Due to defectively designed and manufactured tree stands, hunters may be at risk of severe injuries resulting from falls and other accidents. If a tree stand collapses or comes loose from a tree, permanent injuries or death may result. Falls from even a modest height can lead to broken bones, spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
Product liability law holds tree stand manufacturers responsible for hunting accidents and injuries related to defective equipment. Particularly because of their use, suspending hunters in trees, manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the equipment they market and distribute. If a tree stand manufacturer is aware of any defect, they are required to warn consumers and issue prompt safety recalls.
If a manufacturer fails to provide consumers with a safe product, they may be held liable for injuries sustained. Victims and families may seek compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for negligence and a disregard for the safety of consumers.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and sporting equipment cases.
Most hunters are more likely to be injured in a fall from a tree stand than from an accidental gunshot. Injuries may be severe, as tree stands are often set up greater than 20 feet off the ground. Hunters who fall from about 15 feet or less from a tree stand tend to survive, while hunters who fall 24 feet or more are likely to suffer fatal injuries.
Studies indicate that a hunter who uses tree stands has about a 5 percent chance of being injured in a fall from a tree stand at some point in a hunting career. Trauma centers, however, keep records of the patients that report “hunting” and “tree stand” accidents.
Hunting accidents can result in complications primarily because they occur in remote locations and it can take many hours to transport victims to a hospital for care.
Accidents may be underreported as well, as in most states, tree stand accidents do not have to be reported to the governing wildlife agency. Defective tree stand accidents are most likely to be reported if it is a result of a defective tree stand.
Hang-on tree stands are the most common stands used in tree stand accidents. Ladder stand style ranked second and climbing stands third.
DICK’S, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, issued a voluntary recall of some Field & Stream Timberline Hang On Tree Stands as the weld on the seats can break. The weld on the seats allegedly can break and cause the seat to fall from the tree, posing a fall injury hazard.
In 2017, a New Jersey jury turned in an $18.5 million verdict against Primal Vantage Co., a tree stand manufacturer the jury said had failed to reasonably warn about the risks of their product.
The jury award included around $870,000 for medical expenses, $1.2 million for lost wages and $13 million for pain and suffering. The jury found that the company manufactured an unreasonably dangerous product without warning of the risks involved.
Recently a Missouri man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three manufacturers—Mainstream Holdings, Inc., Premier Outdoor Equipment (Big Game Tree Stands), and Global Manufacturing, LLC.
According to the lawsuit, the deceased hunter climbed onto the Big Game tree stand and he slipped. He was wearing a safety harness but his foot got caught between the tree stand’s footrest and the bottom of the platform. The harness prevented the man from falling, however, he was unable to pull himself back up or get his left foot loose.
The lawsuit claims that the manufacturers of the tree stand should have known the device was “inherently dangerous” and prone to trap a user’s foot between the footrest and bottom of the tree stand.
The lawsuit also claims the company failed to meet industry standards related to the design and manufacture of hanging tree stands, failed to issue a recall, and failed to modify the product to prevent hunting injury and tree stand accidents.
Officials are concerned because even as hunter numbers have been on the decline, tree stand accidents have been on the rise. An Ohio study focused on 130 hunting-related accidents of all types in the Columbus area from 1998-2007.
Almost half of injuries were tree stand related, while 29 percent involved firearms. Injuries are quite severe. Of the tree stand accident victims, 59 percent suffered spinal fractures, 81 percent required some type of surgery and 8 percent were left with permanent neurological issues.
The Lyon Firm represents injured plaintiffs in personal injury and product liability lawsuits involving defective consumer products like defective tree stands and defective firearms. Manufacturers may be liable for injury and settlement can be likely following a preventable injury or death.
Education and media campaigns help spread awareness of basic safety and the following safety tips:
ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
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Product liability cases have had a positive impact on consumer safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as tree stand and hunting equipment companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Tree stands and other hunting equipment can be dangerous if used improperly or fails to function as intended. Any malfunction of a tree stand can result in serious injury or death.
A tree stand may be defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use, which of course is to be placed at height and to hold a potential adult.
The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, failure to warn of the risks, improper instructions for use, defective design or missing parts.
Injuries sustained while hunting could be the result of a tree stand defect or a defective firearm. Injuries may include head and spinal injuries, fall injuries, fractures, puncture woulds, lacerations and wrongful death.
Thousands of hunters have tree stand-related accidents and they often result in severe injury and a few deaths each year.
Most accidents are related to cable failures, improper placement, lack of fall protection, and structural failure, which can result in fall injuries, broken bones and spinal injury.
Product liability lawsuits can be filed when a tree stand is found to be defective. If a tree stand or another sporting good is determined to be defective, the manufacturer is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.
Defective hunting products on the market present serious safety hazards. Cheap and defective hunting products may pose accidental discharge; strangulation and choking risks; and severe safety risks. The manufacturers of sports equipment have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.
Sporting goods companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their product liability lawyer