needs to be evidence that the owner has constructive knowledge of the danger on their property. 

Proving negligence can be tricky, so it’s absolutely vital that evidence is collected to help your claim. Any proof can provide assistance in court, like pictures, witness information, and medical treatment documentation. 

Legal Recourse After a Trip and Fall Injury

Determining Liability

Determining who is at fault for a trip and fall accident can be a lengthy and complex process. The law expects a reasonable person to use common sense and watch where they’re walking, wear proper shoes, and be aware of hazardous conditions. 

However, if a property owner doesn’t take the basic steps to ensure the safety of others on their property, they may be found at fault, as long as the victim is not a trespasser. 

Different states have varying laws for determining fault.  Comparative negligence states allow that fault can be placed on each party, but if the victim is found to be 51% or more at fault, they will receive no compensation. 

What to Do After a Trip and Fall Accident

Seek Medical Treatment

First and foremost, it’s vital to seek medical treatment. Even if you aren’t sure that you’re injured, they may not be visible yet or internal. Seeing a doctor also provides a document for your injury that can be used when you take legal action. 

Report The Incident

Always record the location of the incident and report it to the landlord, manager, or supervisor. Request that they create a written report of the event with specific details of what happened. 

Common locations of a trip and fall include: 

  • Trip and fall accidents at the workplace
  • Trip and fall accidents on commercial premises
  • Trip and fall accidents at someone’s house
  • Trip and fall accidents in a public space

Collect Witness Information

If anyone saw your trip and fall, then it’s important to collect their contact information as you may need their testimony when taking legal action with a trip and fall lawyer

If possible, also take pictures of where the accident took place for further evidence. 

Do Not Make Any Statements

Make sure not to make any statements to the landlord or managers, the insurance company, or on social media until you’ve spoken to a trip and fall lawyer. These statements can be used against you later on. 

Contact Your Attorney

If you’re thinking about taking legal action, then it’s essential to contact a trip and fall lawyer who understands the laws surrounding your accident. 

Talk to the Experts at Naqvi Injury Law

If you are a victim of a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, reach out to our knowledgeable team at Naqvi Injury Law as soon as possible. They will help you understand the laws surrounding these types of accidents and provide expertise in proving the negligence of the other party. They will guarantee that you are in an excellent position to receive the maximum compensation that you deserve. 

Naqvi Injury Law boasts the  “top one percent” of attorneys recognized by The National Association of Distinguished Council. You can be sure that our slip and fall lawyers are committed to offering you the support that you need to deliver the results that you want. today!

Call or Schedule a Free Consultation today!