If you’ve fallen at work or on someone else’s premises, it’s important to know the difference between and slip and fall and a trip and fall accident.
Find out the difference between these accidents, causes for each, possible injuries, and ways they can be avoided.
We will also go through what you should do if you are the unfortunate victim of a trip and fall or slip and fall accident.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury where a victim loses traction and falls due to a foreign substance on the ground.
This type of accident usually results in the victim falling backward as their feet slip out from underneath them.
It is also possible for a victim to fall forward, but falling forward occurs more often with a tripping incident.
Causes of Slip and Falls
There are many ways the friction between your feet and the ground can be reduced, causing a slip and fall accident.
Some of these are:
- Spills/wet floors
- Environmental conditions such as snow, ice, rain, etc.
- Foreign objects on the floor, such as papers or food
- Waxed, polished, or freshly-cleaned floors
- Loose rugs
- Unfastened flooring
What is a Trip and Fall Accident?
A trip and fall accident is a type of personal injury where someone catches their foot or shoe on an object and falls abruptly forward.
Causes of Trip and Falls
Trip and fall accidents are caused by dangerous conditions where objects are protruding from the ground, or caused by uneven surfaces.
Some conditions that may cause a trip and fall accident are:
- Broken or jagged surfaces, such as an uneven sidewalk or broken flooring
- Objects left where they shouldn’t be, such as a pallet in the aisle of a store
- Cables or extension cords laying around
- Bunched up or unfastened rugs
Injuries Caused By Trip and Fall and Slip and Fall Accidents
There are many types of injuries that can occur in these types of accidents given the force caused by slipping or tripping and the impact with the ground.
With a slip and fall, there is the possibility of traumatic brain injury or damage to the spinal cord. This is because as you are falling backward, you may be unable to throw your arms out to catch yourself, resulting in a hard impact with the ground
With trip and falls, you are more likely to see sprained or broken wrists as you try to break your fall, or you may also see a shoulder dislocation or broken hip, depending on how you land.
In extreme cases, a fall can also result in death if you trip or fall down stairs or into another dangerous situation.
Who is at Fault in a Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall?
Who is at fault in a fall case can be difficult to prove and can vary depending on the location of the fall and the circumstances in which it took place.
The law expects a reasonable person practicing common sense should watch where they are walking, look out for hazardous conditions, and wear proper shoes. But that’s not to say that accidents don’t still happen where someone else is at fault.
A property owner has a duty to take certain basic steps to ensure the safety of other people who are on their property. What those steps are may depend on whether you are allowed to be on the property or are a trespasser.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, you and your attorney bear the burden to prove that the property owner was at fault for the accident.
And the property owner’s insurance company and their team of lawyers will try to establish that the property owner was not at fault, or that you were more at fault than the property owner was.
There are also different laws in each state that dictate what amount of fault is taken by each party’s own negligence partly caused the injury.
Dividing fault between the parties based on how much each one is responsible for the injury is known as comparative negligence. In a comparative negligence state, if the victim is found to be 51% or more at fault, they may get nothing.
There are a lot of variables to deal with in cases like this, and a good slip, trip and fall lawyer can help you navigate these situations so that you can obtain the compensation you deserve for your injury.
Slip, Trip, and Fall at Work
In most cases where a slip and fall or trip and fall accident occurs at work, an employee is covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Most states require that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance for situations like this.
Slip and falls are the leading cause of work comp claims, so it’s not uncommon for your fall to happen in a work environment.
If it does, work comp is in place to help cover your lost wages and medical expenses. It can also help compensate you for any permanent disability that you are left with after an accident.
You won’t have to prove that anyone else was at fault for the accident to receive workers’ compensation, but an employer still may try to deny you benefits that you are owed under the law. That’s why it’s important to contact a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer to help you manage your work-related slip and fall or trip and fall claim.
Slip, Trip, and Fall on Someone Else’s Property
These types of accidents fall under negligence law, meaning that if a hazard is present that leads to an accident, the premises owner may be considered negligent.
In many cases it is the responsibility of a reasonable property owner to prevent hazardous conditions on their property or post an appropriate warning sign to warn people of the danger.
If you are able to prove that the property owner knew about the hazard and could have remedied the situation or posted a warning sign, then you may have a valid fall claim.
