Product Liability

Unreasonably Dangerous

A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against Yamaha USA, Yamaha Manufacturing, and Yamaha Motor, saying the Rhino ATV is unreasonably dangerous, according to a report in the Southeast Texas Record. Ryan Rogers was injured while riding in a Yamaha Rhino on relatively flat ground when the ATV rolled toward the passenger side, the Record reports.

According to the paper, the suit alleges the ATV was “in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous” and “not fit for its intended use and reasonably foreseeable purposes.” Causes of actions filed against the defendants include strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.

The report went on to say that though the lawsuit does not detail the Rhino’s alleged defects, recent lawsuits against Yamaha’s Rhino allege that the ATV’s center of gravity is too high, it is too top heavy and the tires too small. Further, the lawsuits state that the Rhino has a high rollover risk even while riding on flat surfaces while at low speeds.

In 2008, Yamaha upgraded the Rhino ATV to add doors and handholds, responding to concerns that drivers and passengers were extending arms and legs outside the vehicle in the event of a rollover, attempting to stabilize the vehicle. It also added a safety sticker on the dashboard warning Rhino operators and passengers not to do this.

A letter was sent to owners of earlier Rhino models advising them that doors and handholds would be installed at no charge to them. However, concerns exist that people who purchased earlier model Rhinos from individuals rather than dealers might not be aware of the safety hazards and might not know about the recommended door and handhold installation.