46 people had died in accidents The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are offering free consultations to victims of Yamaha Rhino injuries. The Yamaha Rhino off-road vehicle was recalled in March 2009 after 46 people had died in accidents – most of them caused when the Rhino rolled over.
Our Yamaha Rhino injury lawyers have determined that this vehicle was dangerously defective from the time it came on the market in 2003. Deadly rollover accidents have been associated with the Rhino for years. Yamaha Motor Corp. behaved negligently in failing to recall the Rhino in a timely manner.
If you or someone you love sustained an injury in an accident involving the Yamaha Rhino off road vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. We urge you to contact one of our Yamaha Rhino injury lawyers right way to protect your legal rights.
Yamaha Rhino Recall
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) decided to investigate the Yamaha Rhino in November 2008 because of the high number of accident and death reports involving the vehicle, as well as the high number of product liability suits that had been filed by people who were injured by the Rhino. On March 31, 2009, the CPSC announced it had investigated more than 50 incidents involving 46 driver and passenger deaths in Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models.
More than two-thirds of the accidents involved rollovers and many involved unbelted occupants. Of the rollover-related deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many appeared to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain, the CPSC said.
The same day the CPSC went public with the results of its investigation, Yamaha announced that it was recalling all Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models distributed since Fall 2003 for repair. The repairs would include the installation of a spacer on the rear wheels, as well as the removal of the rear anti-sway bar to help reduce the chance of rollover and improve vehicle handling. The repairs would also include installation of half doors and additional passenger handholds where these features had not been previously installed to help keep occupants’ arms and legs inside the vehicle during a rollover and reduce injuries. The company also extended a free helmet offer to owners of the affected Yamaha Rhinos.
Owners of the deadly Yamaha Rhino were warned not to use them until the repairs were made. After repairs on the Yamaha Rhino are completed, drivers and their passengers should always wear their helmet and seatbelt and follow the safety instructions and warnings in the on-product labels, owner’s manuals and other safety materials. The CPSC reminded Rhino users that the vehicle is only recommended for operators 16 and older with a valid driver’s license. All passengers must be tall enough to place both feet on the floorboard with their back against the seat back.
The Yamaha Rhino’s Deadly History
The problems with this dangerous vehicle come as no surprise to our Yamaha Rhino injury lawyers, who have been advocating for a recall for sometime. Yamaha itself was well aware of the Rhino’s problems for years, yet chose to do little to protect consumers from debilitating and potentially deadly injuries.
Our law firm’s investigation of the Yamaha Rhino has revealed that it is top heavy, and it has tires that are far too narrow. These design defects make it more likely that the Yamaha Rhino will tip and rollover while going through a turn, even when the vehicle is traveling at a slow speed and is on a flat surface. Furthermore, the Yamaha Rhino is designed in such a way that passengers’ legs are unprotected in the event of a rollover accident.
Victims of Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents usually experience broken or crushed legs, ankles or feet. In some cases, victims have been permanently disabled, and have had limbs amputated following a Yamaha Rhino rollover accident. When Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents involve children, the results are often fatal.
In September 2006, Yamaha Motor Corp. sent a letter to the owners of the Rhino warning that the vehicle was prone to tip while going through sharp turns. However, the wording of the Yamaha letter seemed to place much of the blame for Rhino rollover accident injuries on the victims themselves. Yamaha warned passengers of the Rhino to use seatbelts, and to keep their hands, arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The letter also included information on handling the Rhino if it should start to tip over.
In 2007, Yamaha offered to modify all Rhinos free of charge. These modifications included new doors and additional passenger handholds. These modifications were offered to all purchasers of Rhino vehicles, whether they bought their vehicles new or used. Yamaha also provided more warning labels for the Rhino and updated the Rhino owner’s manual to include information about the modifications and rollover risks.
It is painfully obvious that the steps Yamaha took in 2006 and 2007 were far from adequate. Because of the Rhino’s history of rollover accidents, the vehicle should have been recalled in 2006 at the latest. Because of Yamaha’s foot dragging, untold numbers of Rhino users may have been hurt – or worse – before the company finally issued the 2009 recall.