What to do if you are sued for an ADA violation

The worst thing to do is nothing.

Look at what this article taken from [Facilities.net] says:

What is the best way to proceed if you receive notice of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation?

If you’ve received notification that means that either a complaint has been filed in federal court or that the Justice Department has received a complaint or is investigating you. At that point, don’t say any of the following:
– “I didn’t know I had to comply.”
– “We’ve never had anyone in here in a wheelchair, so why do I have to comply?”
– “See you in court.”
– The worst thing to say is, “We can’t afford to do anything.”

The best reaction is to read or listen to what is being said, particularly if it’s coming from the Justice Department. If you receive a complaint filed in the court, read the allegations as just that — allegations. An individual with a disability may make allegations of violations that are not actually required under the ADA.

Be sure to evaluate your facility before responding (or agreeing to a settlement) so that you know exactly what your facility’s status is regarding ADA requirements. Don’t jump into a settlement with that individual/group and agree to remedy only the items they identified as they likely have not identified all issues. In that scenario, the next complaint filed with items other than those you agreed to correct will become a new complaint. Review your entire facility, put a plan together and start the corrections so that when (not if) the next complaint or question arises, you have an answer and a plan.

I would also like to add that in our experience, many small business owners think they can defend the complaint and not pay anything. Read this previous article: Small businessman’s guide to dealing with attorneys.

More often than once, a small “mom and pop” store owner will say to us, how can they sue us for the mirror in the bathroom? No one can fit a wheelchair into our restroom! And then proceed to think that they can walk into court and claim that because their restroom is inaccessible therefore they aren’t liable for an issue that they are in violation of. Another horrible situation is that they will call the plaintiff attorney and attempt to convince that attorney that they aren’t responsible (for something) because their store is too small or that they don’t have money because they have to pay other bills. In the first case, being too small only means they have more violations and in the second, they have money to pay other bills so they got money.

Don’t think you can ignore ADA violations or that somehow they magically don’t apply to you. Many of the violations can be addressed with a little bit of effort. Those that can’t be addressed can at least be foreseen so that one has an idea of how to proceed. ADA violations have at their root actual conditions, so be informed on those conditions. If you are sued once, you may be able to fight that in court. But if you don’t fix the issues you will have that happen a second time.

Our business exists because we have the expertise to help you. It doesn’t make sense to try and tackle these complex laws as your first encounter.

Some attorneys have told their clients that they can ignore them because everything is arguable in court.

Now that’s a bad attorney, as a good attorney will keep you out of court, saving you money and time in the long run. After all, tape measure does not lie.

Questions? email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com or call us at 866 982 3212.

More Common ADA Violations

Reposted from this website: [Facilities.net]

Good advice for facilities management on general awareness of how of the ADA affects you.

What are the most common Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, why are they so common and what should facility managers do to avoid being in violation?

The most common violations are found at every juncture of a facility.

Built Environment: It ranges from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, the lack of marked parking with a marked access aisle and signage (ground markings don’t count, since they can’t be seen at night or when snow-covered.)

Restrooms: The most common violations are toilets not mounted the correct distance from wall or partition (a.k.a. water closet centerline), flush valve for the toilet is on the wrong side; if it isn’t on the wide side, you have to reach over the toilet to flush it.

Operations: Most common violations that are operational in nature, meaning they were not designed and/or constructed that way, include:
-Housekeeping/maintenance staff placing a garbage can next to the restroom’s exit door. Clear space next to door (a.k.a. maneuvering clearances) is intended to give someone in a wheelchair the space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door. You can’t do that if the garbage can is there! Another is placing garbage cans/ash urns directly in front of the “call buttons” at an elevator, again impacting the ability of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
– Retail establishments placing merchandise, information racks, etc. in the aisles, which reduces path of travel.
– Mounting objects to the wall (a.k.a. circulation route) that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If they are 27 inches to 80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a “cane sweep” and walk right into the object and get hurt!

These are but a few. The structural/design violations are either a result of not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA Standards as a federal law and relying solely on building code and code officials. Building codes can be negotiated; civil rights cannot. Good design documents can still be constructed incorrectly. Sometimes it’s that the workmen have been doing it that way for x years, they don’t pay attention, or they simply don’t stop to think of someone using it.

