Trip and Fall vs. Slip and Fall: What’s The Difference?

So you’ve fallen on the ground and injured yourself. In the aftermath of the accident, the last thing you’d probably think about is whether it was a trip and fall or a slip and fall. I mean, you fell and got hurt, does it really matter how?

Well, if you’re looking to claim compensation for your injury, it will. Knowing whether it was a trip and fall or a slip and fall can have serious legal implications. It can affect how much you should receive or if you’re eligible for compensation at all.

What’s The Difference?

Trip and fall and slip and fall are two terms often used interchangeably. Here’s how they differ:

Trip and Fall

A trip and fall accident happens when the foot strikes or collides with an object resulting in a loss of balance. It’s usually caused by an uneven surface or an object sticking out of the ground. But it may also be due to factors like:

  • poor lighting
  • clutter
  • uncovered cables
  • obstructed views
  • wrinkled carpets

For example, imagine walking in your workplace and your foot unexpectedly collided with an uncovered cable. Unless you’ve got some sick ninja moves, you’ll most likely end up falling face down on the floor. Most of us will also attempt to brace the fall by extending our arms.

This is why most trip and fall injuries usually include:

  • head trauma
  • facial wounds
  • dislocated wrists and elbows
  • fractures
  • dislocated knees
  • hyperextended elbow
A person who has tripped and fallen near a wet floor sign.

Slip and Fall

As the term suggests, a slip and fall accident is mostly due to a slippery surface. Slipping happens when there is a lack of traction or too little friction between your foot or footwear and the ground. This causes your feet to slide over the surface you’re walking on thus propelling you to the ground.

The most common slip and fall hazards include:

  • shiny or glossy surfaces
  • snow
  • rain
  • liquid spills on smooth surfaces
  • loose or unanchored mats
  • banana peels
  • flooring or surfaces with uneven traction

Since slipping tend to make you fall backwards, a slip and fall accident is likely to cause:

  • traumatic brain injuries
  • neck injuries
  • hip fractures
  • back and spinal cord injuries
  • sprained ankles and wrists
  • cuts and abrasions
  • soft tissue injuries
  • broken elbow

Legal Implications

As mentioned, being able to tell the difference between a trip and fall and a slip and fall is important if you’re planning to pursue legal actions.

In trip and fall accidents, you tend to fall facedown. While slip and fall accidents tend to send you careening backwards. So if you’re claiming a hip injury because you tripped and fell, it doesn’t exactly add up. I mean, if you’re falling forward, you’ll likely hurt your face or arms more than your hips. That alone will throw doubt to your testimony of what exactly happened.

Remember that when you’re at court, the primary goal is to get the judge to rule in your favor. If the circumstantial evidence doesn’t make sense, how can you convince them that you’re telling the truth? You might end up losing your claim.

Of course, if you’re hurting or unconscious after the fall, the details might become hazy. This is why you need to remember as much details as you can. You can also gather testimonies from witnesses and medical records to prove your claim. The more information you have, the better you chances of winning your case.

Can You Claim Workers Comp Benefits?

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, trips, slip, and falls are the leading causes of workers compensation claims. So if you’re wondering whether you can claim workers comp benefits after a trip and fall accident, then yes, you can as long as it’s work-related.

But as with any other types of work-related injuries, claiming workers comp won’t be that easy. Employers and insurance companies don’t like paying compensation. The process will be even harder if you can’t even tell whether you tripped or slipped.

This is where you need an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Victor Malca. He’s been helping injured workers in Florida for almost three decades now. He can help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve too. Call us now for a free consultation.


Victor Malca P.A. has over 25 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.

Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida. Book a free consultation today.

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca LawAbout The Author

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.

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