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In October 2008, two Mississippi girls aged eleven were killed when their Yamaha Rhino ATV overturned. They were driving it around neighborhood streets and authorities determined that it flipped when it ran off the pavement. One girl was killed immediately and the other died later in a hospital emergency room. There were no witnesses.

Now the two families have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Yamaha claiming that the ATV had many design and engineering defects. According to news reports, this lawsuit is not seeking any specific dollar amount.

Previous Yamaha ATV Lawsuits

This is not the first claim brought against Yamaha Rhinos. These are very popular ATVs in both the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., about 60 people have been killed and several hundred injured in Rhino accidents. Many of the deaths have been of children. ATV rollover accidents often injury the legs or feet, sometimes leading to amputations.

In general, the lawsuits claim that the ATV has a top-heavy design, a high center of gravity, a narrow track width, defective doors, inadequate seatbelts, and a dangerous roll cage. The roll cage is unpadded steel and has evidently caused some of the child fatalities when a child has been ejected from the ATV which has then overturned on top of them.

ATVs Not For Children

Yamaha has issued statements several times emphasizing that these ATVs are not designed for children. They are designed for people 16 or older with drivers’ licenses. Yamaha statements urge people to operate the ATVs safely and appropriately, for off-road use only.

One has to wonder why two eleven-year-old girls were allowed to operate one of these vehicles unsupervised. But there is no law as to what minimum age a Rhino driver must be – just Yamaha’s recommendations. Even if there were such a law, there is no way to legislate universally sensible behavior or to outlaw accidents.

Life is unsafe and some people love risky activities like skiing, motorcycle riding, and bungee jumping. There will always be accidents and mishaps and a society where risky fun is forbidden would be Kafkaesque – a repressive scenario for horror movies and nightmares.

That is not to say that losing a loved one in an accident is not enormously painful and surely parents would never stop grieving over the sudden loss of a beloved child – especially if it was caused by someone else’s negligence. Full and fair compensation would help but would not heal the grief.

However, if you have lost a loved one through another person’s negligence, you may have a valid wrongful death case and if so, we will argue your case to a jury if necessary. Please contact our Mobile, Alabama office if you would like to schedule a free case evaluation.

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