The operational violations, although not permanent/fixed items covered under the ADA Standards, create barriers nonetheless. Try explaining to someone who is trapped in a rest room because the garbage can is placed in their way that it really isn’t covered under the Standards — that won’t work!

We would top off this article with the observation that the technicality of these laws requires hiring someone who can best anticipate and catch these violations. You wouldn’t try and read and follow employment law by yourself, would you?

Questions? email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com or call us at 866 982 3212.

Common ADA Tips for Facilities Management Companies

This is taken from [Facilities.net].

This article covers some common tips on how ADA violations can result from housekeeping. Many businesses believe that ADA violations are generally structural issues, but some general understanding can help businesses avoid ‘no brainer’ violations that fall out of the purview of architects and other design and construction professionals.

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, common ADA violations.

Twenty years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, institutional and commercial facilities continue to struggle in their efforts to comply with ADA’s accessibility guidelines. Here is a look at the more common ADA violations still found in facilities.

In the built environment, violations range from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, to a lack of parking with a marked access aisle and signage. Ground markings are not effective because they are not visible at night or when covered with snow.

In restrooms, the most common violations involve toilets not mounted the correct distance from walls or partitions, and toilet flush valves on the wrong side. If the flush valve is on the wide side, users must reach over the toilet to flush.

In facility operations, the most common violations include these:
• Housekeeping workers placing a garbage can next to the restroom exit door. Clear space next to door gives a person using a wheelchair enough space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door.
• Placing garbage cans directly in front of call buttons for elevators, again impeding the progress of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
• Mounting objects on walls that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If the objects are 27-80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a cane sweep and walk right into the object.

The structural and design violations result from not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA guideline and relying solely on building code and code officials. The operational violations, although not permanent or fixed items covered under the ADA guidelines, still create barriers.

In short, ADA violations run the gambit from very expensive items that are inherent in the building to purely positional things, like furniture or trash cans.

This is hard for people who have never been disabled to understand, so I am glad that others are catching on. Still, if you have a housekeeping or janitorial service, you ought to instruct them so as to avoid these common issues.

This also applies to construction — temporary paths of travel are required to be compliant under the ADA, something most contractors don’t understand… and something that falls beyond the purview of what most building departments would ever think to even look at.

Questions? email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com or call at 866 982 3212

New Construction Triggers the ADA

Much of the information we put out here is to emphasize that many of the ADA violations are addressed easily. Some are not.

This article is taken from [Facilities.net.

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, facility renovations and ADA.

Maintenance and engineering managers undertaking renovations in institutional and commercial facilities need to be aware of the impact on the project of requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

The requirements for readily achievable barrier removal under ADA began Jan. 26, 1992, and have continued since then. Organizations must remove barriers, with a few exceptions, regardless of any work being done.

Anytime a facility undergoes renovations where access barriers exist, the organization must spend 20 percent of the construction costs on removing these barriers from the path of travel. For ADA purposes, the path of travel includes water fountains and restrooms. Any renovation to a primary function area triggers this requirement. The phrase primary function area applies to an area where the activities are germane to the business, such as a bank�s teller stations.

As with the model building code — The International Building Code and the American National Standards Institute — ADA does not require barrier removal on the path of travel that exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the renovation. The major difference in this regard between ADA requirements and building codes is that the ADA requires barrier removal in existing buildings, regardless of renovations. Building codes do not come into play until renovations, alterations or new construction occurs.

Managers can find more specific information in the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Sec.36.403 Alterations: Path of travel. ADA guidelines typically supersede a state or local building code, unless the code provides for greater or equal protection of individuals with disabilities.

I would also like to add that it’s not commonly understood that new construction can trigger the ADA. One fear of owners is that when attempting to ‘do the right thing’ one can sometimes be dragged by construction law into doing more than the minimum, especially in how the ADA influences the building code. (Many code officials we’ve spoke with don’t realize that the ADA trigger is there).

