Many people use the terms “slip & fall” and “trip & fall” interchangeably. In the personal injury space, we often include both and refer to “slips, trips, and falls.” Slip & falls and trip & falls, however, refer to different types of accidents, which commonly result in different types of injuries. Continue reading for a discussion of the differences between slip & fall and trip & fall accidents, and contact a seasoned New York personal injury attorney if you’ve been hurt on someone else’s dangerous premises.
Slip & Fall Injuries
Slip & falls refer to accidents in which the victim slipped on a slippery surface, which caused them to fall and hurt themselves. Slip & falls are typically caused by wet or icy surfaces, or by unsecured flooring such as loose carpeting. For example, if a grocery store worker mops the floor and fails to either dry the water or place a “wet floor” warning sign in plain view, and you slip and injure yourself on the wet floor, you could have a slip and fall injury claim. Icy floors in wintertime are another common slipping hazard.
Slip & falls are caused by wet or slick surfaces that create a hazard for guests. You might still have a “slip & fall” claim even if you don’t technically “fall,” such as if the slick floor causes you to hyperextend your knee or twist your ankle.
Slip & falls often lead to injury to the head, neck, or spine, as well as muscle tears and other soft tissue injuries. This is so because slips often send the victim falling backward, a situation in which it is much more difficult for the victim to catch or brace themselves with their hands.
Trip & Fall Injuries
Trip & falls are similar to, but not the same as, slip & falls. Trip & falls occur when some hazard on the ground causes the victim to trip and fall over. You might trip because of a discarded object left by an employee on the floor, such as a mop or a loose electrical cable, or because some object was knocked off the shelf. Trip & falls might also occur when floor surfaces are uneven. The victim catches their foot on the loose object or misplaced item and falls forward.
Because trips typically lead to the victim falling forward, and people instinctively throw their hands out to brace for the fall, trip & fall injuries more commonly lead to injuries to the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, or face, depending on the circumstances.
Who’s Liable in a Slip & Fall vs. a Trip & Fall?
If you’ve been hurt in a slip & fall or a trip & fall accident, after obtaining medical assistance, the most important thing for your claim is to determine who is liable and how to recover compensation. Slip & fall and trip & fall claims both typically fall within the realm of “premises liability.” Premises liability is an area of personal injury law that applies when a person is injured on someone else’s property and seeks to hold the owner or operator of that property liable.
Whether you slipped or tripped, the question for your case is whether the property owner (or some other party) is responsible for your injuries. Property owners have a responsibility to guests to keep their property free from known or obvious hazards. That means that property owners/operators can be held liable for injuries caused by hazards that either the property owner created, the property owner knew about, or that the property owner should have known about had they conducted proper due diligence.
Whether you slipped on a wet or icy floor, or instead you tripped over a loose carpet or discarded electrical cord, the question is whether the property owner knew about the hazard or should have known. An exposed electrical cord was likely placed by the owner or an employee, meaning that they should know about the hazard. A wet floor from a spill, on the other hand, might have been created by a guest. If the spill just happened moments earlier, then it might be reasonable that the store personnel would not know the hazard just yet. On the other hand, if the spill has been present for an hour, or if the floor is slick because of customers tracking in ice on a snowy day, then the owner/operator has a responsibility to either clean up the wet floor or mark it with clear warning signs.
A Dedicated Bronx Slip, Trip, and Fall Injury Attorney is Ready to Hear From You
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip or trip and fall accident in New York, get help seeking damages from a talented, trial-ready professional by contacting a Bronx premises liability lawyer at the Kohn Law firm for a free consultation at 718-409-1200.