Hunters view Climbing Tree stand
Although hunting from an elevated platform presents many hunters with a significant advantage in the field, a long line of serious injuries and deaths due to defective equipment and irresponsible safety practices have occurred to those using the stands.
As many of these injuries are a result of poorly designed hunting equipment, there have been many models of hunting tree stands that have been recalled by manufacturers. Many injured hunters have chosen to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of dangerous hunting tree stands and have been awarded considerable sums in damages.
There are many safety concerns that come into play when purchasing and using a hunting tree stand. The most serious safety issue comes from faulty hunting tree stands that suddenly detach from the tree while the hunter is waiting in the perch. A long fall from a perch high up in a tree can cause injuries ranging from sprained ankles to broken bones or even death. In other cases, a hunting tree stand can collapse and leave a hunter hanging in his safety harness in such a way that it can be difficult to get out of the harness and climb down the tree to safety. Many hunting tree stand injuries come in the form of accidents that occur while a hunter is climbing up and down from the platform.
Since many of the injuries caused by hunting tree stands result due to faulty equipment, various models of hunting tree stands have been recalled over the years. Sometimes hunting tree stand manufacturers are able to recall flawed stands before a hunter is seriously injured, but many hunting tree stand recalls are the mandated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after injured hunters have filed lawsuits and official complaints.
Under federal law, all hunting equipment manufacturers are required to immediately report any flawed products that pose a significant safety hazard to the CPSC the moment that they are discovered. Failure to do so can result in civil penalties that can be as high as half a million dollars, as well as possible criminal charges.
In many cases, the manufacturers of defective hunting tree stands have found themselves in court defending themselves against those who have sustained serious injuries due the failure of this dangerous equipment. In early 2009, a jury awarded $157 million dollars to the spouse of a deceased hunter who was killed when his hunting stand came loose from a tree and caused him to lose his life after he was hanged to death by his safety harness. In that case, hunting equipment manufacturer TSR had recalled over 9, 000 faulty Ol’ Man Tree Stands following the victim’s death in 2006.
The Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 was specifically designed to ensure that consumers are protected from faulty consumer products like defective hunting tree stands through the oversight of an independent agency.
Although hunting tree stands have become very popular in recent years due to the significant advantage that they offer hunters, the stands also present a serious safety hazard when they are not designed properly.
The most common injuries caused by defective hunting tree stands are sustained as a result of the tree stand suddenly coming loose from a tree, causing broken bones and spinal injuries when the unsuspecting hunter falls. Due to clear regulations by various consumer protection agencies, hunters are legally entitled to seek appropriate damages when they are inadvertently injured due to faulty equipment that does not belong on the market. Over the course of the last decade, personal injury attorneys representing many injured hunters have filed successful lawsuits in which the manufacturers of defective hunting tree stands have been required to provide financial compensation for damages inflected by their products.
One of the best known lawsuits involving faulty hunting tree stands occurred in 2008 against Ardisam Inc., an equipment manufacturer located in Cumberland, Wisconsin. According to the lawsuit, the company was well aware of a serious safety flaw with one of their hunting tree stand models since the early spring of 2000, but failed to issue a safety recall until May 2004.This was a direct violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act, which requires all hunting equipment manufacturers to immediately notify the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) upon the discovery of any product that poses a significant safety risk to the public. Once they finally notified the CPSC of the problem, Ardisam issued a recall of nearly 80, 000 of the hunting tree stands.
In this particular case, the lawsuit was filed by the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation rather than by injured hunters. Although Ardisam denied all allegations of wrong doing, the prosecution successfully proved that the corporation had received a long list of complaints by injured hunters who discovered that the hunting tree stand detached from trees during use. In early 2008, Ardisam finally decided in favor of a settlement with the Department of Justice that required the company to pay $420, 000 in civil penalties to the government.