A Florida woman, Rachel Jollimore, is suing Yamaha Motor Corporation in a case that will interest many ATV fans. At the heart of the suit is the safety of the Yamaha Rhino utility ATV. Jollimore alleges that her ATV rolled over and trapped her underneath while she was riding the vehicle. She claims that she was on relatively flat ground and was trying to make a simple turn when the accident happened.
Even though Jollimore alleges that she was traveling at a low speed, the vehicle flipped over and pinned Jollimore underneath it. As a result of the accident, Jollimore suffered a serious brain injury that requires a permanent stent in her brain that drains fluid to her stomach. There have already been a number of lawsuits filed about the Yamaha Rhino in Arizona and other states, leading Jollimore’s attorney to allege that the vehicle is unsafe and Yamaha realizes that there is a problem with its products.
The Yamaha Rhino is currently under investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission after a number of complaints of personal injuries and accidents. Last month, two young Mississippi girls were killed in a Yamaha Rhino after the vehicle rolled over. There are currently no statistics indicating just how many injuries and accidents may have been caused by the ATV. However, there are at least 200 product liability lawsuits related to the vehicle.
While some experts claim that all ATVs pose a danger for injuries and fatalities, some allege that the Yamaha Rhino is an especially dangerous example of the ATV. The Rhino was introduced in 2003 and the ATV was designed specifically to be narrow enough to fit into a pickup truck for transport. However, the height of the ATV, along with its narrow width, claim some experts, makes the ATV more likely than most to roll over and cause injury.
So far, Yamaha has not recalled the ATVs but models of the Rhino sold now include stickers that indicate that the ATV has the potential to roll over, even when it is on flat, open ground. One problem that attorneys may face when dealing with the Rhino lawsuits is that the vehicle is not subject to the same standards as most ATVs – even those standards themselves raise many questions.
Serious injuries caused by ATVs increased in 2007, for the eight year in a row. However, the Rhino is not even considered an ATV. Officials investigating the vehicle refer to it as a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) which means that even if Yamaha does not meet safety standards for an ATV that might not matter.