It’s happened to all of us – an unexpected slip or trip that leaves us “grounded” and in some cases, seriously injured.
According to the National Safety Council, “falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department
Slip and Fall vs. Trip and Fall
Did you know there are significant differences between slip and falls versus trip and falls? Most of these differences revolve around the types of injuries you can incur.
Why is the language important? The terminology makes a difference.
Sometimes, the injured party may use these terms interchangeably. In instances where the individual will be seeking counsel, relaying the most accurate information is important to building a case. This could make a difference in how the case is approached, the type of information that is needed, and in some situations, even the amount of compensation that is collected.
While it is difficult to tell whether a case will be viable due to the many details that make up each circumstance, some are more straightforward than others. Every case is fact-sensitive, and the outcome will depend on many factors. These may include the ability to prove negligence on the part of the establishment and the history of both parties. If you think you have a case, fill out this free slip and fall case evaluation form to see what you could be compensated for.
Slip & Fall
- Causes: Wetness or slippery substances on the ground
- Examples: Water or ice on stairs, floors, etc.; spilled items; round objects such as beads
- Physics of the fall: Loss of friction with a surface causes the foot to slip outward and upward, propelling the body to fall in a backward motion
- Associated Injuries:
o Injury to the back of the head
o Neck injuries
o Back injuries
o Hip injuries
o Herniation of vertebrae
Trip & Fall
- Causes: Fixed objects or uneven surfaces; objects in the path that initiate a stumble
- Examples: Broken sidewalks; poorly placed items left on the floor; doorjambs
- Physics of the fall: The foot, advancing in a walking or running motion, is met with resistance from an object causing forward and outward momentum of the body
- Associated injuries :
o Injury to the front of head or face
o Hand/arm fractures
o Elbow injuries
o Knee injuries
Documenting Your Slip and Fall
While most falls are unforeseen, numerous slips and trips occur yearly due to the inattentiveness of store owners or employees. Insufficient building upkeep, poor store management, and inadequate signage to warn patrons about potentially hazardous spots to make up just a few of the reasons that fall occur. However, as startling as a sudden fall can be, it is important to gather information at the scene of the accident, especially if you are planning on pursuing compensation from the at-fault party. Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney
A personal injury case manager at LaBovick Law Group shared some crucial tips for aiding in a successful case:
1. If possible, take pictures at the location of the fall.
Whether taken with a camera phone or personal camera, it is integral to document the surrounding area where the fall took place in order to provide proof of cause and/or negligence. Make sure to capture any spills, objects or adjacent items that might have contributed to the fall. If you are injured and not immediately able, have someone you know to do so as soon as possible.
2. Take note of any witnesses, and secure their information.
Witness testimony can be key in proving what occurred at the time of the fall. If you are able to speak with those who may have seen the incident, take down their names and contact information.
If an accident report was filed by the location where the fall took place, request a copy as well as the contact information of the manager. This may not always be possible, but it is worth attempting as the details are crucial.
3. If you are injured, seek help immediately.
Most importantly, visit a hospital or doctor as quickly as possible. Do not wait! The more time that passes between the incident and examination by a medical professional, the more difficult it will be to prove that any injuries occurred as a direct result of the fall.
While being attended to, make note of all complaints. Do not attempt to see if bumps, bruises and pains heal themselves over time. Some injuries have delayed symptoms, so it is important to detail all possible damages.
Involve a trusted and knowledgeable attorney early in the process, so he/she can begin gathering the information needed to pursue legal action. Provide the attorney with all the information you have, including any pictures, documents, reports, and witness information is greatly useful in building a case.
Some falls may be inevitable, but those that were caused by negligence should be taken seriously and handled by a professional who is able to seek justice for those who are injured. In the event of a slip and fall or trip and fall incident in the future, be sure to heed these tips in order to facilitate your case.
Watch your step!