What Is the Difference Between Slip, Trip, and Fall?

What Is the Difference Between Slip, Trip, and Fall?

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What Is the Difference Between Slip, Trip, and Fall?

Slips and trips can both result in severe falls that can lead to devastating and permanent injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls causes a significant injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury. The consequences of a severe fall can change a victim’s life, impacting their physical and emotional well-being and resulting in steep medical expenses.

Understanding the subtle differences between a trip, slip, and fall can be essential for your compensation claim. Morgan & Morgan is here to help. Our slip and fall lawyers can assess your fall, determine whether you slipped or tripped due to a hazard, and pursue compensation from the responsible business or property owner.

Since the time to file a lawsuit is generally limited, contact us now for a free case evaluation to determine your next best steps.

Slips, Trips, and Falls Explained

Slips, trips, and falls are perhaps the most common causes of injuries at home, in the workplace, in stores, and in other environments. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some crucial differences.


A slip occurs when there is a loss of traction between the foot and the walking surface. Various factors can cause slips, including:

  • Loose mats and rugs
  • Wet floors
  • Food or grease on floors
  • Recently waxed or mopped floors

In a slip and fall accident, the affected person usually falls back due to the leading foot sliding forward. Falling backward can result in debilitating and permanent injuries.


Trips typically happen when a person’s foot strikes an object or gets trapped by an obstacle, causing the individual to lose balance and potentially fall. Hazards that could cause trips include:

  • Cluttered walkways
  • Uneven flooring
  • Unsecured electrical cords
  • Broken steps
  • Missing floorboards
  • Cracks or potholes in sidewalks

Unlike slips and falls, trip and fall accidents typically cause the individual to fall forward as their torso continues to move while the feet are stuck.


Falls occur when a person cannot maintain balance and falls to the ground or a lower level. In many cases, slips or trips cause falls. However, they can also arise when individuals fall from defective ladders or scaffolding or lose balance while reaching for something.

Businesses and property owners should take steps to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. However, not all property owners keep their premises free of hazards. If you or a loved one suffered a fall injury at another’s property, Morgan & Morgan’s slip and fall lawyers could help you get justice and compensation.

Injuries From Slips and Falls vs. Trips and Falls

While trips and slips often lead to a similar result, namely a fall, they can have distinct injuries. Depending on whether the individual falls forward, as is typical in a trip and fall, or backward, as often occurs in slips, there are differences in injuries an individual suffers.

Trip and Fall Injuries

Injuries from trips and falls tend to be less severe than those from slips and falls, but victims can still expect to sustain bruises, cuts, and sprains. Other common injuries from trips and falls include:

  • Wrist and hand fractures
  • Abrasions
  • Twisted ankles
  • Muscle strains and tears
  • Knee injuries

Slip and Fall Injuries

Since an individual tends to fall backward when slipping, they typically have no opportunity to cushion their fall with their hands and arms. Therefore, slip and fall injuries tend to be more severe and can include:

  • Fractures
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries

In the most severe cases, severe slip and fall accidents can result in permanent disabilities, such as paralysis or brain damage.

However, other factors can also determine the extent and severity of fall injuries. For example, injuries from slips and trips can vary depending on the height of the fall, the surface on which the person lands, the age and health of the victim, and other factors.

Your Best Next Steps After a Trip or Slip and Fall

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you can take the necessary steps to protect your health, safety, and legal rights. Here is what you should do:

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you do not feel any pain or discomfort immediately, getting checked out by a doctor can be crucial for your health. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a doctor can help you identify potential issues and begin treatment.

Report the Fall Accident Immediately

Report the accident to the property owner or manager as soon as possible. If the accident occurred on public property, report it to the appropriate government agency. Be sure to get a copy of the incident report.

Gather Evidence of Your Accident and Injuries

Take photos of the accident scene, including any hazards or conditions that may have contributed to your fall. Get the contact information for any witnesses, and take notes about what happened. Make sure to keep all records relating to the accident, such as:

  • Medical statements
  • Receipts for expenses
  • Proof of missed work time

Gathering evidence is vital if you decide to file a claim or lawsuit.

Consult a Slip and Fall Lawyer as Soon as Possible

If you suffered significant injuries in a slip or trip and fall, consider consulting a personal injury attorney at Morgan & Morgan. We can advise you on your legal rights and options in a free, no-obligation consultation.

Beware of Insurance Adjusters

If an insurance company or adjuster contacts you, be careful what you say. Avoid admitting fault, and do not sign documents or agree to a settlement until you consult an attorney.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Adhering to your medical treatment plan can be critical for safeguarding your health and recovering compensation. Follow your doctor’s instructions closely and attend all follow-up appointments. This will help you recover more quickly and strengthen your case if you decide to pursue legal action.

