Our firm continues to handle civil cases against Yamaha involving the Rhino ATV because of the dangerous propensity of the vehicle to rollover and injure occupants. In our handling of these cases, we have learned through discovery efforts that the principal engineers at Yamaha were well aware that the Rhino could tip, roll-over, and cause serious injuries. Since the Yamaha Rhinos entered the United States market in 2003, over 100,000 have been sold. The Rhino has a narrow track width and a high center of gravity, which decreases the vehicle’s stability. The ATV is designed with a heavy, unpadded roll cage that in rollovers creates an additional hazard and makes the vehicle even more dangerous.
The company considered using a safety door or net during the design stage, but Yamaha never implemented either in designing and manufacturing the vehicle. We have also learned that Yamaha failed to adequately test the Rhino prior to putting the vehicle on the market for public use. We were shocked to learn that the company never even tested the Rhino to determine if it would roll over at mid-speed turns on flat ground.
In 2006, Yamaha sent letters to Rhino owners enclosing new warning labels and describing the rollover risks. In August 2007, Yamaha sent out notices that it would install doors and additional passenger handholds on its Rhino’s manufactured in the last four years.
Occupants were warned that in an event of a rollover, they should not stick their arms or legs out the vehicle. In August 2007, Yamaha sent out notices that it would install doors and additional passenger handholds on its Rhino’s manufactured in the last four years. The upgrades are available to new or used Rhinos and installed free of charge by a Yamaha dealer. These features should be regular equipment when the vehicles are manufactured and sold.
There is an effort around the nation to transfer and consolidate the cases filed against Yamaha in federal court for the purpose of conducting discovery. This effort has been opposed by numerous plaintiffs, lawyers, Yamaha, and various retailer defendants. Our firm is pursuing cases in both federal and state courts in a number of jurisdictions. If you have questions about these cases or need information on the Rhino, contact Chris Glover (Chris.Glover@BeasleyAllen.com) or Mike Andrews (Mike.Andrews@BeasleyAllen.com) in our firm at 800-898-2034.
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