Los Angeles ATV and Rhino Rollover Lawyers
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are increasingly popular in the United States, with the number of ATVs sold more than tripling between 1996 and 2006. Designed to take on tough terrain, they’re popular with hobbyists as well as farmers, ranchers and others who need to get around a large, unpaved space quickly. Unfortunately, ATVs aren’t always designed with safety in mind. Because they don’t always come with rollover bars, seat belts and other safety features that are standard in passenger vehicles, a rollover accident that would be survivable in a passenger vehicle can be deadly in an ATV. According to a 2008 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ATVs caused an estimated 555 deaths and 146,600 injuries in 2006.
These safety problems become much worse when ATVs hit the market with design flaws that make an ATV rollover accident likely. Two models of an ATV-like vehicle, the Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660, have been widely criticized for such flaws after they were implicated in hundreds of reports of slow-speed rollovers on flat ground. News reports and safety experts say the Rhino is so rollover-prone because of its high center of gravity and narrow tires, making it easy to tip over during normal driving. Worse, because the Rhino doesn’t have doors, it’s likely to trap and crush an occupant’s leg during a rollover accident — leading to an amputation or years of disability, surgeries, pain and disfigurement.
Despite complaints starting shortly after the Rhino hit the market in 2003, Yamaha waited until August of 2007 to issue a safety recall. Owners of existing 2004-2007 models can contact their dealers to add doors and handles for free; future models will come with these features already installed. Yamaha has also recalled just under 8,000 of its 2008 Rhinos because of potential brake failure. Despite continuing reports of rollovers and accident lawsuits, no safety recalls or modifications by Yamaha have addressed the vehicles’ narrow tires and high centers of gravity.
Unfortunately, the Rhino isn’t the only ATV with rollover problems or other safety defects. Like the Rhino, many other ATVs are top-heavy — meaning they’re likely to roll over in the same tough terrain they’re designed for. In many cases, they also lack seat belts, airbags and other safety features we’ve come to expect in motor vehicles. The CPSC reports that ATVs are more than four times as likely as any other product to injure a child so badly that he or she required hospitalization. Non-fatal ATV injuries include brain and spinal cord damage, crushed bones, organ damage and other extremely serious injuries.
The Los Angeles defective product attorneys of Panish Shea & Boyle are national leaders in product defect and automotive safety law. Our partners have won billions of dollars for clients who were seriously injured by defective products, especially automotive products. Partner Brian Panish won the largest jury verdict in U.S. legal history, $4.9 billion, in a case involving a defective fuel system; partners Panish and Adam Shea won $55 million for another client left paraplegic by an accident caused by defective tires. Our attorneys are consistently recognized for excellence in consumer law and frequently write and speak to other trial lawyers.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an ATV or Rhino in Los Angeles, call our attorneys today at 877-800-1700 for a free and confidential consultation.