Now you’ll also get many savvy attorneys and architects that will claim that ‘legally non-conforming’ situations do not require any kind of addressing. They rightly understand that not touching existing items won’t trigger ADA compliance — but this leads to even deeper problems.

At first, their advice sounds great, as owners don’t want to hear that they need to do anything. But what these professionals don’t understand that if those ‘legally non-conforming’ structures pose fixable ADA violations, leaving those situations to persist will continually trigger even more ADA work. As time goes on, those non-compliant situations will accrue an increase in what needs to be remedied.

In other words, if you have a non-compliant ramp in your facility newly placed in 2003, and you don’t fix it right away, in 2010, not only will you be required to fix that ramp — you will also have 7 years of budget in which you could have fixed the ramp and didn’t. In court, a suing attorney will claim that what was financially remediable in 2 years is ‘easy’ over a 7 year period. That situation will look bad, as though you never intended to fix that ramp and that you are willfully discriminating.

We have heard this so often, as many owners have come to us having fallen into this situation, when they have the panic of court bearing down on them. Don’t let yourself fall into this situation! Get our exposure report so as to make informed decisions on what you are liable for so you can address it right away.

Questions? email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com or call us at 866 982 3212.

When ADA Calls: Responding to a Complaint

This is a repost from [www.facililities.net].

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, responding to an ADA notification.

If an institutional or commercial facility receives notification of a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that means either a complaint has been filed in federal court or, the U.S. Department of Justice has received a complaint or is investigating the facility.

The best reaction is to read or listen to what the notification says, particularly if it came from the DOJ. If a facility receives a complaint filed in court, read the allegations as just that — allegations. An individual with a disability might make allegations that are not actually violations under the ADA.

Managers also need to evaluate the facility before responding or agreeing to a settlement in order to understand the facility’s status regarding ADA requirements. Do not jump into a settlement with the individual or group by agreeing to remedy only the items they identified because they probably have not identified all issues. In that scenario, the next complaint filed with items other than those the facility agreed to correct becomes a new complaint.

Review the entire facility, put a plan together, and start the corrections so that when the next complaint or question arises, an answer and a plan are ready and available.

This site is addressing ADA complaints throughout the United States, especially for larger facilities, which isn’t as applicable for California as California law changes the impetus for lawsuits a little differently.

In any case, the basic idea is to verify the complaint, which we can do. Ideally though, one would be compliant in the first place so as to avoid the lawsuit.

What this article misses is that when one is sued under California law, it’s generally too late to fix the items, Federal law is different. So be sure and get inspected and fix any issues right away.

Questions? email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com or call us at 866 982 3212

What will it take (to avoid an ADA lawsuit)?

This is the fifth time.

A business owner went to one of our seminars about six months ago. Saw our presentation on ADA compliance. Heard about

  1. the gap between the coverage of the California Building Code and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act,
  2. learned that in the California Civil Code Section 52 and 54 he was liable for 4k worth of damages minimum of affected violations of the ADA

Of course when asked if he was interested in getting our help, he said no. He went back to his store, fixed a few items immediately that he learned from our presentation… and then was several months later sued for 80 thousand dollars worth of damages. He then went and hired us.

Another one of our clients heard our seminar, decided to hire us and then upon having a consultation and an inspection paid for our services. In following up with this client, when asked if they were going to look through the report and start to fix issues they said “No. We don’t need to. We have the report.”

I don’t know what else to say. We have started working with contractors to try and offer inspections and fixes — but in general most of our clients only want us to do the report. This is okay but reports are useless unless you also fix the actual issues! Getting sued is the worst case scenario — most disabled visitors simply won’t go to your store if they can’t get in. The only ones who sue are either extremely frustrated or looking for money.

It’s so unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to get a perfectly good business to comply, but is that what it takes? Personally I would like to see businesses hire us and let us help them find effective ways to comply. Suing a business doesn’t help that business in any way. In fact, it’s an incredibly hurtful process that doesn’t leave the business in better shape before it was sued.

