A 42-year-old Twain Harte, California, man has filed an Orange County product liability lawsuit against Yamaha Motor Corporation alleging that the company’s Yamaha Rhino side-by-side all-terrain vehicle is dangerously unstable and defective. According to court records, 42-year-old Scott Smith was severely injured on Aug. 20, 2006 when the 2006 Yamaha Rhino he was a passenger in, tipped over at a low rate of speed. Smith’s right leg was crushed and permanently impaired.

The lawsuit alleges that the Rhino’s roll bar damaged his leg and that Smith had to undergo seven surgeries, bear tremendous pain and be confined to his bed for a year. He will never again be able to engage in activities he enjoyed before the ATV accident such as skiing or hiking.

The lawsuit also states that the Yamaha Rhino side-by-side had several design flaws that made it unstable and prone to devastating rollovers even as low speeds. Among the defects named in Smith’s complaint are: a top-heavy design resulting in a higher center of gravity and a narrow track width.

Despite these design flaws and product defects, Yamaha did not recall these ATVs for the above mentioned problem. In March 2008, the company went forward with a Yamaha Rhino side-by-side ATV recall on certain models for a defective and poorly designed brake caliper on the left front wheel that could result in brake failure, posing a serious safety risk to the driver and passenger.

Hundreds of Yamaha rollover accidents have been reported, but there has still been no formal recall of the vehicle by Yamaha. Despite knowledge about these defective design issues, Yamaha has not made a step in the right direction to address these stability issues.
Until they do that, such ATV accidents and injuries will continue to occur.