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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Is the Difference Between Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall in Personal Injury Cases?

Slipping and tripping are terms often used interchangeably in day-to-day life- but the difference matters in a personal injury lawsuit. When a person is injured in a fall, it is important to determine whether it was caused by a slip or a trip.

Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in the US- accounting for more than 800,000 hospital admissions annually. If that fall happens on someone else's property because of their negligence, the victim could be entitled to claim compensation.

When somebody decides to pursue a claim for their fall, they must understand the difference between slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents to ensure the correct legal steps are taken- and the maximum settlement amount is secured. Shuerger Shunnarah Trail Attorneys can also advise on what the Average Slip-and-Fall Settlement in Indiana is.

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident is when someone falls because of a slippery surface. It could be because of water or another slippery substance- or because the surface has worn down and has no grip, in some cases. The loss of friction causes a person's foot to slide forward- throwing them off balance, and generally causing them to fall backward- although not always.

Examples of things that can cause slip and fall accidents include:

  • Water that has leaked onto a bathroom floor

  • Newly-waxed floors

  • Worn-down carpets

  • Ice or condensation

What Is a Trip and Fall Accident?

A trip and fall accident happens when some obtrusion gets in the way of a person walking- such as objects lying around or uneven ground. It usually happens because the person catches their foot on something- blocking its path and causing them to fall over. When a victim trips, they usually fall forward.

Trip and fall accidents occur mostly at night or in conditions with low visibility.

Some possible causes of a trip and fall accident include:

  • Uneven sidewalk

  • Construction materials lying around

  • Tripping on steps

  • Raised door jambs or runners

The Differences Between Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Accidents

In short, the key difference between a slip and fall and a trip and fall is the manner in which the person loses their balance.

A slip is when the foot slides forward or to the side because the floor or ground is slippery- and a trip is when the foot gets caught on something.

Here are a few other notable differences.

  • Most slip and fall victims fall backward, whereas most trip and falls end in the victim falling forward.

  • Slips are more common indoors, while trips are more common outdoors (although both can happen anywhere).

  • A person is more likely to trip at night or in the dark, but slips often happen during the day when there is more activity.

  • The types of injuries caused are different because of the way people fall.

  • Slips often result in more severe injuries than trips.

What Are Common Slip and Fall Injuries?

When any type of fall accident occurs, injuries are likely to happen. However, the types of injuries can be very different. In slip and fall accidents, the chances of the victim falling backward are significantly higher- leading to worse injuries.

Because the person falls backward- usually very quickly- they may not have time to break their fall or protect their head- leading to head trauma and brain injury.

Even if they do manage to stop themselves from hitting the floor directly, they are still likely to get hurt because of the force.

Here are some of the commonly-suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents.

  • Head injuries: From mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries, people hitting their heads after a slip and fall can put them at risk of long-term complications.

  • Back injuries: Back muscle trauma, slipped discs, and spinal cord injuries are just some of the ways people can hurt their back when they slip and fall.

  • Hip injuries: Elderly people in particular can injure their hips in a fall. Attempts to break the fall can damage the hip if the bone hits the ground first.

  • Shoulder dislocation: Again, depending on how they land, a person's shoulder could dislocate- or even break- from the force of hitting the floor.

  • Ankle or wrist sprains: The strain of sliding the foot forward or stopping a fall with the hand can cause damage to the wrists or ankle joint.

  • Nerve damage: Hitting the ground with force can easily damage nerves in the hand, arm, back, and neck.

What Are Common Trip and Fall Injuries?

Trip and fall injuries do not tend to be as severe as slip and fall injuries- mostly because people have a better chance of breaking their fall. They often do still lead to injuries- and these are some of the most common types. Shuerger Shunnarah Trail Attorneys can answer questions like, "What is the biggest cause of slip accidents?"

  • Foot injuries: Feet can get damaged when they hit whatever it is that caused the trip.

  • Broken finger bones: Attempts to stop the face from hitting the floor can lead to broken fingers.

  • Knee injuries: Many trip and fall victims land on their knees quite hard.

  • Neck injuries: Whiplash is fairly common in trips and falls.

  • Elbow injuries: Breaking the fall with the elbows can lead to fractures, breaks, and dislocations.

  • Cuts and bruises: Abrasions and other surface injuries occur when people scrape themselves during a fall caused by a trip.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Slip, Trip, and Fall Cases?

Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Slip, Trip, and Fall Cases?

The best slip and fall attorney in Indianapolis understands the way these cases work- and can help victims file their claims successfully. At-fault parties must pay compensation to injured victims- but only if they can prove negligence on the part of the property owner.

The laws surrounding who can and cannot claim compensation in a slip or trip and fall case are complex- which is why having an expert legal team is so important.


Although similar, slips and trips are different- and knowing what type of case to pursue is important moving forward with a legal claim.

Contact a specialist slip, trip, and fall injury lawyer at Shuerger Shunnarah today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

They go to war for every injured person- helping them navigate the legal process and claim back the compensation they deserve.


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