So avoid lawsuits! It’s many of the very simple things that can get a business in trouble. Most of our clients that have been sued have been sued over parking paint and signage. How expensive is that? Now, maybe not everything can be fixed right away, (like signage or parking paint) but most things can be taken care of eventually. If you can only afford $100 a month for accessibility, or even $50 by all means, budget it! Get it done! Also, look for ADA experts who can tell you what needs to be done and how to remediate that violation so you ARE accessible. It’s painful to see businesses that have done work trying to become accessible and getting it so wrong.

I don’t know what else we can do. We give free seminars, and publish free information… I guess that’s really all we can do.

We are working on putting one of our older education seminars online. In the meantime, stay tuned. I am a little swamped with work so I haven’t had time to write too much on here, but I do have some more updates planned.

In the mean while, here’s an older website about some factoids about the access lawsuit situation in California (which is on the rise, by the by). The website is called ADA Crisis. It’s full of interesting facts, like “Did you know, at least 42% of the ADA/accessibility lawsuits in the U.S. are filed in California?”

Anyway, as always, our contact information if you have any questions: 866 982 3212 and help@accesssolutionllc.com.

Small Businessman’s Guide to Dealing with Attorneys

Re-posted from an attorney who has published an article on how to deal with letters from attorneys.

If you get a demand letter like this for ADA compliance, please, please PLEASE follow this advice. We tell business owners to use an attorney to talk to another attorney but unfortunately only half the time do they listen.

Here’s the article.

Just before leaving the office last night I got a call from Greg, of Greg’s Quality Plumbing. Greg does seem, on the phone anyway, to be a quality plumber: a nice guy running a six employee shop for new construction and homeowners. Unfortunately one of Greg’s employees made a mistake, overtightening a compression nut on the toilet water supply line in a very expensive house insured by BigState Casualty Insurance Company. The nut eventually fractured,over Christmas vacation with the family out of town, and the water flowed for days. BigState paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to rehabilitate the waterlogged house, and wants its money back. From Greg’s Quality Plumbing.

And so Greg got my letter, and Greg picked up the phone to sort this all out, and to set me straight. As I said, I have no doubt Greg is a quality plumber but Greg is an absolute amateur when it comes to dealing with sharks in the water. He made a number of serious mistakes, feeding me information about his business, the employee who did the work, the general contractor who built the house and will be cross-claiming against Greg in the coming lawsuit, and Greg’s business assets. All while trying to set me straight.

In the end, Greg did not set me straight. What he accomplished was to give me information I will use against him at his deposition and at trial. He kneecapped the defense attorney his insurance company will retain, an attorney who won’t even hear about the dispute between BigState and Greg’s Quality Plumbing for several months. I almost feel sorry for Greg, who came into the conversation with high hopes that he would frighten me off or convince me that I have no case against him. All that he did was convince me to write this post, as friendly advice to small businessmen on what to do when they get “the letter”.

You can get the complete article at popehat. Linked from Overlawyered.

Remember, like any kind of compliance or any kind of system, before you get in the ring with an expert, get your own expert.

866 982 3212 or help@accesssolutionllc.com

DSA Access Manual

I used to work largely doing web development. I didn’t design the look of websites, I built them — from the ground up. I made sure the technical back end worked properly.  In fact I still do it, but mostly for YTA.

What’s interesting about working with programmers and other free lance technicians much holds true for many architects and contractors. While construction and design is different from web development, there’s a similar mentality as both are a kind of engineering.

Sometimes your independent contractor will get a request from a prospective client to do something new. They would know enough that this particular thing could be done — but not know how. Nonetheless they would lie and bullshit and agree to do everything. The general mentality is to go home and spend the next 72 hours agonizing over a book trying to learn how to do what it is you’ve requested of them. The funny part about this is that often these free lance consultants would charge you a ton of money and quote you a huge amount of time. So not only do they want to have time to get it right, they also want to charge you for making them learn something new.

With this in mind I would like to introduce to you the California Division of State Architect‘s access compliance manual.

While this manual consists of largely technical information, such as occupancy type, and a re-printing of what is otherwise in the California Building Code, it does include some helpful dimensions on many of the specific measurements we perform. The application of those measurements and their types may be a little confusing.

