Jun 26, 2024 | CHASENBOSCOLO

Slip, Trip, And Fall Injuries_ What’s The Difference_ Image

Two of the most common premises liability cases in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., are slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls. But while these cases have many similarities, there are crucial differences, including the nature of the injuries involved. Slip, trip, and fall injuries often vary widely, and these differences can play a vital role in a personal injury claim.

The premises liability attorneys at CHASENBOSCOLO have nearly 40 years of experience helping people with personal injury claims, including slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases. We understand the essential differences between these cases, the different injuries involved, and how to apply the law to maximize your compensation. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the similarities and differences among slip, trip, and fall injuries.

Slip-and-Falls vs. Trip-and-Falls

It might seem silly initially, but lawyers, insurance companies, and courts draw essential distinctions between slips and trips in premises liability cases. Understanding these distinctions can help you make a stronger claim for compensation.

A slip-and-fall case typically refers to someone falling backward because of a hazard on someone else’s property. Usually, this happens because the victim lost their footing due to something slippery or wet on the ground beneath them. Slip-and-falls can also occur when the ground shifts beneath someone’s feet or something else causes them to lose their balance.

In contrast, a trip-and-fall case usually involves situations where someone falls forward due to a hazard on the premises. Someone might trip because they caught their foot on an object, stepped onto an uneven or slippery surface, or did not fully step over a fixed hazard in their path.

Why “Slip” vs. “Trip” Matters in a Premises Liability Case

Now that you know the difference between a “slip” and a “trip” in a personal injury claim, you might be wondering, “So what?” For one thing, details and terminology matter in personal injury cases. To win your case and maximize your compensation, you must stay consistent with your account of how you sustained your injuries. Carelessly switching between the terms “trip” and “slip” could undercut your case by suggesting you’re not being honest about what happened.

Another critical reason to use the correct terms in a premises liability case is that slips and trips cause different injuries. When you slip and fall backward, you’re more likely to land on your tailbone, hip, back, or head, causing injuries to those parts of your body. When you trip and fall forward, you’re most likely to land on your knees, wrists, arms, face, and chest, causing injuries to those areas of your body. So, if you say you tripped on someone’s property but then describe a back injury from the accident, that inconsistency could hurt your case.

These issues might seem minor, but they’re critical to establishing liability and winning a personal injury claim. Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. all use the pure contributory negligence rule in personal injury cases, which means any liability for your injuries could negate your claim. You need to prove that the property owner is fully liable for your injuries, or you lose your right to compensation.

Trip-and-Fall Injuries vs. Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Because trip-and-falls involve someone falling forward while slip-and-falls involve someone falling backward, they tend to cause different injuries. Here are a few examples of some common injuries from each type of fall:

Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries

  • Head Injuries: When a person falls backward, they can hit their head, leading to concussions or other traumatic brain injuries.
  • Back Injuries: Falling backward can cause sprains, strains, or herniated discs in the back.
  • Hip Fractures: Older adults are at risk of breaking their hips when falling backward.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Severe falls can damage the spinal cord, potentially leading to paralysis.

Common Trip-and-Fall Injuries

  • Facial Injuries: Falling forward can result in cuts, bruises, or broken facial bones.
  • Knee Injuries: The impact of landing on the knees can cause fractures, dislocations, or torn ligaments.
  • Shoulder Injuries: Falling forward can lead to shoulder dislocations or fractures.
  • Elbow Fractures: People might break their elbows while trying to stop their fall, such as wrist and arm fractures in slip-and-falls.
  • Wrist and Arm Fractures: When they fall, people often try to catch themselves with their hands, which can break their wrists or arms.
  • Hand Injuries: People often extend their hands to break their fall, leading to cuts, sprains, or broken fingers.

Potential Compensation from a Slip-and-Fall or Trip-and-Fall Claim

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If you suffer a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury on someone else’s property, you can demand compensation if you can prove they caused the accident. Here are some expected losses for which you might recover compensation:

  • Medical Expenses: This covers hospital bills, doctor visits, physical therapy, and any medical treatments needed for recovery.
  • Lost Wages: If your injury prevents you from working, you can seek compensation for your lost income during your recovery period.
  • Pain and Suffering: This includes compensation for physical pain and emotional distress your injuries cause.
  • Lost Earning Capacity: If your injury affects your ability to work in the future, you could claim compensation for the reduction in your earning potential.
  • Out-of-Pocket Costs: These include medication, transportation to medical appointments, and other expenses related to your injury.

How Our Premises Liability Lawyers Can Help You

Our experienced and knowledgeable premises liability lawyers can assist you with your slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall claim in several ways. We begin by thoroughly investigating the accident to determine who is responsible. We’ll gather crucial evidence, such as photos, witness statements, and medical records, to build a compelling case during this investigation.

Next, we handle all communication with the insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible settlement. If necessary, we can take your case to court to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation.

Throughout the process, we’ll provide clear and consistent updates, answer your questions, and guide you every step of the way. We aim to make the legal process as smooth as possible while fighting for maximum compensation.

CHASENBOSCOLO has recovered over $750 million for our clients, and we’ve proudly represented people in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., for nearly 40 years. We’re trial lawyers who care and are ready to help you. Call (301) 220-0050 today or reach out online for a free consultation.