Yamaha Rhino all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were allegedly built with a design defect that has caused many injuries and even deaths due to rollovers. The Rhino was designed to be quicker and smaller than other ATVs but the design also created a high center of gravity, causing a propensity for rollovers. However, Yamaha failed to take into consideration safety features to compensate for an unstable vehicle. Complainants allege that, even at low speed, the Rhino rolls over during turns on flat surfaces because it is top heavy, narrow, and the tires are too small.
Responding to dozens of complaints within a period of two-three years of broken or crushed limbs, in September 2006 Yamaha issued safety warnings to its customers regarding seatbelt and helmet precautions. The letter stated the following:
- Driver and passenger “must always buckle the seat belt” when riding in the vehicle;
- Driver and passenger “must wear approved off-road motorcycle-type helmet that fits properly”;
- Turning too fast or sharp increases the risk of tip over; and
- If the Rhino “starts to tip, gradually steer in the downhill direction if there are no obstacles in your path. As you regain proper balance, gradually steer again in the direction you want to go; if you are in a situation where the vehicle is tipping over, do not put your arm or leg outside the vehicle to try to stop it.”
In addition to this letter, in August, 2007 Yamaha offered its customers – at no charge and possibly to avoid a recall—half doors and additional passenger handholds. The doors “are designed to reduce the likelihood that you will stick your leg out to stop the vehicle from tipping over or for any other reason in a rollover.” The problem with this offer was that (not only did it come too late) so many customers wanted doors that Yamaha quickly had a shortage, along with many disgruntled Rhino owners. Its 2008 model is equipped with half-doors and handholds.
Allegedly, Yamaha knew that the Rhino was unstable before it reached the marketplace, yet the company still does not claim responsibility to any persons injured in a rollover.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving a Yamaha Rhino ATV, you should consult an experienced attorney to provide medical assistance, advise you of your rights, and file a lawsuit. Sooner is better than later – keep in mind that each state has a different statute of limitations and some states require that a lawsuit be filed within one year from the date of an accident.
When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate your case and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact The Killino Firm, where Keeping America Safe is our primary goal. To speak with one of our other attorneys, please call us toll free at 877-875-2927, or click here to send us an email. We will respond promptly to your inquiry so that you can experience the The Killino Firm Difference.