This code reference, however, isn’t completely up to date. Included in the checklist is a regulatory list of applicable dimensions and requirements. It’s up to the consultant to decide if they apply. The issue with this checklist though, is that it doesn’t include the latest ADA 2010 — only the older ADA of 1992.

Most likely, a construction or design expert wouldn’t turn to the DSA, as the DSA is a state entity.

To complicate things further, if your building had not been altered since say, 2002, then the building code of 2001 may actually apply — but the ADA 2010 also applies, meaning he would have to cross-reference texts anyway.

In either case, before you hire anyone for your ADA needs, if you have the time, I would urge you to look at the Division State Architect’s Access Manual and get a taste for the complexity involved.

All of this cross-referencing and page flipping means more billable hours to you. Not only that, but why not hire someone who is already familiar with these different codes and regulations? The problem isn’t in using reference materials — no one can remember every number exactly, and the codes are always changing.  The problem is the general familiarity of the application.  How can someone catch all the nuances if they don’t know the basic applicability?

In this case, hiring someone who is new to this field will not only cost you more in money, but also in liability.  If they miss something or interpret something incorrectly, it’s your lawsuit.  Why not go with someone who is familiar with the risk?

Any questions or concerns?  Call us at 866 982 3212 or email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com.

ADA Accommodation #4: Parking and Path of Travel*

Since we already covered the principles behind the ADA here: Common violations for ADA Accommodations regarding Parking and Path of Travel, we won’t go over the principles again. You can click to skip ahead: Get me to the ADA Accommodations! Otherwise you can read the copied text below.

ADA Requirements for the Parking

I don’t intend to discuss too much about the specific parking requirements.  That’s pretty cut and dry, either you meet the measurements or you don’t.  People understand that.  The requirements for parkings for the 2010 ADA has changed a little, but there are exceptions to allow for older CA parking which exceeded the original 1990 ADA parking requirements.  I’ll discuss the parking in a later post but in general parking should have:

  • 60 inches for the non-van access aisle.  Having 60 inches for the van access aisle is required under 2010 ADA but if you have a 96 inch access aisle, you need to have 108 inches of width for the van space.  If your van access aisle is only 60 inches then your van space width needs to be 132 inches.  You measure the spaces from the center of the line to the center of the other lines.  We have worked for places that have been sued because the contractor measured the parking from outside to outside, shaving off 4 inches from the requirements.  This is part of what’s known as “safe harbor” but you can’t rely on the older measurements.  For more details on the concept of the “safe harbor” see:  Department of Justice: ADA Primer for Small Businesses
  • The slope for both the access aisle and the parking space need to be on the same level AND the slopes cannot be greater than 1:48 inches in any direction.  If your parking space slumps, we would recommend that you either consider locating your accessible parking elsewhere, or that you try and level the space.  Van lifts won’t deploy if it detects that the ground is uneven.
  • Signs should be clearly visible to drivers who want to park in the space.
  • The signs should NOT say “handicapped”  (California, Vehicle Code § 22511).  You should replace your sign if it says this, as a lawsuit costs far more than replacing the sign.
  • The van space must be marked as being “van accessible.”
  • Sign heights for CA and the ADA are different, but in general the bottom edge of your sign should be above 80 inches when in the path of travel.  Many business owners seem to think this is funny, asking if they can place the sign at 13 feet above grade.  There is no upper limit, but again the sign needs to be visible to on-coming drivers.

Bewarned: This list is not exhaustive.  Also be aware that laws do change.  This list may become inaccurate.  I’ll try to remember to update it, but if you’re reading this list a year from now, be warned that it may be faulty, especially if the California Code of Regulations Title 24 changes (which is the next known update).


