What is the Difference Between a Slip and Fall Accident and a Trip and Fall Accident?

When you are walking around, nobody actually expects that they will be the victim of a slip and fall or trip and fall incident. Unfortunately, in Broward County, and throughout the state of Florida for that matter, slip and fall and trip and fall incidents are extremely common. And across the United States, National Floor Safety Institute statistics show that fall incidents account for over 8 million emergency room visits each year, and slip and falls account for over 1 million of those hospital visits.

Fall injuries occur in a wide variety of ways, some of which we discuss further below. While many people use the terms “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” interchangeably, there are important differences between the two. At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., our Coral Springs slip and fall and trip and fall attorneys have extensive experience helping clients recover compensation from negligent property owners and managers in premises liability cases throughout Florida. 

Understanding slip and fall accidents

As the name suggests, a slip and fall accident revolves around someone whose feet ‘go out from under them’ on a walking surface. Slip and fall incidents occur when a person’s foot loses traction with the underlying walking surface. A slip and fall accident can happen just about anywhere that people walk. For example, many slip and falls happen at restaurants. These incidents generally occur when a person slips on food or liquid spilled on the restaurant floor. When the food or liquid is not cleaned up within a reasonable amount of time, or if an employee of the restaurant drops something on the floor, the restaurant could potentially be liable for failing to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition, and failing to warn visitors of the dangerous condition.

Another place where slip and fall accidents frequently occur due to food or liquid spilling on the floor is your local grocery store, including Publix, Walmart, Winn Dixie, Aldi, Sedano’s, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods. We have successfully handled slip and fall accident cases against most grocery store chains.

Some of the most common areas where slip and fall accidents occur in Florida include:

  • Walking surfaces where water, oil, grease, blood, or food products are left on the floor
  • Floors that are covered with dust, powder, or plastic wrap
  • Polished or waxed floors that are slippery
  • Ramps and other walking surfaces that are constructed without a slip-resistant surface
  • Parking lots and garages where the pavement has painted parking stripes, handicap space markings, directional symbols, or crosswalk identifiers that tend to become slick when wet
Understanding trip and fall accidents

Trip and fall incidents differ slightly from slip and fall incidents based on the manner in which they occur. As opposed to a person’s foot losing traction with the underlying floor, trip and falls are caused by various obstacles that a person could encounter while walking around, including things like potholes, debris, poorly constructed steps, exposed wires, and countless other safety hazards. A misstep is also another type of trip and fall accident case. That happens when somebody misses a step or misjudges a walking surface.

Some of the most common causes of trip and fall accidents include:

  • Uneven floors or walking surfaces, whether they are inside a building or outside, including on sidewalks, streets, driveways, parking lots, or anywhere else that people usually walk
  • Unexpected obstacles in hallways or walkways that a person would not anticipate finding there
  • Cables, wires, or extension cords that are left exposed in walkways
  • Abnormal or missing stair steps
  • Loose floorboards, tiles, rugs, and mats

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, contact our Coral Springs slip and fall and trip and fall attorneys now for a free legal consultation. We handle cases in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and anywhere else in Florida. And if you’d like, we offer remote consultations so that you do not have to even leave your home to discuss your legal options after a slip and fall or trip and fall accident.

Successes for our clients

Property owners and managers are frequently negligent in maintaining their premises or warning persons about hidden dangers at their premises, resulting in unnecessary slip and fall and trip and fall incidents throughout Florida. Unfortunately, property owners and managers (and their insurers) all too often try to evade responsibility for their actions. They regularly try to blame the victim for their own injuries, and the property owners and managers typically make low-ball settlement offers in the hopes that an injured person will just be happy to get some minimal compensation for their injuries. At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., our slip and fall and trip and fall lawyers in Coral Springs have a long track record of success in handling fall incidents. Below, we briefly discuss some of the fall cases in which we were able to help our clients recover much more in compensation than they were offered initially.

