What Is The Difference Between A Slip & Fall And A Trip & Fall Accident?

man falling forward
Madeleine Jones
November 19, 2020

A slip and fall and a trip and fall accident are, unfortunately, very common and they affect thousands of people leading them to severe injuries. It is also very common that people often interchange the use of these terms. They may appear similar semantically, but their legal definitions are certainly different.

Trip and Fall vs Slip and Fall 

Would you be able to tell the difference between a trip and fall and a slip and fall accident if somebody asked you about it? Probably not. However, the distinction between these two is essential because it can impact the nature of your injury claim. An experienced accident attorney should be able to give you all the information you need about the difference between them and how it can affect your claim.

What Is A Slip And Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident happens when a person falls over as a result of walking on a slippery surface. Some examples of slippery surfaces are:

  • Recently waxed or cleaned hard floors
  • Hard surfaces covered in the liquid from water overflow or a spill
  • Hard surfaces with condensation from the cold
  • Carpets without friction

When people step into an ice rink they know that the amount of friction between them and the ice is low because ice is slippery, therefore they step in with more care. However, slip and fall accidents happen when people think they have more grip on a surface than they actually do. This is why slip and fall accidents tend to occur when someone overestimates the amount of grip that they have.

Slip and fall accidents usually lead to the person falling backward. Their leading foot fails to grip the ground, sliding forward uncontrollably, causing their center of gravity to shift, causing them to fall.

Since most slip and fall accidents involve the victim falling backward, they end up with distinct injuries, which can be debilitating and long-term.

Common Slip And Fall Injuries


What Is A Trip And Fall Accident?

Trip and fall accidents happen when a person trips over something on the floor and can’t bring their other leg forward quickly enough to avoid the fall. Some trip and fall examples include:

  • Tripping when going from the street to a sidewalk because of elevation
  • Walking and tripping on a sidewalk with uneven paving stones
  • Tripping over objects left on the floor like a broom or a box

Trip and fall accidents often occur when a person doesn’t see the object on the floor or misjudges the steps they must take to prevent it. Trip and fall accidents commonly cause the victim to fall forward, not backward like in slip and fall accidents.

As a person is walking forward, they have to be able to put one foot in front of the other. When an object is on the ground and is preventing them from doing just that, they can’t move forward. Their torso continues to go forward, but their feet get stuck, causing them to fall over.

Common Trip and Fall Injuries

  • Limb fractures
  • Neck injuries
  • Foot injuries
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Broken fingers
  • Thumb sprains
  • Face injuries

Who Is At Fault in a Slip And Fall or Trip and Fall Accident?

Proving fault in a fall case can be difficult and it depends on the location of the fall and the circumstances.

The law expects you to practice common sense and watch where you walk, look out for dangerous conditions, and wear proper footwear. However, accidents can happen when negligence is present.

A property owner/homeowner has the duty to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of other people on their property. Those precautions depend on whether you are a trespasser or you’re allowed to be on the property.

If you were injured on someone else’s property you need to prove that the property owner was at fault. Their insurance company and lawyer will try to prove they weren’t at fault or that you have more fault than them.

The state of Nevada dictates what amount of fault is taken by each party’s own negligence that caused the injury. Dividing the fault is based on how much each party is responsible for the injury. If the victim is found to be 51% or more at fault, they may get nothing in the settlement.

In cases like this, there are a lot of variables, but a slip and fall attorney can help you navigate it and get the compensation you deserve.

What To Do After A Slip And Fall/Trip And Fall Accident

If you were involved in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident, you need to do the following steps:

#1: Seek Medical Treatment

Step number one is to get medical treatment. A fall can be a life-threatening event and getting treated can allow you to get better. It can also create an official medical record of the events which you will later use to support your claim.

#2: Report the Incident

A trip and fall/slip and fall accident can happen anywhere. These locations can be your workplace, a commercial premise, someone’s house, or a public space. You need to record where it happened and report it to the manager, supervisor, or landlord. Ask for a written report on what happened.

#3: Gather Witness Information

If anyone saw your trip and fall/slip and fall accident you will need their testimony, later on, to back up your claim. Therefore, gather their contact information, like phone number, email address, and name.

You should also take pictures of where it happened so you have documentation. Your local injury attorney can guide you through this process.

#4 Don’t Make Any Statements

This step might seem a bit strange, but it’s a good idea to not make statements to the manager or landlord until you have spoken with an attorney. Don’t talk about the incident on social media, and especially don’t give any statements to insurance companies until you speak with your attorney. Saying the wrong thing can jeopardize your chances of getting a successful settlement.

#5: Contact An Injury Attorney

If you are thinking about taking legal action, the best thing to do is having an experienced slip and fall accident attorney who knows and understands the legal landscape of these types of accidents.

These cases can be complex and require legal expertise. At Cogburn Law, we have experienced lawyers ready to take on your case. With us, you won’t be alone. We will guide you through every step of the way and you will get the compensation you deserve for your sustained injuries. 

Hiring A Trip And Fall Lawyer In Las Vegas

If you or your loved one has been injured in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident make sure you call Cogburn Law. Choosing the right lawyer will help you avoid a stressful situation. We can help in handling the aftermath of a fall accident. Contact us today and talk to a lawyer for free! 

Do you want to learn more about the personal injury claim process? Add your email below and we will send you our guide free of charge. It includes useful tips on things to avoid when going through a personal injury claim and how you can give yourself the best chance of winning it.

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Cogburn Law has been my first experience working with a law firm. Not only did they come to my home because I was so badly bruised, but they answered every call and email in a timely fashion. When the time came to present my case, they made sure I was informed of every detail. Jamie won my case because he is an extremely talented lawyer who genuinely cares about his clients.

Jenna F.