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Slip and Fall Accidents vs. Trip and Fall Accidents: Here’s What to Know

Worker Man Lying On Staircase After Slip And Fall Accident

Slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents are common types of personal injury cases. Although common, they are different in nature and both result in different types of injuries. Because of this, they are looked at with different legal considerations if a victim decides to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

At Machtinger Law, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in navigating both types of lawsuits so that victims can recover the compensation they deserve. If you have suffered an injury because of a slip and fall or trip and fall, reach out to our legal team today for a free case consultation.

Slip and Fall vs. Trip and Fall Lawsuit, What’s the Difference?

Though similar sounding, slip and fall accidents typically involve injuries that result from falling backward. Conversely, trip and falls most often cause you to fall forward. As you can imagine, the injuries with each can be drastically different. Backward falls can catch you off guard and lead to dangerous, life-altering outcomes including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). While forward falls do allow you a split second of an opportunity to catch your fall, they can still result in dangerous harm including face injuries, dislocated knees, and fractured hips.

According to recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls including slips and trips result in the annual hospitalization of over 800,000 individuals. Often these hospitalizations are related to head injuries and hip fractures. Falls are the leading cause of TBIs.

Understanding a Slip and Fall Injury

A slip and fall accident happens when a person loses their footing and falls due to a slippery surface. This could be due to wet floors, icy sidewalks, or spilled liquids. Slip and fall accidents can happen in a variety of places, including retail stores, office buildings, and public places like parks and sidewalks.

In order to prove liability in a slip and fall accident, you must show that the property owner or occupier was negligent. Negligence means that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable steps to correct it or warn visitors about the hazard. For example, if a store employee fails to put up a “caution” or “wet floor” sign after mopping a floor, and a patron slips and falls as a result, the employee, company, or both could be held liable.

Common causes of slip and fall injuries include the following:

  • Wet floors from mopping
  • Freshly waxed floors
  • Leaks or condensation puddles from refrigerated cases
  • Loose mats or rugs
  • Spillages of food or liquids

Understanding Trip and Fall Injuries

A trip and fall accident occurs when a person falls forward due to an obstacle or defect on the walking surface. This could be due to uneven pavement, potholes, or obstacles like electrical cords or debris. Trip and fall accidents can happen in many of the same places as slip and fall accidents, but the cause of the accident is different, and often so are the injuries.

As with proving a slip and fall case, you must show that the property owner or occupier was negligent in providing a safe environment, resulting in your trip and fall.

Take for example a building complex with a broken staircase. If a landlord knows about a broken staircase on their property but fails to fix it, and you as a tenant trip and fall, you may be able to hold your landlord responsible for any injuries you may have sustained.

Common causes of trips and falls include:

  • Exposed wiring or other tripping hazards
  • Torn or bulging carpeting
  • Potholes or cracks
  • Uneven flooring or sidewalks

Seeking Damages in Slip and Falls vs. Trip and Falls Lawsuits

You may be able to seek both economic and non-economic damages related to your slip and fall or trip and fall accident under the legal concept of premises liability. Under this legal concept, a property owner has a duty to keep their property free and clear of any obstructions or hazards that may cause someone injury. If they cannot address the hazard, then they must clearly label and block off the hazard.

It’s important to note that premises liability does not always come into play. For example, if an individual trespasses on a person’s private property or business and gets injured as a result, they might not be able to file a slip and fall or trip and fall lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Economics vs. Non-economic damages

Economic and non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for your financial and non-financial losses following an injury.

Economic damages are designed to compensate you for financial losses that resulted from your accident. This can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Medical bills including hospitalization bills and ongoing treatment
  • Loss of income, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Expenses associated with medical equipment

Non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for other losses that are more difficult to calculate. Unlike economic damages that are designed to reinstate you to your original financial standing before the accident, these types of damages are designed to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured. Examples of non-economic damages include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer at Machtinger Law APC

Slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents may sound similar, but they are distinct types of accidents with different legal considerations. If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation for your injuries.

At Machtinger Law, our legal team has extensive knowledge of the differences between both and can serve you during your time of need. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries, from a slip and fall or trip and fall in Los Angeles, Orange County, or the surrounding areas, reach out to our team today to schedule a free consultation on your case and work with a law firm that is committed to fighting for your rights.

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