Tree Stand Dangers July 13, 2018
Tree stands – also commonly called “deer stands” – are open or enclosed platforms that hunters use as stable, secure outlooks for increased hunting visibility. Although manufacturers are generally responsible for creating safe and effective products, a lack of regulations coupled with manufacturing defects and unreasonably dangerous tree stands currently cause more fatalities for hunters every year than guns do.
Because tree stands are installed off the ground (sometimes 20-40 feet or even higher), they are accompanied by major – and sometimes catastrophic – fall risks. And one of the most dangerous aspects for users is that is there are no federal safety regulations in place that require manufacturers to abide by certain standards.
It is hard to determine the exact number of injuries and fatalities that defective and dangerous tree stands have caused, and it certainly varies state-to-state depending on how popular and common hunting is. There are approximately 2 million legally registered hunters in the state of Pennsylvania, so it is critical to promote tree stand safety awareness to prevent tragedies.
Types of Tree Stand-Related Injuries
According to the PA Game Commission, people who bow or gun hunt for 50 years have a 1 in 20 chance of being injured or killed in a tree stand-related fall. And it is not just falling from a tree stand that can result in a fatality: sometimes tree stands are defective and create dangers for users all on their own.
Some of the most common types of injuries (many of which can be fatal) attributed to tree stands are:
- Spinal injuries and/or fractures;
- Pelvic fractures;
- Neurological (brain) injuries;
- Organ injuries, and:
- Rib and/or collarbone fractures
Human error can also play a role in tree stand injuries and deaths. If you are going to be using a tree stand, please make sure to observe the following safety precautions:
- Wear a full body harness the entire time using a tree stand;
- Do not leave tree stands outside year round;
- Tell someone your hunting itinerary (i.e. where you will be, for how long, etc.) and if possible, take a cell phone;
- Wear a whistle in case of emergencies;
- Attach a small, fixed knife to the upper portion of your harness, and:
- Inspect your tree stand every time before using it
To read more helpful safety tips from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s website, please visit: https://www.governor.pa.gov/eight-tree-stand-safety-tips-hunters-should-know-before-heading-to-woods/.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) determined that structural failures, general tree stand construction and safety harness breakage are all commonly identified reasons behind falls from tree stands. This means that manufacturers do not always produce safe products, and that some even value making money over the lives and safety of their consumers. And it seems that until federal safety regulations are put into place, hunters and other tree stand users may continue to sustain preventable – as well as fatal – injuries.
If you were injured in a fall from a tree stand or because of a defective safety failure, please contact a representative at our firm who can help.
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Victims of Defective Products
If you sustained injuries because of a defective or dangerous tree stand, please contact our Philadelphia product liability lawyersat Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.