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Since its introduction in 2003, the Yamaha Rhino all-terrain vehicle has been the company’s top selling ATV. They are popular due to their side-by-side passenger configuration, like a small car, and there is an area in the rear to hold cargo. They sell for $8,000 to $12,000.
However, the Rhino ATV is also responsible for many severe injuries and several deaths. The most common injuries are to the foot, ankle, and leg. Broken bones and lacerations are common. There have also been cases of limbs needing to be amputated due to the severity of the injuries. The fatalities associated with the Rhino ATV have mostly involved children.
The rollover threat is greatest on the Yamaha Rhino 660 and Rhino 450 when making sharp turns at any speed. These ATVs are top heavy, have an extremely narrow wheel base, and a high center of gravity. While the owner’s manual tells operators and passengers to wear seatbelts and helmets, there is no mention of the possibility of a rollover danger or other design defects. They were sold without doors prior to 2008, except as an added accessory. The doors have not helped to completely eliminate the injuries caused by the Rhinos rolling over. They are half-doors, and may come unlatched in the event of a rollover.
Rather than recalling Rhinos purchased before late last year, Yamaha simply installed half-doors and hand grips on all Rhino models, an implicit acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the ATV. In fact, the only recall announced by Yamaha was to fix the left-hand front wheel’s brake caliper. The stated problem is that a broken caliper might cause the ATV to leak brake fluid. Again, just as in the case of the owner’s manual, no mention of the high number of rollovers was ever made. Yamaha still believes the Rhino to be safe, while critics believe the Rhino to be one of the least safe ATVs on the market.
The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a defective Yamaha Rhino ATV. We have handled many defective auto claims, and our lawyers will provide you with highly personalized, aggressive representation in order to ensure that negligent manufacturers are held responsible for their actions.
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