Difference between trips and slip and falls

The average person doesn't put much thought into the difference between "tripping" and "slipping." Often, people use these terms interchangeably. But, when it comes to injuries caused by another person's negligence, a personal injury attorney must know the difference between the two types of falls.

According to the National Safety Council, falls are among the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States. When someone is injured on another person's property, it's essential to identify the type of fall, what caused it, and what injuries resulted from it. The difference between the two types of falls may change how a fall injury lawyer approaches your case, the type of information the attorney will need, how the property owner is held liable, and even the amount of compensation that will be pursued.

The Differences Between Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls

There are different causes and potential injuries from slip and falls and trip and falls.

Causes of Falls

Falls happen for a variety of reasons. Some common causes of:

  • Slip and falls include wet or slippery substances on the ground. These substances may include water, ice, spilled items (such as beads), and recently cleaned or waxed floors. In these types of falls, there is a loss of friction with a surface that causes the foot to slip outward and upward. A person who slips usually falls backward because the person's center of mass shifts behind them.
  • Trip and falls include fixed objects, uneven surfaces, or objects in a person's path. For example, people often trip and fall on broken sidewalks, poorly placed items left on the floor, or in poorly lit spaces where obstructions can't be easily seen. In trip and falls, the trip occurs when the person's foot is met with resistance from an obstacle causing forward and outward momentum that results in a fall. A person who trips usually falls forward because the person can't bring the other foot forward to avoid a fall.

Fall Injuries

Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents also cause different kinds of injuries. For example:

  • Slip and falls may cause back of the head injuries, neck injuries, brain injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, hip injuries, sprained ankles or wrists, and herniation of vertebrae
  • Trip and falls may cause front of the head or facial injuries, hand or arm fractures, elbow injuries, knee injuries, or foot injuries

What to Do After Any Type of Fall Injury

There are steps that you can take to protect your fair recovery after any kind of fall, including:

  • Reporting the accident to the property owner
  • Documenting your accident and injuries by taking pictures
  • Identifying witnesses and getting contact information
  • Seeking medical attention
  • Not making any statements about the cause of the accident to the property owner, insurance company, or anyone other than your lawyer
  • Contacting an experienced fall injury attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a fall caused by a slip or a trip, our experienced slip and fall attorneys are available to help. For more information, contact us online or call us directly at 800-800-5678 to schedule your free consultation.


Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham