CBS Report Brings to Light the Ugly Truth on the Yamaha Rhino

A CBS Special Report has finally brought to light the outrage surrounding the Yamaha Rhino. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 59 riders have been killed in accidents involving the Yamaha Rhino, an all terrain vehicle guilty of a seriously flawed design. A staggering 440 wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits are pending against Yamaha for accidents involving the Rhino, and that does not include lawsuits they have already decided to settle. For years, Yamaha has done their best to avoid public humiliation and increased legal pressure regarding the Rhino, however recent pressure from the CPSC has brought the matter to the attention of the public.

The consequences of poor design and lack of safety standards applied to the Rhino has had staggering consequences. Hundreds upon hundreds of cases have surfaced describing accidents involving crushed legs and arms, amputations, head trauma, and in far too many cases, even death.

So where does the problem stem from? Thanks to the extensive work of plaintiff’s attorneys and the experts that aide them, two fatal flaws have been discovered in the design of the Rhino. Almost all accidents involving the Rhino result from rollovers and full or partial ejection from the vehicle. Rollovers are reported to have been the result of a high center of gravity mixed with a shallow wheel base. This has resulted in rollovers even at low speeds and on flat terrain. Once the vehicle has begun to roll, injury becomes almost unavoidable, as the Rhino contains no safety restraint system, and does not include any doors which keep operators and their limbs inside the vehicle during a rollover. The results of these two design flaws has obviously been catastrophic.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, Yamaha’s response has been to deny until death. After being pressured by the CPSC to recall the product, Yamaha responded by announcing a , “free repair program,” to improve the Rhino’s handling and stability-seemingly a recall in everything but name. The company agreed to install spacers on the rear axles of the vehicles to make them a few inches wider, to remove their rear anti-sway bars, and install protective half-doors on Rhinos that don’t already have them. Owners who watch a safety video when they bring in their Rhinos will also get a $100 coupon toward purchase of a helmet. Yamaha stressed that the action was not a recall, but a, “voluntary repair program.” By avoiding the term, “recall,” Yamaha is attempting to protect itself from legal punitive damages, which has upset many agency officials and consumers.

While the evidence seems undeniable, Yamaha’s extensive legal team is making life as difficult as possible for the families of wrongfully injured or killed consumers. The problem comes from proving causation. Jurors have to be convinced that it was the design of the ATV, not driver error that caused the accident and resulting injuries. While accident reconstructions and expert testimony clearly point to faulty design, Yamaha’s attorneys have attacked its own customers by alleging improper use and dangerous driving. However, much to Yamaha’s avail, some cases brought regard drivers that are not doing anything irresponsibly. They are not going too fast, traveling on level ground, and not turning hard. They still roll over and because of lack of restraint systems these drivers and passengers are subjected to incredible injuries.

While it appears to be a long and difficult road ahead, the side of consumer safety and protection will eventually prevail. Plaintiff’s attorneys are continuing the fight to have the product entirely recalled and make sure the victims of faulty design are compensated for their pain and suffering. If you or anyone you know owns one of these vehicles, please inform them of the dangers immediately, and advise them to cease using it. Finally, if you, your family, or a friend has been a victim of an accident involving the Yamaha Rhino, please contact an attorney immediately. The only way to get Yamaha to right the situation is to press them legally. Each new case against Yamaha involving the Rhino send the message to corporations that the public demands safety be the top priority of vehicle design.

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