Yamaha’s Rhino off-road vehicle is emerging as a target of significant personal injury lawsuits here in Oregon and elsewhere around the country, according to a recent article in The Oregonian. The paper notes that the Rhino, first introduced in 2003, is the subject of “about 700 injury and wrongful death claims” nationwide, including several in Oregon.
Only five such cases have gone to trial so far, and the company has won four of those (the exception was in Georgia), but, the paper notes, “Yamaha has quietly paid settlements in at least 40 Rhino cases, some on the eve of trial.” The paper’s reporting, which was compiled by the consumer watchdog organization FairWarning.org, also says the federal government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission “has received reports of 70 deaths in Rhino crashes.” An August 2009 CPSC news release notes that several models of the Rhino were recalled for repairs “in order to enhance stability and reduce the potential for rollover.” At the time of the recall the company also gave Rhino owners free helmets.
The company says the vehicles are safe, and that its winning record at trial proves it. Consumer advocates, according to The Oregonian, counter that the company has, until now, successfully cherry-picked cases it was likely to win: instances in which reckless driving appeared to have played a role in the injuries or deaths resulting from accidents involving Rhinos. A March 2009 CPSC report noted, however, that many of the more recent accident reports “appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds on level terrain,” according to The Oregonian.
Sorting through contradictory claims like these is exactly the sort of situation in which most consumers will benefit from the experience a Portland personal injury attorney can bring to the table. The first step on the long road to justice involves determining how the law is likely to view the injuries you or your loved ones have suffered, and then thinking through the best ways to present your case in a court.
Huge multi-national companies can sometimes appear to hold all of the cards, but with an Oregon personal injury and wrongful death lawyer in your corner your fight for justice after an accident stands a much better chance of succeeding.