In 2002, during a test ride of the Yamaha Rhino, then in development, the vehicle tipped over after going down a hill and injured the driver’s foot. The Rhino is an off-road vehicle. The driver in that test drive was Keisuke Yoshida, the president of a Yamaha Motor Co. U.S. subsidiary. Later, at a meeting, Yoshida sought an "update on instability of vehicle for future liability cases."
The Rhino was introduced to the market in the fall of 2003, and experienced strong sales. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 59 people have been killed and hundred injured in Rhino accidents. Often riders are injured when the Rhino rolls over and they are thrown from the vehicle. There are hundreds of lawsuits pending against Yamaha, based on Rhino deaths and injuries. One theory about why the Rhino is so dangerous is that its structure causes it to be extremely unstable. Another theory is that passengers are partially ejected from the Rhino because the seatbelts tend to unspool during rollovers.
In March, Yamaha offered a "free repair program" for the Rhino. Yamaha refused to call the program a recall. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is continuing to investigate the Rhino, and could possibly seek a ban if the Rhino is still dangerous after the changes.
If you have been injured by a Yamaha Rhino, contact Sheller, P.C. The Sheller firm has a long history of aggressively representing individuals and classes of people who have suffered a range of injuries, including injuries from defective products. Sheller lawyers are currently handling cases for clients who have been injured by a Yamaha Rhino. Contact us to discuss your Rhino injury.