Slip-and-Fall vs. Trip-and-Fall: Is There a Difference?

Most people share a common laundry list of hazards which they desperately seek to evade each and every day – car accidents, physical altercations, sharp objects – just to name a few. But what they don’t consider may be a far more probable and damaging harm – slip and falls. 

A slip-and-fall injury is perhaps the most common premises liability claim, which itself is just a claim for negligence. When a premises owner knows or should reasonably know of a particular hazard, but fails to adequately address or appropriately warn of the danger, a claim for negligence may exist. The quintessential slip-and-fall is probably familiar to all of us: A unsuspecting customer slips and hurts themself on a wet surface, perhaps a recently mopped floor or the site of a spilled drink. However, this scenario only describes a small portion of the slip-and-fall scenarios attorneys litigate each day. Let’s take a look at the two most common types of slip-and-fall accidents.  

Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Slip-and-fall accidents occur when a person falls on wet or slippery surface. These accidents often occur in grocery stores, where a recently pierced carton of milk or broken jar of strawberry jam sends a person tumbling over. More commonly, a person slips on a recently cleaned or waxed floor without the proper signage. In these accidents, a person usually falls backwards as their center of mass abruptly shifts behind them. As such, the types of injuries experienced in slip-and-falls are predictable. Injured shoulders, knees, wrists, and elbows are common as individuals brace their fall. Unfortunately, the types of injuries in slip-and-falls tend to be more severe than other types. In particular, a fall backwards can cause serious damage to your head and back. Spine, nerve, and brain damage may result in long-term or permanent damage. 

Trip-and-Fall Accidents

Trip-and-falls are a more specific kind of accident under the slip-and-fall umbrella. As the name suggests, these accidents occur when an individual trips, typically forward, over an object or uneven surface. The cause of these accidents can be a fallen object in a grocery aisle, or perhaps an uneven or poorly maintained sidewalk. It can also occur when a person falls after stepping into a hole or onto an object or defective surface. For instance, a hole in the pavement or a leftover piece of concrete can cause an individual to lose his or her balance as they step upon the uneven surface.  As the person’s leading or trailing foot gets caught, the body’s forward momentum causes them to fall. The types of injuries tend to be less severe that of slip-and-falls, though injury is still quite common. Cuts, abrasions, and broken and fractured limbs occur quite frequently. In some cases, an awkward fall can result in significant damage to the back, neck or spine. 


If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, Miller Trial Law can help get you the recovery that you deserve. Please call us today at (305)-697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation to see what your case is worth. We look forward to serving you!