When you visit someone else’s property in Albuquerque, such as a home, a swimming pool, a store, a sports arena, or a park, you expect it to be fairly safe to navigate. In other words, you don’t arrive there expecting to slip, trip, or fall on something and to suffer such serious injuries that you require medical attention or that endanger your life. Unfortunately, that often occurs in our city and the rest of New Mexico.
However similar fall accidents seem, they seldom affect victims similarly. If you compare trip and fall injuries versus slip and fall injuries, you’ll find that while some common outcomes can occur, there are also notable differences. We’ll shed light on how trip and fall and slip and fall accidents differ and the injuries that stem from them below.
How Do Trip and Fall Accidents Occur?
As you may suspect, a trip and fall accident occurs when someone stumbles, gets their foot caught up on something, or loses their footing when navigating a hazard. Some examples of situations in which trips and falls occur include:
- Catching one’s foot on the rolled-up edge of a doorway entry mat at a grocery store
- Not noticing a pothole in a poorly lit grocery store parking lot and catching one’s foot in it before tumbling to the ground
- Falling down stairs because a tread or handrail is loose, they’re strewn with debris, or inefficient lighting makes it unclear of their existence
- Becoming caught up by a power cord that is inconveniently and unexpectedly running across a highly trafficked path
- While working, whether from navigating different obstacles in cramped quarters or falling from one level to another, according to the National Safety Council
- Improperly maintained elevators or escalators that cause them to experience power surges, and for objects to easily become struck in the stairs or combs or in between the stall and its opening
- Losing one’s footing when encountering an unmarked curb, wheel stop, or stair when circulating a parking lot, traveling onto or off a sidewalk, or into a business or home
- Not noticing an uneven sidewalk and getting one’s shoe stuck in the concrete slabs, causing a fall
What Leads to the Occurrence of Slip and Fall Incidents?
Slips and falls may occur under a variety of circumstances, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They’re most common when:
- Someone enters a foyer, lobby, or store entryway where rainwater has been tracked in, doesn’t notice it, and loses traction, falling to the ground
- There are spills of liquids or puddles of melted ice at beverage preparation stations that haven’t been cleaned up
- Pipes burst or leak in a public restroom, making users’ navigation of wet flooring hazardous
- Spills of oils, clothes detergent, banana peels, and other potential hazards go uncleaned on floors, leaving customers vulnerable to sliding on them
- Accumulated ice, snow, or a wintry mix isn’t salt-treated or removed, leaving visitors to navigate these treacherous grounds
- Someone drops something like papers suddenly, leaving the person behind them or traveling in their direction with little time to respond to avoid stepping on top of them, which ultimately causes them to lose their stable footing
- A child is running around a tile swimming pool deck that has significant accumulations of water and chemicals and loses their footing
Much like trips and falls, many more scenarios may lead to a slip and fall incident, all of which can leave victims with significant injuries.
Injuries That Trip and Fall Victims Suffer
A trip and fall incident generally involves a person falling forward compared to a slip and fall, which often causes an individual to fall backward. Trips also frequently involve a forward propulsion motion, whereas a slip involves more of a loss of footing or slide.
If we go with this logic, it’s quite possible to see where someone suffering a trip and fall may be more likely than a slip and fall victim to suffer:
- Wrist injuries: Our wrists can withstand a gradual increase in pressure; however, any sudden impact to them, such as when you attempt to break your fall, can leave them vulnerable to becoming jammed, strained, sprained, or broken.
- Blunt force head trauma: This may happen as a person’s skull collides with flooring, shelving, or other rigid objects nearby (if they aren’t effective in breaking their fall).
- Skull fractures: These often go hand-in-hand with blunt force trauma to the head. While our skulls are fairly solid, a fracture can occur when a person’s head strikes another rigid surface with just the right amount of impact.
- Broken bones: While a fractured skull and wrist are notable injuries someone who had a trip and fall accident may sustain, really any bone that makes contact with the hard surface as you crash down during a fall could end up broken. It’s not uncommon for trip and fall victims to break their kneecaps, shoulders or shoulder blades, or arms as they fall to the ground.
Slip and fall victims often fall backward, a direction our bodies typically resist because it deprives us of some control over the outcome. Thus, with that fall trajectory, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the following injuries are common among individuals who slip:
- Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries: A back injury can range anywhere from a strained or sprained muscle to a herniated disc to a pinched nerve, broken vertebrae, or something as serious as a spinal cord injury—which can be a complete or incomplete one, resulting in different extents of impairments.
- Neck injuries: These can be independent of or associated with spinal cord injuries. Neck injuries often occur when a slip and fall victim’s head collides with the floor or another hard surface as they tumble to the ground.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Blunt force head injuries and skull fractures that we shared that trip and fall victims often suffer can also afflict those who have slips and falls. And traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are something that anyone who falls and hits their head on something rigid has to also think about. Injuries as serious as TBIs can leave victims with a lifetime of behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and functional setbacks.
Cuts (also known as lacerations), bruises (commonly referred to as contusions), and soft tissue injuries like strains and sprains are common slip and trip injuries. However, they’re recoverable. Individuals who suffer the injuries above may never be able to return to life as they knew it before their accident.
What To Do if You’ve Been Hurt in a Slip or Trip and Fall Accident
New Mexico has premises liability laws in place that allow individuals who have been hurt due to the negligence of others to seek compensation that they can use to pay for their medical bills, cover their lost wages, and other accident-related costs.
Victims must show that an Albuquerque business or property owner was aware or should have been aware of the potentially hazardous situation and that they did nothing to remedy it to prove liability in their case. This is where Buckingham & Vega Law Firm can help. We can assist you in building a premises liability case that demonstrates how it’s unlikely you would have suffered harm had it not been for the property owner’s negligence.
So, if you’re wondering what steps to take after either a trip and fall or slip and fall accident in Albuquerque, where you’ve suffered severe injuries like the ones described above, reaching out to personal injury lawyers like ours is best. It will go a long way to preserving your right to file a lawsuit to hold a negligent property owner accountable and ensure you receive the best possible settlement in your case.
Speaking with a slip and fall attorney from Buckingham & Vega Law Firm about your case in a free case evaluation is free. Also, rest assured that our lawyers only charge you for their legal representation if they win a settlement for you. So, email or call us as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation. It’s the first step in the right direction to building a strong Albuquerque premises liability case after you’ve suffered trip and fall or slip and fall injuries.