Personal injuries happen for many different reasons. Sometimes people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, they are injured due to the actions of someone else, or the building or property that they are walking on is not properly maintained and a slip or trip results in a damaging fall.
While slip and fall and trip and fall personal injuries seem very similar, there are subtle but important differences. If a slip and fall case is submitted to the courts and the cause of the fall was clearly a trip, then the case may be dismissed since the cause of injury was misrepresented. In addition, understanding the differences between the two types of cases will help to you gather the information that you need to successfully win a personal injury lawsuit.
Slip and Fall Personal Injury Lawsuit
Slips happen when someone is walking or running and either foot slips across the surface. In the majority of cases, the person will fall backwards or to the side. Occasionally, a person may fall forward during a slip. Slips can occur when when the surface is wet, (see our blog on wet floor accidents) slick with an oily substance, icy, or the texture of the surface suddenly changes.
After a slip, it is important to gather any evidence that may have contributed to the slip such as photographs or eyewitness accounts. The person responsible for the premises should reduce the risk of slips by maintaining the surface appropriately, post warning signs such as the yellow caution signs when a floor is being mopped, or by restricting people from movement over the surface.
Slip and Fall in a Supermarket
A shopper entered a supermarket on a cold and rainy day. There was a black rug in place in front of the store entrance. However, once the rug became soaked, the additional water pooled in the area of the cash registers. As he approached the checkout line, the shopper slipped and broke his pubis. After the injury, the store manager put a warning sign over the water but did not dry the area while the man waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Because water collection commonly occurred in the area where the man fell when there was heavy rain, the courts ruled that the store was liable for damages due to personal injury as a result of his slip and fall. A reasonable response would have been to warn customers about the pooled water and take steps to clean it up.
Trip and Fall Personal Injury Lawsuit
Trips occur when a walker’s feet run into an object above ground level or to an unexpected depression that causes them to miss a step. Since the person is moving forward when this happens, in most cases the pedestrian will fall forward. Injuries to the hands and arms occur frequently since a common response is to reach out to break the fall.
The most common type of object encountered is a raised sidewalk or a hole in the surface of the ground. The courts consider more than just the height of the protuberance or the depth of the hole when making their decision. They also include factors such as visibility and how long the defect has existed. If the trip was due to debris left in an area and access was not restricted, then a trip and fall personal injury lawsuit may be successful.
Trip and Fall in a Restaurant
A busy restaurant was cited for leaving multiple boxes in an employee work area. Even though skid-proof shoes were required work wear in order to prevent falls due to slips on the often greasy floor, the smaller boxes posed a considerable danger during hectic lunch and dinner rushes.
When a restaurant guest came into the kitchen and fell, it was easy for him to prove that he should receive compensation for his trip and fall personal injury lawsuit since the restaurant had already been cited once for hazards.