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New Cayman Islands Port Expected To Begin Construction October 2015

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents

The Cayman Islands will owe a huge debt to the world’s largest cruise line, Carnival, as its government finally announced that the country will go forward with a very controversial plan to build cruise ship piers in George Town harbor.  The move will unquestionably help secure the Caymans as a major player in the cruise ship industry and probably rescue the Islands’ struggling economy.

As I reported earlier this summer, the Caymans have been trying for decades to balance maintaining their pristine marine life with meeting the growing competition from neighboring Caribbean ports, like Jamaica and Cuba, by forcing large cruise ships to ferry passengers on tenders in and out of Georgetown.  Tendering passengers is time-consuming, expensive, and on occasion dangerous.   We have represented a number of passengers who have been injured trying to get on and off tender boats in various ports around the world, including Grand Cayman.

Cayman’s Premier Alden McLaughlin announced Wednesday that Carnival will play a substantial role in the development of the new piers that are expected to cost at least $150 million to build.  Having Carnival’s “skin in the game” will surely guarantee that future Carnival ships and their passengers will continue to dock in Grand Cayman.   Currently, Carnival accounts for roughly 60% of cruise ships visiting Cayman.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is the other major player in Cayman’s cruise industry, but has not released any official statement regarding the announcement or its plans to participate in the costs of building the ports.

The Caymanian Cabinet has yet to formally ratify the decision to proceed with the port project, but this is anticipated to occur sometime in October 2015.  The Caymans intend to charge around $5 per passenger, and a share of the $14 “head tax” collected by the Port Authority on every cruise passenger who comes through the new terminal.

As a cruise ship passenger injury attorney, I applaud the Cayman Islands’ decision finally to approve the building of the ports, primarily because I believe the ports will provide a much needed safer way to transport passengers to and from the ships.  The concept of loading and unloading passengers on bobbing and bumpy small tender boats was a recipe for disaster that often prevented elderly and incapacitated passengers from even attempting to disembark in ports such as George Town.

Typically when we investigated a claim for an injury that occurred on a tender boat, the cruise lines would try to defend the claim by stating that the tenders were operated by local independent contractors over which the cruise line did not have control.

We have also heard horror stories of elderly terrified passengers left behind by their cruise ships in foreign countries, in various hospitals, or in emergency rooms seeking medical care.  We have received many calls from passengers who have found themselves alone with no means of returning home, their possessions gone, and no help offered by the cruise line in terms of booking flights or transportation.  I think this move at a minimum will help minimize tender boat accidents as well as allow more people to get on and off the ship safely and comfortably.

I suggest that the new Grand Cayman Islands port, as well as George Town, be made compliant with all ADA requirements so that passengers in wheelchairs and with other assistive devices, like motorized scooters, can explore the Island safely.


Our maritime personal injury law firm has aggressively and successfully represented passengers who have been injured while on cruises around the world.  Most cruise lines–including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian–require that personal injury claims be filed against them, within one year of the date of incident, in Miami’s Federal Court, regardless of where in the world the accident occurred.

If you have been injured on a cruise, we recommend that you contact our office immediately for a free initial legal consultation.  We offer consultations Toll Free at 1-866-597-4529, by email at, or by SKYPE.  Call us today.


How Can I Sue Volkswagen For Fraud?

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Defective Products, Environmental Claims and Toxic Torts

Our Miami consumer fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims against Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, following the revelation that it has participated in one of the biggest scandals in United States automotive history.

For decades Volkswagen has purposely marketed its cars as green and environmentally friendly to lure buyers into purchasing its diesel-engine models.  Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) learned that senior VW executives knowingly hacked their cars’ emission data to deceive both U.S. regulators and the public about just how much pollution their diesel engines actually create.

Last week VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn was forced to resign, and now VW faces EPA fines that could reach $18 billion; class actions, other civil lawsuits, and certainly U.S. criminal investigations will follow.

The EPA has threatened to withhold approval for the company’s 2016 Volkswagen and Audi diesel models, according to a letter sent by the EPA to Johnson and VW’s attorney. The letter detailed some of the timetable for the EPA’s actions.

The cars in question are Volkswagen models with “clean-diesel” engines starting in 2008 with the 2009-model Jetta TDI.  Ironically in 2008 the Jetta was named “Green Car of the Year” at the LA Auto Show.  One of the biggest selling points was geared to California consumers, who are subject to strict pollution laws because of the abundance of smog and cancer-related soot. As a result, Jetta buyers received an income tax credit of $1,300.

