Yamaha Rhino Safety Defects Lead to Accidents
Complainants allege that the utility terrain vehicle (UTV) is too tall and too wide, making it top-heavy and easy to roll over, even at low speeds on flat surfaces. They also claim the Rhino's original design offered no protection for occupants' legs and feet, leading to serious injuries, some requiring amputations, when the vehicles rolled over.
A further claim is that the seatbelts in the vehicle are inadequate, leading to the ejection and subsequent injury or death of several people, including children.
Yamaha Attempts to Remedy the Problems
In two moves that might be seen as supporting the criticisms of its Rhino, Yamaha initiated two modification programs for the UTV. In the first, half-doors, intended to keep legs and feet inside the vehicle, as well as additional passenger handholds, were added to new Rhinos, and offered as free upgrades to units already sold.
The second program addressed the overall stability issue. Rhino owners can have spacers added to extend the rear wheels outward two inches, and have an anti-sway bar removed, said by Yamaha to result in better steering control.
Modifications Not Conducted as Recalls
Neither modification program is being conducted as a recall. Instead, they are referred to as voluntary repair programs. A lawsuit filed in Orange County, California, faults Yamaha for not taking a more aggressive approach to ensuring that all Rhinos receive the safety modifications.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed while operating or riding in a Yamaha Rhino, and feel that safety defects led to these tragic consequences, you should contact an experienced defective product personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to financial compensation to help you deal with medical costs or loss of income.