Anderson Injury Lawyers | November 23, 2022 | Slip and Fall
You have heard the terms “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” used when discussing premises liability claims. Both terms refer to falls that could cause debilitating injuries. Even though the terms sound alike, they refer to different types of personal injury accidents.
What Are the Differences Between a Slip & Fall Accident and a Trip & Fall Accident?
When you discuss your case with our Dallas premises liability lawyer, it might not matter whether we call the claim a slip and fall or a trip and fall case. Instead, you are more concerned with recovering fair compensation for your injuries, monetary losses, and other damages.
However, the term we use has a significant meaning. To understand slips, trips, and falls, let’s discuss the difference between the two accidents.
Defining a Slip & Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents occur when someone loses their balance while walking on slick or slippery surfaces. Examples of slip and fall accidents include, but are not limited to slipping on:
- Freshly or overly waxed floors
- Wet surfaces because of a spill or overflow of water or other liquids
- Hard, cold surfaces slick with condensation
- Surfaces slick because of oil or grease spills
- Dusty floors can also create a slick or slippery surface
- Loose floor coverings and mats that do not grip well with the surface underneath causing a slipping hazard
A slip occurs when your foot does not have traction with the floor. As a result, your foot slides out from under you causing your center of gravity to shift. The sudden shift in gravity causes you to lose your balance and fall.
Common Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
When a person slips and falls, they typically fall backward. Their body falls back as their foot slides out in front of them. The resulting injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken vertebrae
- Neck injuries
- Sprained and broken ankles
- Broken arms and legs
- Back injury
- Shoulder dislocations and injuries
- Soft tissue injuries and nerve damage
The injuries from a slip and fall accident could heal in a few weeks or months. However, some injuries from slip and fall accidents can cause permanent impairments, including paralysis and permanent brain damage.
Defining a Trip & Fall Accident
While a trip and fall accident also involves a fall, the cause of the fall is different. Trip and fall accidents occur when someone trips over something on the floor and falls.
Examples of things that can cause trip and fall accidents include:
- Uneven sidewalks or pavement
- Items left on the floor
- Uneven surfaces between the floor and elevators and escalators
- Loose, uneven, or damaged flooring, including carpets, rugs, tiles, and wood flooring
- Exposed cables and wiring
- Obstructions, including floor mounts, socket covers, concealed steps, etc.
- Insufficient lighting concealing tripping hazards
- Raised door jams
Tripping occurs when your foot hits an object and causes you to lose your balance. Trips also occur when a person’s gait is broken when they walk on uneven surfaces. When the person trips on an object or surface, their feet stop moving, but their body continues to move forward causing the fall.
Common Injuries Caused by Trip and Fall Accidents
Falling forward can cause a variety of injuries. Common injuries a person sustains when they trip and all include:
- Sprained and broken wrists from putting their arms in front of them to break the fall
- Broken bones, including fractures to the arms and legs
- Cuts and abrasions
- Neck injuries
- Facial injuries, including broken jaws and noses
- Broken hands and fingers
- Sprained and broken ankles and feet
- Traumatic brain injuries
Trips and falls can cause severe injuries requiring surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. In addition, the victim could sustain a disability that changes their lives forever.
What Damages Can I Recover for Accidents Involving Slips, Trips, & Falls in Dallas, TX?
Premises liability claims require that the injured person prove the following legal elements:
- The owner of the property owed a duty of care to the injured party.
- The property owner breached the duty of care because they did not warn the victim of a potential hazard or fix the hazard.
- The dangerous condition on the property was the direct and proximate cause of the injured party’s fall.
- The injured party sustained damages.
Typically, you prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to do something about it. Once you prove the property owner is liable for your damages, you can recover compensation for non-economic and economic damages. Those damages include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and a decrease in future earning potential
- Medical expenses and bills, including nursing care and rehabilitation services
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including help with household services and personal care
- Pain and suffering caused by injuries, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
A Dallas slip and fall accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove fault and liability. Your lawyer also documents your damages and calculates how much your claim is worth to ensure that settlement offers from the insurance company and property owner are fair.
What Should You Do After a Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall Accident?
Call for emergency medical services or see a doctor as soon as possible. Seeking prompt medical treatment can reduce the risk of permanent impairments. Conversely, delays in medical care could hurt your injury claim.
Report the fall to the property owner. If possible, document the accident scene by taking pictures and making a video. Make sure to capture the cause of your fall (i.e., an object, loose step, leaky faucet, etc.).
If anyone witnessed your fall or stopped to help you after the fall, ask them to give you their names and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be invaluable when proving fault.
Consider contacting a personal injury lawyer for legal advice. The property owner might try to hide the reason for your fall, and the insurance adjuster could try to undervalue your claim. Having an attorney handle the case helps you avoid costly mistakes and gives you a better chance of obtaining a fair settlement.