Northern Virginian Alleges Stability Defects In Yamaha Rhino Caused Accident Resulting In Crush Injury to Foot

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Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that Julie Wright, age 27, from Culpeper, Virginia, late yesterday afternoon filed a personal injury lawsuit against Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Wright charges that the Yamaha Rhino side-by-side is a dangerously unstable and defective all terrain vehicle (“ATV”). The lawsuit was filed in Federal court in Los Angeles, where Yamaha’s U.S. headquarters are located.

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My right foot was crushed by the Rhino's unpadded roll bar in the accident

On September 30, 2006, Wright was riding in a 2006 Yamaha Rhino when it tipped over. The tipover occurred not five minutes after she had begun riding in the vehicle, while the driver was making a slight left turn on even terrain at a slow rate of speed. Both Ms. Wright and the driver, an experienced utility vehicle driver, were shocked by the incident. Although Wright was wearing a helmet and her seatbelt, her right foot was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover and severely injured.

"My right foot was crushed by the Rhino's unpadded roll bar in the accident," Warner stated. "I have had two surgeries on my foot, yet I still walk with a limp and expect to have to undergo another surgery. I continue to feel pain from the screws and plate inserted in my foot. I cannot run and will not be able to wear heeled shoes at my wedding next Spring. My doctors tell me the limited ability to flex my foot will be permanent and it is likely I will experience the early onset of arthritis."

The complaint alleges that the Yamaha Rhino side-by-side contains multiple design flaws rendering it dangerously unstable and unduly prone to tipping and rolling over. These defects include a top-heavy design resulting in a high center of gravity, and a dangerously narrow track width. "The design flaws make the Rhino dangerously susceptible to tipping and rolling over, even when being driven at slow speeds," stated Robert J. Nelson, a partner at Lieff Cabraser, which represents Wright.

Despite hundreds of Rhino rollover accidents, there has been no formal recall of the vehicle by Yamaha. Instead, in August 2007, Yamaha announced that free of charge it would install half doors and a passenger handhold for Rhinos manufactured from 2004 through 2007. For the 2008 Rhino, Yamaha has added new warnings that mention that the Rhino may tip along with the half doors and a handhold as standard equipment. The new warnings, however, give the driver the false impression that if they drive the Rhino slowly and without making aggressive motions, they will not tip over. Ms. Wright learned shortly after getting on the Rhino, that that is not the case.

The complaint charges that Yamaha has made no design changes to improve the stability or handling of the Yamaha Rhino, in spite of the availability of safe and inexpensive alternative designs and feasible modifications. "While its retrofit program was a step in the right direction, Yamaha has not addressed the Rhino's core stability problems," stated Nelson.

About Plaintiffs' Counsel

Described by The American Lawyer as "one of the nation's premiere plaintiffs firms," Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, enjoys a national reputation for professional integrity and the efficient and responsible prosecution of our clients' claims. From its offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville, Lieff Cabraser represents over 100 persons across America seriously injured in Rhino accidents.

Persons injured in Yamaha Rhino accidents should visit, a website operated by Lieff Cabraser, to learn more about the dangers posed by the Yamaha Rhino, get answers to frequently asked questions, and read a guide to their legal Lieff Cabraser personal injury lawyers will promptly review each case submitted without charge or obligation.

To learn more about Lieff Cabraser, visit

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