Johnson v. Tamarac Hotels

In this case, our client Mrs. Johnson was a guest at a Comfort Suites hotel in Tamarac, Florida. The hotel is owned and operated by Tamarac Hotels, Inc., which is a franchisee of hotel giant Choice Hotels International, Inc. While at the hotel, Mrs. Johnson slipped and fell on an accumulation of water on the floor near the ice machine. Due to the fall, she sustained serious back and shoulder injuries. In the lawsuit our office filed against Tamarac Hotels, Mrs. Johnson alleged that the defendant was negligent in failing to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, failing to correct the dangerous condition, and failing to warn of the dangerous condition. While the case was pending, Tamarac offered our client $75,000 to settle her case. On our advice, she rejected that offer and continued to trial.

This case went to trial here in Broward County, and Tamarac Hotels Inc. and Choice Hotels International Inc. were found to be liable for Mrs. Johnson’s injuries. In one of the largest jury verdicts in the State of Florida in a premises liability case that year, the jury awarded over $1.15 million to Mrs. Johnson (which was reduced to approximately $960,000 due to comparative negligence).

Reynolds v. Greenwich Studio Inc.

This case involved a 73-year-old plaintiff who sued Greenwich Studio, Inc., in Miami, Florida. The plaintiff tripped over a bump in the doorway at the studio, fracturing her left tibia and left humerus. She needed a substantial amount of physical therapy during the course of her recovery. Attorney Dan Cytryn represented the plaintiff and argued that the studio was in violation of multiple building code violations. He argued to the jury that the building had been in violation for the past 14 years due to the bump in the doorway, and that the studio should have corrected the hazard long ago. Greenwich argued that Mrs. Reynolds was comparatively at fault because the bump was noticeable and that she had visited the premises numerous times prior to the incident. During the course of litigation, Greenwich offered Mrs. Reynolds $100,000 to settle the case. Attorney Cytryn advised her not to settle for that amount, and Mrs. Reynolds rejected the offer and proceeded to trial.

Ultimately, the Miami-Dade County jury found Greenwich Studio to be liable for the incident and awarded Mrs. Reynolds approximately $1.6 million less 15% for comparative negligence (later resolved via high-low agreement).

Volin v. Gulfstream Park Racing Association

In this case, a then 72-year-old woman tripped and fell down some stairs at the Gulfstream Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida. As a result, Mrs. Volin suffered a broken hip and needed three screws placed in the hip to repair the damage. Attorney Cytryn visited the scene multiple times and hired expert witnesses to examine the conditions of the premises. During the course of the investigation, the expert determined that the stairs where Mrs. Volin fell were in violation of the Florida Building Code. Through an extensive and contentious discovery process (which required our office to file multiple motions to compel), our office learned that there had been multiple prior incidents where persons had fallen on the subject stairs at Gulfstream. 

Gulfstream’s first offer to Mrs. Volin was $2,500 to settle her case. We advised Mrs. Volin against accepting such a miniscule settlement offer. Ultimately, their best offer was $75,001, which Mrs. Volin rejected on our advice. Mrs. Volin’s case went to trial, and the plaintiff was awarded $787,508.35 in damages (which was later reduced by 50% due to Mrs. Volin’s comparative negligence), well above the settlement initially offered by Gulfstream.

Why turn to Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A.

Looking at the cases above, a common thread between them is that in each situation, a defendant offered far too little in compensation to our client in an attempt to settle the claim quickly. At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., we know when our clients are being low-balled and when they deserve more for their injuries. We have the resources and experience necessary to:

  • Investigate and obtain the evidence needed for your case
  • Hire expert witnesses to investigate the premises where your incident occurred
  • Ensure that you are evaluated by qualified medical professionals
  • Negotiate vigorously on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve
  • Litigate a case in court and prepare the case for trial

If you have been injured in a falling accident anywhere in Florida, contact our slip and fall and trip and fall attorneys in Coral Springs today. Attorney Dan Cytryn handles cases statewide, and he is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who is a specialist and expert in fall injury cases. You can contact us for a free consultation by calling 877-853-7466.