Product Liability – Are Tree Harnesses Safe?

Are You Using A Tree Harness?

Snap-hook and V-rings are parts used in tree harnesses commonly purchased by hunters to obtain optimal hunting shots from way up high in a tree.  Product liability issues may arise when these parts are defective and dangerous.  Some falls may be minor, moderate or may even result in a wrongful death.

Recently we learned of a case between a tree harness manufacturer and a component manufacturer of the tree harness and a settlement approaching close to $2,000,000. The hunter received major and permanent traumatic injuries when he climbed about 25 feet up a tree in Missouri and hooked himself in a tree harness manufactured by an unnamed tree harness manufacturer and tree harness part maker. The harness was advertised as giving hunters the maximum flexibility needed to maneuver in trees so that they can receive the widest variety of great shooting angles. To do this, hunters were told to twist around the trees to get their shots. Unfortunately, this snap-hook and v-ring combo did not have a locking mechanism, but rather could be “unhooked” in one quick twisting type movement. Unfortunately, the rest of the story is easy to figure out. The twisting movement of the hunter in the tree caused a roll-out situation from the twisting/torsional movement being applied to the snap-hook and V-ring combo.

What makes matters worse is that this information had been known to occur with some of the above mentioned parts and some parts were even clearly in violation of industry and American National Standards Institutes (ANSI) related to fall arrest systems.

As part of the settlement agreement, the hunter’s identity as well as the manufacturer of the tree harness and the tree harness components were to remain confidential.

For further statistical information about consumer product safety see the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

I’M ED SMITH, a Sacramento Products Liability Lawyer since 1982.
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Feel free to call me anytime at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 elsewhere for free, friendly, advice on any premises liability or products liability question.

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