Hunters could face injury, death from defective tree stands

Recreational hunting is a multi-million dollar industry, and it is popular throughout West Virginia. Hunters across the state wake up well before dawn to brave cold temperatures and other harsh conditions in pursuit of deer, bears, foxes, bobcats and other animals. Most deer hunters, in particular, utilize tree stands or hunting platforms in order to have a better perspective from which to track animals. These stands can be hugely beneficial, making it possible to see deer long before they would be visible on the ground, leading to more successful hunts. Unfortunately, though, they can also be very dangerous; an estimated one-third of all hunting-related injuries nationwide is said to involve a tree stand or platform.

The 2015 fall hunting season has been off to a rocky start across the nation, with some of the biggest names in tree stands (among them Big Game and Global Manufacturing) issuing safety-related recalls of their products. While these most recent recalls – issued because the cable mechanism on the stands can spontaneously release, creating a fall hazard – have been linked to few injuries, the possibility of harm exists for people unknowingly using these defective products. After all, tree stands are purposely perched high up so as to afford the hunter a good vantage point, and falling from one can easily result in serious injuries, including:

  • Broken bones/fractures
  • Head injuries/brain injuries
  • Dislocations of hips, wrists, elbows or knees
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Accidental shooting (caused by a loaded weapon discharging while the hunter is falling or when he/she hits the ground after falling)

Should a cable spontaneously release, a platform seat collapse, a locking pin break, a carabineer fail, a safety harness come loose or another defect become apparent, the hunter using the deer stand at the time – or attempting to climb into it – will almost certainly face serious injuries. Depending on the location of the injuries, how far into the wilderness the hunter has ventured, whether he or she is alone at the time, the weather conditions and other factors, the initial injuries caused by the defective tree stand could be magnified by exposure or a delay in getting treatment.

Simply put, there are real dangers associated with the use of faulty or defective tree stands. Companies putting these products on the market for sale have a responsibility to ensure that their products have been rigorously tested and are safe for use. If they fail in their duties, people get hurt. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective tree stand – or in another hunting-related accident that is the fault of another person or company – you have legal rights. Contact Bailey, Javins and Carter, L.C., for more information. The firm has offices in Charleston, Logan and Summerville for your convenience. Contact our firm today. .