ADA Requirements for Path of Travel

The idea behind the path of travel is to provide a zone of safety around the pedestrian.  This zone, with attending requirements needs to go anywhere the public is allowed to go.  There are still ADA requirements for employee only areas (especially as put in by Title 1) but as a rule of thumb, the path of travel only needs to end up to the employee areas, including the door.  Some general path of travel requirements are:

  • No slopes greater than 5% without handrails.  Slopes greater than 5% require handrails and are considered ramps.
  • Door landings do different in size, but in general, each door landing with its latch-side clearance needs to have a steepness no greater than 1:48 in any direction.
  • Accessible paths of travel need to be pointed out with signage
  • At least one of each type of good or service must be located on the path of travel so that everyone has access to it.  This means that a bar upstairs doesn’t need to be accessible if there is an identical bar on the first floor (AND if all the amenities are the same.  This means that if a private party rents out the upstairs area, there is potential for a lawsuit).
  • The California Building Code requires at least 48 inches of width along external paths of travel with a recommendation of 60 inches.  For existing buildings this can go down to 36 inches for the ADA depending on hardship.
  • Objects which protrude into the pedestrian envelope greater than 4 inches for wall mounted objects (12 inches for post mounted) are considered hazards in the path of travel.  A path of travel should be devoid of these objects.  The area of projection is in general, between 27 and 80 inches above the finished floor.  This means that doorways that are lower than 80 inches are considered hazards.  Common protruding objects include fire extinguishers, signs and counters.
  • The cross-slope for a path of travel cannot be greater than 1:48 inches.
  • Detectable warnings are required under the California Building Code for vehicular hazard areas and transit platforms.  This requirement isn’t included under the ADA 2010 but it is included in the ADAAG 2004 and will probably be reintroduced under the Public Right of Way Access Guide which is supposed to come out soon.
  • No change in vertical level greater than 1/2 inch is allowed.  Changes in level between 1/4 and 1/2 inches should be beveled at a 45 degree slope.

Like the list above for parking, this list is not exhaustive and may change as laws and regulations change.  So be warned if you want to use this to assess your site.  Nonetheless, this gives you some idea of what some of the requirements are.


Discussion of ADA Accommodations
Picture #1 and #2: I think for most individuals who are disabled, this photo speaks for itself. For those of you who don’t understand though, the accessible path of travel needs to be a continuous path from the access aisle to the main entrance. This is for the safety of the pedestrian and to alert the driver that this is an area they should be aware of as a pedestrian right of way. The same goes for this second picture which has no access path outline.









A larger issue with this second picture has to do with the location of the access aisles. In this image the aisles are not located on the passenger or driver sides, where disabled individuals actually get in and out of the vehicle. Because maneuvering in and out of a vehicle requires more time and space than normal travel, an access aisle is required by law to prevent vehicles from encroaching onto that space.




Picture #3
This photo is of a parking space that has an access aisle on both the right and left sides. This is in excess of requirements. Nonetheless, there are two obvious barriers in this photo. If you look at the passenger side, this access aisle abuts the driveway. Driveways are not accessible routes. So to provide safe passage to the general path of travel, there is a head aisle at the head of the space. If you look at the head aisle, you can see that the parking bumper has been pushed into the head aisle.

Parking bumpers are required by both the California Building Code and the ADA if parking bumpers keep the vehicle from encroaching onto the path of travel. So this space does require a parking bumper, but at the time of this photo the required bumper has been pushed into the head aisle making it into a barrier. Ideally, according to the Division State Architect (DSA), the parking bumper should sit 18-24 inches from the head aisle to prevent encroachment.

If the driver sought to avoid this barrier, he could attempt to back into the parking space. Backing into the parking space is allowed by the ADA 2010 but not the CBC. However, if the space were to be used in this manner, the support column in the driver side access aisle blocks the usage of that aisle, preventing the passenger side from being able to use the access aisle.

Both barriers effectively block this parking space from being an effective zone of safety to be used by someone with disabilities. If either the support column was elsewhere OR if the parking bumper was properly maintained then this space would be accessible. Maintaining your facility at all times is necessary to ensure proper compliance with the ADA.


Picture #4
In this photo, we have some major issues. The first major issue has to do with the slope. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the parking space is significantly sloped towards the drainage. Spaces that are sloped this greatly pose a hazard for individuals transitioning out of their vehicle. It’s hard enough to move safely in and out of a vehicle, but to also require that individual to prevent their wheelchair from rolling away while doing it is grounds for a potential lawsuit. Baring re-surfacing this space so as to be level, we must ask — Was this the best possible space?