There are also different laws in each state regarding whether a property owner is at fault for failing to remove accumulations of snow, ice, or water from their property to prevent people from slipping or falling.
What You Should Do if a Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Occurs
As with any serious injury, it’s important that you seek medical care as soon as possible.
If you fall at a commercial establishment, it is also important that you alert the owner or manager at the location. They will likely need to write a report about the incident. Try to obtain a copy of this report if you can.
Failing to report your fall in a timely manner can make you less likely to get compensation, especially if no witnesses are present. Facts about the incident and the seriousness of your injury may be downplayed by the property owner if you don’t report the injury right away.
If there are witnesses present, be sure to get their contact information and a statement if possible.
Take pictures with your phone or camera to show the liquid, substance, or material you slipped on, or the object your tripped on. This will also help to show the surrounding area, weather and lighting conditions, and lack of hazard warning signs.
Don’t talk about your injury on social media. This can be devastating to your fall claim if your social post contains evidence that you are less injured than you allege, or you post about facts differently than you did in the report.
If you fall in a public place, try to contact the city or state government as soon as you are able to alert them of the incident. For instance, if you are injured on a train platform, make sure to let the workers at the train station know what happened so they can make an incident report.
As always, talk with an experienced attorney as they will be able to help you navigate the confusing waters of proving fault in a slip and fall or trip and fall case. A qualified attorney will help you obtain the necessary evidence to prove you claim.
Preventing Slips and Trips
It is important for businesses and property owners to inspect their premises for potential risks and hazards on a regular basis.
Many risk factors can arise from normal wear and tear and natural occurrences. So diligence on the part of the property owner is an important aspect of preventing accidents.
Employees can also be trained to identify potential risks. They should be trained on how to fix a hazardous situation, or at least how to properly mark a hazard when one is found.
If you are the one on someone else’s property, there are plenty of steps you can take for your own safety as well.
Make sure you watch where you’re going. If you are staring at a phone while walking, you are more likely to trip, miss warning signs, and ultimately share in the liability for your fall.
Make sure you wear proper shoes that allow traction on most surfaces.
Also, keep a lookout for warning signs placed around hazards.
How Long Will a Slip and Fall Case Take?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.
In many cases, you may have up to 2 years to file a legal claim for your injury. However, in cases against government entities, you may only have one year.
But how long it will take to get compensation after you find an attorney and decide to pursue a case can vary widely.
A diligent legal team will work to make sure all witnesses are interviewed and a variety of evidence and records are obtained for your case.
While a good number of cases reach a settlement before they head to court, it is important that every case is prepared as if it will go to court.
Your legal team will likely draw up a demand for settlement to see if the case can be resolved without filing a case in court.
If the defendant refuses to settle, you may need take the case to court. It will take more time to get a court date plus time to resolve the litigation.
A good legal team will work hard for you every step of the way to help resolve things as fast as possible and ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve for your fall claim.
How Much is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement?
It’s difficult to answer what the average settlement is for any type of injury, as circumstances vary widely from case to case.
The true value of your case will depend on the financial losses you incurred from the accident. You may also be entitled to compensation for any permanent disabilities, pain, and suffering you’ve endured as a result of the injury.
Financial losses include medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses you’ve had to pay in order to recover and recoup from your injury.
Pain and suffering damages are awarded based on how much harder your life has become while having to deal with your injury. And if you’ve been permanently disabled, you may be owed compensation for being unable function like you did in the past.
A settlement could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to up to $2 Million or higher.
It all depends on the situation, the extent of your injuries, and the extent of the negligence of the premises owner.
Contact VanDerGinst Law
Being the victim of a slip and fall or trip and fall accident can make life hard.
You have to find ways to pay your medical bills and recover from your injury, all while trying to get compensation to cover these items along with lost wages, pain, and suffering.
At VanDerGinst Law, we are here to listen to your story and offer a free consultation for your injury case.
You need a team of personal injury lawyers on your side that have years of experience with slip and fall cases and know what needs to be done to help you reach the best outcome.
At VanDerGinst Law, all costs are advanced, and you pay us nothing on your injury case unless you win. That means no attorney fees, no retainers, no paying to obtain records, and we don’t get paid unless your case settles or wins in court.
We are here to provide you the legal help you need so you can take the time you need to recover from your injury.
The law is tough, being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.