The experienced Philadelphia car accident and rollover lawyers of Reiff & Bily salute the Consumer Product Safety Division’s vote on Wednesday, October 21st to regulate 4 wheel ATV vehicles following more than 100 deaths since 2003. More staggering than the death claims are the loss of limbs and catastrophic injuries suffered by the operators of these vehicles in this highly unregulated industry. ATVs are extraordinarily prone to rollover and not only that, when they rollover there is a lack of protection causing occupants and drivers to be trapped underneath or ejected, resulting in serious and catastrophic injury. Although the ATV industry proposed voluntary regulations, the CPSC claimed that the voluntary regulations did not go far enough. CPSC has indicated that they will solicit comments from industry, consumer advocates and others as it writes the rules. However, we expect that this process will take many years.
As an experienced personal injury and product liability lawyer specializing in rollover accidents, I was astounded to read a piece on the web at about.com referencing ATVs and off-roading whereupon lawyers were accused of cashing in on the irresponsibility of operators and passengers of the Rhino.
Just the other day I received a phone call from an experienced and avid ATV operator who suffered a catastrophic and permanent injury and is unable to work due to the fact that the Yamaha Rhino rolled over on him, crushing him and resulting in the permanent loss of bodily function. I have been an avid motorcycle rider since age 13 and have also operated ATVs and frankly have learned to recognize that these machines can be inherently dangerous and should not be operated by children or others who have not had proper instruction, supervision or who are not truly aware of the inherent design defects and dangers. Many ATV accidents are wholly unexpected. Even Yamaha test drivers have tipped these vehicles over while going downhill. In March, Yamaha, under pressure from the CPSC as well as pending product liability lawyers, offered a “free repair program" for the Rhino.
I have seen many cases where Rhinos and other ATVs rolled over at slow speeds and people have either been catastrophically injured or killed. In a recent CBS news story, Yamaha stated that the Rhino is a “safe, reliable and versatile vehicle" and pointed to operator error rather than the vehicle’s high center of gravity for resulting injuries and deaths. Yamaha has recalled many of these vehicles and The Consumer Product Safety Commission has indicated that they should address upgrades with regard to vehicle safety prevention methods.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Yamaha Rhino accident and sustained serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, please feel free to contact one of the experienced Yamaha Rhino rollover lawyers at Reiff & Bily at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.
According to a report filed by The Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 440 wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits are pending against Yamaha. They further report that Yamaha has settled many other cases. Most of the Yamaha Rhino rollover stem from rollovers in which drivers or passengers were flung through the open door space to the ground and smashed by an 11,000 pound vehicle.
On March 31, 2009. under pressure from The Consumer Products Safety Commission, Yamaha announced a “free repair program" to improve the Rhino’s handling and stability - seemingly a recall in everything but name. Reports revealed that Yamaha began investigating the use of leg protection on the Rhino by early 2006 but did not offer the half doors until August 2007 and a retrofit offer covered 2004 to 2007 Rhinos. Doors are now standard on the 2008 model. In deposition testimony, senior Yamaha engineers stated that they had considered using doors in the first place - then gave a surprising explanation for deciding not to. Doors would create such a feeling of safety, they said, that riders might not wear helmets or seat belts. In a deposition in May 2008, Takanori Suzuki, formerly a project leader for the Rhino, stated even now the only reason to include doors is that “occupants are intentionally sticking their legs out in situations involving aggressive driving and abrupt maneuvers".
Government Investigates "Rhino Rollover" Virus
Yamaha promises its Rhino goes "almost anywhere" referring to its new breed of Utility Terrain Vehicle or U.T.V.'s. What the ad fails to mention is that federal safety regulators are investigating the safety of this vehicle following reports of approximately 30 deaths including two young girls last month. Yamaha Rhino Rollovers
According to a recently published article in The Wall Street Journal on November 4, 2008 Yamaha currently faces more than 200 lawsuits in State and Federal courts alleging that Rhino design is unsafe. (Wall Street Journal article)
Due to their unique design, Rhinos are not subject to the safety standards of all terrain vehicle (ATV's) or even more stringent car safety standards. The Yamaha Rhino ATV is alleged to be unstable during normal operating maneuvers at low to moderate speeds and turning on level ground.
Characteristically, low speed turns lead to sudden rollovers causing the occupants' arms and legs to be crushed by the roll cage as the vehicle slams to the ground.
The Philadelphia SUV rollover firm of Reiff & Bily has represented individuals across the United States who have suffered injuries in SUV and ATV rollovers. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a Yamaha Rhino accident, please contact the ATV and SUV rollover firm of Reiff & Bily for a free consultation at 1- 800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com and we will promptly review your case and assist you in recovering damages for pain and suffering along with both future and past medical expenses without fee or obligation to you.