It’s not, but we can cover how to decide where a space should be in a different entry.

The next two obvious issues has to do with the lack of signage at the head of the parking space and the faded “NO PARKING” in the access aisle. Both of these items alert drivers that this space is not for vehicles to park in. The “NO PARKING” in the access aisle is particularly important as desperate or unaware drivers will sometimes park in the access aisle, effectively blocking the disabled patron from re-entering their vehicle. Not having the proper warning signs opens the store owners and the property managers to a lawsuit because it’s the owner’s responsibility to monitor their spaces and call the police to tow improperly parked vehicles. Having the required signage is necessary to protect the owners should the driver of the towed vehicle claim that they were unaware that they could not park illegally.


Picture #5
This last picture has to do with a path of travel from the access aisle to the main entrance. The subject of this photo has to do with the required extension of the handrail at the bottom of the stairs. Some of the requirements have changed slightly, but the issue with this extension has to do with the fact that it projects into the path of travel and constitutes a hazard for pedestrians. The extensions of the stairway are correct to be returned, but be extended to the ground so as to be caught by a cane-sweep.




ADA Compliance Takeaway

So you understand, the point of all these articles is to educate you readers about what ADA compliance entails.  Both what to do, how to approach it, how to best comply and what the common pitfalls for complete ADA compliance are.

Education is mostly free.  I have to spent a few hours, maybe a day and a half each week, working on articles, and you have to take time to read it, to shift through the multitude of available information.

Ultimately, though, we make a living doing ADA inspections and ADA consultation.

We do know the laws and ADA regulations, but we don’t know your facility.

I can write about the most common and glaring problems, but I can’t advise you on your particular site.  Even if you submitted pictures, I can’t measure slope or spot issues you may not know about.  If you find this information helpful, feel free to drop an email or a comment.  Submit a picture too, if you like.  I can email you back with an opinion.  Let us inspect your site!

But seriously, give me some genuine feedback and let me know if this was helpful or if you would like me to cover a specific topic.  If I get enough requests, I’ll take the time to write an article on it.  If you’re interested in having us apply our knowledge to your place of business/place of public accommodation in the form of an ADA consultation, by all means call us at 866 982 3212 or email us at help@accesssolutionllc.com.

*Note: The California Building Code may have changed its requirements since the writing of this article.

An Analysis of an ADA Case

This is an excellent analysis of an ADA Case:

Business property owners and tenants often misunderstand their legal obligation to make their premises accessible to individuals with disabilities. Many business operators mistakenly believe that if they have owned or leased their premises since before accessibility laws were enacted or if they have not made substantial physical changes to their premises during that time then they have no obligation to make their businesses accessible to individuals with disabilities. In other words, they believe they are “grandfathered in,” making them exempt from laws that now require businesses that are open to the public to be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. The reality is that most business owners welcome disabled customers and offer assistance if it is needed. Yet, both federal and state laws require businesses to do significantly more.

You can find the original post here:  Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP

The two basic conclusions of this situation are all the things that we’ve been writing on here all along:

  • Businesses are liable whether or not they own the property they are in.
  • Fixing inexpensive items lower a business’s liability substantially.

Additionally, though, businesses can’t rely on unreasonable hardship as a “fix-all” as a future lawsuit some years later could cite that this business had amply time to comply with the more expensive items but did nothing in the interim.

An added consideration is that the ADA has been around for over twenty years. If a business not compliant, they will get into trouble. In the eyes of the court, businesses and property owners have had twenty years to comply. Most businesses aren’t that old — which means they should have started out compliant when they did the tenant improvements and moved in.


Any thoughts or comments?’

Note:  We are now offering a new service, under our pricing check for “Turnkey ADA Accommodation“.  Basically in addition to doing an ADA Exposure survey, we’ll fix all your items up to a certain amount and provide cost estimation for the rest so you can become compliant ASAP and significantly lower your outstanding exposure to ADA Lawsuits!

More on that soon.

help@accesssolutionllc.com or 866 982 3212.