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Due to defectively designed and manufactured tree stands, hunters in Ohio 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.

Tree Stand Accidents

Most hunters in Ohio 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. Ohio 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 stands ranked second and climbing stands third.

Recalled Tree Stands

  • In September, 2015, Millennium Outdoors recalled 1,400 M-60 fixed position tree stands for a fall hazard due to the tendency of the stand to bend at a downward angle. These fixed position tree stands are used to hunt from an elevated position, posing a serious danger to hunters. The defective Millennium Outdoors stands were sold at B&H Farm Supply, Farris Brothers, Gander Mountain, Midway USA and Sportsman’s Warehouse from May, 2015 through August, 2015.
  • In October, 2015 Big Game recalled about 12,200 tree stands for posing a fall hazard to hunters, as the cable assembly on the climbing tree stand can release. The recall included three Big Game climbing tree stands models: The Outlook, The Cobalt, and The Fusion. Big Game received at least one report of the cable assembly releasing which resulted in injuries. The Big Game stands were sold at Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, Menards, Rogers Sporting Goods and Sportsman’s Guide stores nationwide from June, 2014 through June, 2015.
  • In November, 2016, Summit recalled hundreds of tree stands that posed a fall hazard because a weld in the tree stand frame could break during use. The recall included the Summit Explorer SD. The recalled Summit tree stands were sold at sporting goods stores nationwide in August, 2016.

    Hunting Accidents & Defective Tree Stand Injuries

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.

Tree Stand Injury

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 specializes in representing 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 Ohio media campaigns help spread awareness of basic safety and the following safety tips:

  • Wear a full-body restraint harness
  • Stay connected to the tree from the moment your foot leaves the ground
  • Don’t leave stands out in the elements as they may degrade
  • Inspect stands and ladders before using them
  • Let someone know where you’re hunting, and when you expect to return
  • Don’t forget basic gun safety
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Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.

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Questions about Product Liability & Case Types

What is a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.

In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.

What are some examples of Product Liability?
How is a Product Defined as Defective?
Ohio Definition of Defective

A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:

(1)  Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:

These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).

As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.

(2) Defective design and/or formulation:

Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.

Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)

(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:

All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.

(4) Misrepresentation:

The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.

The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.

How do you prove design defects?

Risks:  The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product:  (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.

BenefitsThe following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)

Defenses for Defective Design(1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).


What is a manufacturing defect?
  • A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective airbags, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.

    Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.

    The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care.  Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.

    Manufacturing Defect Examples:

What is a failure to warn lawsuit?

In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:

  • The manufacturer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about a risk
  • A reasonable manufacturer would have provided a warning of the risk
  • The manufacturer failed to provide the warning
  • The person was injured due to a lack of warning. The same elements apply whether the claim is based on a warning present during the marketing or post-sale warnings.

Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims(1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).

Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.


What are consumer product safety regulations?

Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.

Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA;)
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.

Why should I hire The Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.   Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury.  Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence casesThe cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world 

Your Right to Safety

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Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.

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 Cincinnati product liability lawyer

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.



(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.

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