VW’s fraud was revealed by a group of researchers at a West Virginia University lab that placed emission-monitoring equipment on a rented 2012 Jetta and a 2013 Passat.  Over seven weeks in spring 2013, they drove the cars around Los Angeles and up the West Coast to Seattle, comparing them to a BMW X5 sport-utility with a diesel engine, according to Daniel Carder, who led the WVU team. While the BMW’s emission results came in under what the vehicles produced in laboratory tests, those of the Jetta were 15 to 35 times higher than the legal limit, and the Passat’s results were 10 to 20 times higher than represented by VW.

In March 2014, the West Virginia University researchers, having analyzed the data and and compared it to VW’s official results, presented their findings at a conference in San Diego, sponsored by both California Regulators and the EPA.  VW responded by trying to discredit the results, challenging both the WVU methodology and data.  The engineers at WVU went back to the lab, retested everything, and found that when the car was warm, it delivered different pollution results compared to a cold car.

Can I Sue Volkswagen for Fraud?

We believe that consumers who purchased these vehicles from VW are entitled to compensation since they are essentially victims of fraud.  Our VW fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of owners of VW and Audi Diesel cars.  If you have purchased a VW or Audi, you might be entitled to receive monetary damages as a member of class action.

For nearly 25 years our office has fought hard on behalf of people against major corporations, like VW, who have put their profits ahead of their obligations to their consumers. We offer free initial legal consultations to anyone who may have a potential VW fraud claim.  Contact us, Toll Free at 1-866-597-4529, or email us at today.

In class actions lawsuits, the first to file generally has a priority for recovery.  We urge you to contact us immediately to preserve your legal rights.


How Can I Sue a Cruise Line For a Personal Injury?

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents, Personal Injury News and Safety Resources, Slip and Fall/Premises Liability

Our cruise ship accident lawyers investigate dozens of potential claims every day from passengers around the world.  Perhaps the most common question we are asked is, “What is my case worth?”

Every cruise ship accident case is different, based upon what I believe are the three most crucial facts

  • What did the cruise line do wrong?
  • Did what they did wrong cause or contribute to an injury or damage?
  • What damage or injury did the cruise ship’s wrongful act or conduct cause?

Once I have the answers to the questions above, the next question is, “How can I prove it?”

For example, perhaps the most common potential case we look at involves a passenger slipping, tripping, or falling while on a cruise ship.  It happens; people get hurt on cruises.  People fall on cruises, but in order for the cruise line to be held accountable to pay a passenger money for pain and suffering and to reimburse her for medical expenses, the fall must be deemed to be the cruise line’s provable fault.

“Provable” is the key element here. For example, a person slips and falls and breaks an arm while on a Carnival cruise ship; the most important facts that would have to be proved in order to have a viable claim pertain to why the person fell and how it was the cruise line’s fault.

Unfortunately, many times when people fall, they have no idea why they fell.  They were simply walking, and the next thing they knew was that they found themselves flat on their backs, in excruciating pain.  Their thoughts were not on lawsuits and lawyers, but rather on their pain and seeking medical care.

People are surprised to learn that falling and getting hurt on a cruise ship does not automatically entitle a passenger with the legal right to receive money from the cruise line.  Rather, only claims that can be proved to be the fault of the cruise line do so.   It is important to note that the cruise line does not have to be entirely at fault, but rather at least some part in fault.

Returning to the common cruise ship slip and fall, the question then becomes what was the cause of the fall and did the cruise line either know about the danger or cause the problem.   If there was water, oil, or other liquid on the floor, we would have to prove that the cruise line either knew about it, should have known about it, or caused the liquid to be on the floor.

Sometimes it is easy, if we can trace the source of the water–like a leaking ice box, or dripping coffee maker–but other times, when the passenger has no idea how long the substance was on the floor or where it came from, the case becomes very weak and perhaps impossible to prove.  This is why obtaining the Closed Circuit TV footage of an accident scene is crucially important.


Our advice to anyone who gets hurt while on a cruise ship is to try to figure out how and why the fall occurred.  Whenever possible, take photographs or video of the scene.  Take a few minutes and jot down notes of what you remember about the fall, such as did you smell cleaning solvents, were your clothes wet or hands sticky.  All of those seemingly irrelevant factors, when taken together, can prove enormously valuable to our ability to help injured cruise ship passengers obtain reasonable compensation for their accident claims.


If you have been hurt while on a Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Disney, Holland America, Silverseas, MSC, or Disney cruise, and are seeking assistance to sue a cruise line, we recommend you contact an experienced maritime accident lawyer immediately–before you speak with or sign anything from the cruise line.   Cruise lines hire very aggressive and highly qualified lawyers to defend them; injured passengers deserve the best possible representation, too.

Call our office today for a free initial legal consultation, at 1-866-597-4529 and allow our combined experience of nearly 50 years help you hold the cruise lines accountable when and if they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  Speak to a lawyer who knows how to prove your case and obtain the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost cruise, and wages.