The Yamaha Rhino ATV is a popular off-road vehicle, with approximately 120,000 of the model 450 and model 560 having been distributed nationwide since 2003. Unfortunately, the Rhino has a history of accidents which have caused both serious injury and death. Many of the accidents involve rollovers, even at low speeds, due to the narrow, top heavy design of the vehicle. Despite the fact that Yamaha has issued several recalls and free fixes over the years, the Rhino is still in use by consumers.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ATV Safety Web, in 2006 an estimated 882 deaths and 146,600 emergency room visits have been attributed to ATV use. More than 200 lawsuits have been filed against Yamaha for injuries and deaths associated with the Rhino.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to a vehicle accident involving a Yamaha ATV rollover, please contact the South Carolina personal injury lawyers of the Louthian Law Firm P.A. today at (803) 454-1200. for a free consultation. Companies have a responsibility to provide a safe product to their customers and when they violate that trust, they can be found liable for the injuries they cause. Our ATV injury attorneys have successfully helped victims receive a fair compensation for their injuries since 1959.
Unlike more traditional ATVs which have a motorcycle style seating, the Rhino is a cart-style vehicle with side-by-side seating and an overhead cage. Originally, Yamaha released the Rhino with open sides and no doors until injuries involving fractured and crush legs and arms were reported, some of which required amputation. Some of these injuries were sustained by riders who attempted to stop the vehicle from rolling over or who couldn’t stop their limbs from hanging out of the vehicle during an accident.
Instead of immediately modifying the Rhino to fix the problem, in 2006 Yamaha sent out advisory letters to customers that explained how to handle the vehicle if it began to tip. The company also cautioned users to keep arms and legs inside the vehicle to prevent injury and sent out warning stickers that consumers could place on the vehicle. These gestures proved to be insufficient because riders continued to be injured, even when driving at low speeds. In 2007, Yamaha offered a free retrofit to install doors and passenger handholds. These fixes became standard on the 2008 models.
However, another serious issue arose for the Rhino, this time not with the structural design, but with the brakes. It was found that the brake calipers on the left front wheel could have been made incorrectly, resulting in a brake fluid leak. This leak could cause a loss of braking and control of the vehicle. The brake issue was the first official recall by Yamaha.
Recently, a new safety standard has been placed on motorcycle-style ATVs that will prohibit sales unless the manufacturers have won an approval from the CPSC for a plan to “promote ATV safety, including rider training, dissemination of safety information, age recommendations, other policies governing marketing and sale of the ATVs, the monitoring of such sales, and other safety related measures,” effective April 13, 2009. Since the Rhino is considered a UTV, it and other cart-style vehicles remain unregulated despite the associated injuries and deaths.
The Louthian Law Firm can help you today if you have been injured in an accident involving an ATV. We have proudly represented the rights of accident victims in South Carolina since 1959. We understand the pain and the financial hardships that families go through when dealing with a serious accident and because of this we never charge our clients until the case is won. Please contact us today at (803) 454-1200 for a free consultation or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form.