It has been estimated that approximately 10 percent of hunters who actively use tree stands are injured each year. A fall from a tree stand can result in serious injuries, or even death, in extreme cases. According to experts, those who fall from a tree at a height of 17 feet or lower have a high rate of survival, while those who fall from a height over 24 feet have a high rate of death.
When a fall does occur, even if the individual survives, 10 percent suffer permanent neurological deficits. When you think about it, this makes sense. The higher you are in a tree, the more velocity your body gets as it falls. In fact, at heights of 30 feet, your body may reach 30 mph before hitting the ground.
Factors Affecting the Severity of Injuries
In addition to the velocity of a falling body, there are other factors that can impact how severe a person is injured when they fall from a tree stand. Some of the other factors that will impact this include:
- The orientation of the body when it made impact with the ground
- The surface the person landed on
- The time duration of impact
- Age and physical condition of the individual who fell
- Distribution of force
A hunter who falls out of a tree may also sustain additional, secondary impacts with tree limbs on their way down, or suffer other injuries related to objects close to them or on them, such as firearms, rattling antlers, broadheads or knives.
What Causes a Tree Stand to Fall?
There are several factors that may lead to an injury from tree stand fall. Some of the most common contributing factors to tree stand injuries include:
- Rifle recoil – 9%
- The hunter falling asleep – 13%
- Alcohol use – 21%
- Trying to enter or exit the stand – 25%
- Structural failure – 32%
Some of the risk factors associated with a tree stand fall including a tree stand that is faulty or homemade, not finishing a hunter safety course or hunting without proper adult supervision.
Common Injuries Associated with Tree Stand Falls
It is necessary for individuals who fall from a tree stand to receive both orthopedic and non-orthopedic treatment. In many cases, a fall can result in fractures of the pelvis, spine and the extremities. In fact, one study showed that out of 214 hunters who fell, 73 percent suffered a fracture.
Other injuries related to tree stand falls include thoracic and lumbar spine fractures, lacerations, cuts, head trauma and more.
How to Handle Tree Stand Related Injuries
If you are injured after falling from a tree stand, the best course of action is to seek the services of a personal injury attorney. They will be able to review your case and determine the cause to see if you have the right to sue the manufacturer for compensation.