As the popularity of hunting tree stands has grown in recent years, so has the incidence of falls and injuries. Hunting with a bow or rifle from 10 to 30 feet above the ground comes with inherent risk. Such risks increase significantly if the tree stand is defective. A ten-year study by the Ohio State University Medical Center reported the most common cause of hunting injuries in that state was from tree stand falls. Researchers identified 130 cases during the study period.
“Fifty percent of injuries resulted from falls and 92 percent of the falls were from tree stands,” the study concluded, “whereas 29 percent of the injuries were attributed to gunshot wounds.” More than half of all victims in the study suffered broken bones, and nearly two in ten suffered brain injuries. The study did not differentiate among reasons for these falls, and it did not imply defective tree stands were the only cause. In addition to fatigue, alcohol consumption, or complacency, however, defective equipment can make situations worse.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of tree stands are being recalled each year due to safety hazards. Some examples:
- A stand’s cable assembly released, which resulted in the hunter sutaining a broken vertebra, broken rib and sprained shoulder.
- A cable assembly released, which led to a fall that caused knee, wrist and hip injuries.
- A stand’s aluminum platform broke.
- Another product could bend at a downward angle, posing a fall risk.
- The brackets failed on a stand, causing it to come away from the tree and resulting in broken bones to the user.
These examples address only reported product recalls. The manufacturer of the tree stand involved in your accident may be aware of a safety issue. However, that does not guarantee they have done everything reasonable to address the problem. If you or someone you know has been involved in a tree stand mishap, do not assume the manufacturer took all necessary steps to inform its customers. You may be eligible for compensation.
In one extreme case, a hunter in Illinois had to have her lower leg amputated when a tree stand’s safety lock released, causing the hunter to fall 15 feet to the ground and severely injuring her ankle. An inexpensive safety pin would have prevented the injury. The victim received $1.5 million a settlement.
Ask the Right Questions
Questions to consider when consulting an attorney about a potential legal claim:
- Did the tree stand cause you injury?
- Did you seek medical attention?
- Were you using a tree stand as it was designed?
- Did you follow proper installation and safety instructions?
- Did you suffer losses other than medical bills, such as lost earnings or other financial issues?
A lawyer experienced with defective tree stand cases can also help you determine if:
- Other consumers of the same product have reported similar incidents.
- The manufacturer has reported a product safety recall.
- The recall occurred in a timely manner.
- The manufacturer has effectively and thoroughly communicated product issues.
Seek Expert Legal Advice
If you have been injured in a tree stand incident, please contact a product liability or personal injury attorney with a history of success in handling personal injury or product liability claims. Do not assume you have no recourse. Do not assume your experience does not rise to a certain legal threshold. Do not assume you should not be compensated. Product liability lawsuits brought by expert attorneys against tree stand manufacturers have resulted in millions of dollars in settlements and awards.
You deserve justice. Call our law firm today for a free legal review.