Slip and fall accidents can have long-term consequences. Therefore, taking the proper steps after getting injured and consulting with an experienced slip and fall lawyer can protect your rights.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • Are There Legal Differences Between Slips, Trips, and Falls?

    The main difference between a trip-and-fall accident and a slip-and-fall accident is the cause of the fall. As we have seen, a trip-and-fall accident occurs when your foot hits an object, while a slip and fall accident happens when your foot loses traction.

    However, both types of accidents can result in severe injuries and considerable medical expenses. Moreover, you could be entitled to compensation whether you slipped and fell or tripped and fell, provided your accident occurred due to a hazard on another’s property. A slip and fall lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help you understand your legal options.

  • Where Do Slips, Trips, and Falls Commonly Occur?

    Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere. However, there are specific locations where falls are more common. The risk of slipping and tripping increases when the flooring is wet, uneven, or cluttered. Common areas where slips and trips can occur include:

    Walkways and Outdoor Areas

    Uneven pavements, icy or wet conditions, and poorly maintained parking lots or sidewalks can all increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

    Public places

    Falls due to slips or trips can be common in public places such as shopping malls, supermarkets, and restaurants. Wet floors, cluttered aisles, and poorly lit areas can all contribute to these accidents.


    Fall accidents are particularly frequent in construction, manufacturing, and hospitality. However, falls can also happen in offices and other work environments.

    The owners of properties, such as grocery stores, hotels, shopping malls, and other premises, are responsible for ensuring there are no hazards that could cause visitors to slip or trip and fall. You could qualify for compensation if you or a loved one got injured in a fall. Our slip and fall lawyers can walk you through your legal options and move forward with a claim on your behalf.

  • Are There Differences Between Proving a Trip and Fall vs. a Slip and Fall?

    In compensation claims for both slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, the injured party must prove that the property owner or occupier was negligent and that this negligence caused the accident. Negligence can involve failing to take reasonable steps to prevent trips and slips, such as:

    • Failing to clean up a spill promptly
    • Neglecting to remove a dangerous condition from the walking area
    • Failing to place warning signs of hazards

    The legal principles regarding compensation claims for slips and falls and trips and falls can be similar, as both involve proving the property owner or occupier’s negligence. However, there could be subtle differences in legal requirements and procedures, depending on the jurisdiction and laws in place. Speaking to a slip and fall lawyer can be vital for understanding your rights.

  • How Can a Slip and Fall Lawyer at Morgan & Morgan Help Me?

    If you suffered an injury in a fall, our determined slip and fall lawyers could help you get the compensation you need to recover and get your life back on track. Here are some ways Morgan & Morgan could help you:

    Expert Legal Representation

    Our slip and fall attorneys are well-versed in premises liability law, which involves holding property owners and occupiers accountable for fall victims’ injuries. We can build your case and prove a property or business owner’s negligence.


    Our slip and fall lawyers can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident and gather crucial evidence, such as photos, witness statements, and video footage, to strengthen your case.


    Most slip and fall cases are settled out of court. Our experienced attorneys can aggressively negotiate with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation. If the insurer refuses a fair payout, we can take them to court.

    Trial Representation

    If your slip and fall case goes to trial, we can represent your case powerfully in court, presenting evidence and arguing on your behalf.

    Maximizing Compensation

    Our attorneys could help you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

    A Shoulder to Lean On

    Morgan & Morgan’s compassionate slip and fall lawyers can be your shoulder to lean on and provide emotional support during your most challenging times.

  • Which Damages Can Slip or Trip and Fall Victims Receive?

    The damages you could receive with a slip and fall lawsuit will generally depend on the circumstances of your case, the severity of your injuries, your expenses in connection with the accident, and the applicable state law. Typically, victims could be entitled to the following damages and others:

    • All accident-related medical bills
    • Future healthcare expenses
    • Income loss
    • Rehabilitation therapies
    • Out-of-pocket costs
    • Physical and emotional anguish
    • Disability

    In rare cases, you may also recover punitive damages, intended to punish the defendant for their intentional or reckless behavior and deter future similar conduct. However, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases of misconduct or negligence.

  • Morgan & Morgan Fights Hard for Your Rights

    If you suffered injuries due to tripping or slipping and falling on another’s property, don’t risk getting shortchanged by an insurance company. We could help you recover the total worth of your claim, allowing you to look forward to the future without worrying about facing a financial meltdown due to your fall injuries.

    Morgan & Morgan’s results speak for themselves. We never settle for less and have recovered more than $20 billion for clients to date. When insurance companies drag their heels, we drag them to court. Our slip and fall lawyers are ready to fight for you. You pay nothing unless we win. Contact us now for a free case review to find out how we can help you.

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