I've Been Served an ADA Lawsuit - What Happens Now?

I've Been Served an ADA Lawsuit - What Happens Now?

18 April 2022 By Admin

In an ideal world, business owners would avoid ADA lawsuits in the first place by making sure they follow the guidelines laid out by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, if you have already been handed a lawsuit, it's too late for that! So what are the next steps for you and your business? Let's take a look at what you can do in the event of an ADA lawsuit.

Have You Had a CASp Inspection?

The first important question to ask is, have you previously had your property inspected by a qualified CASp, or Certified Access Specialist as they are also known? If you have had an inspection carried out before the lawsuit's date, you may be eligible for qualified defendant status. This allows you to delay the ADA lawsuit allowing you time to work with an experienced ADA concrete contractor to resolve the accessibility issues identified on the CASp report. However, the report must be dated before the lawsuit is filed to demonstrate that you were already taking steps to become ADA compliant. CASps are independent inspectors who are certified by the Division of the State Architect in California.

ADA Lawsuit Statistics

California has one of the highest rates of ADA lawsuits, with 359 federal lawsuits filed in 2021 and many more filed through State courts under California's Unruh Act as civil rights violations. These numbers are much more difficult to track, but a 2017 study estimates that almost 30% of all civil rights lawsuits in California are related to ADA compliance and accessibility. Plaintiffs often prefer to file a state suit since it awards them damages rather than just paying legal costs the way a federal lawsuit does.

Fixing Your ADA Violations

Suppose you face an ADA lawsuit and do not have a CASp certificate that gives you qualified defendant status. In that case, you will need to take steps to address the lawsuit and ultimately resolve the violations at your property with the help of an ADA concrete contractor. Let's take a look at some of the steps you need to take when handling your lawsuit.

1 - Take Your Time & Don't Rush Into Responding

When someone files an ADA lawsuit against you and your business, the natural response is to panic and try to settle the matter as quickly as possible. However, it is much more advisable to stop, take a deep breath, and carefully consider all aspects of the situation. Unfortunately, California is rife with frivolous drive-by lawsuits that abuse ADA laws for financial gain. These people are banking on business owners panicking and settling quickly out of fear. Review the complaints carefully and consider whether it is likely to be a legitimate lawsuit or a drive-by filing. If it is the latter, you may wish to mount a defense, in which case you will need a lawyer experienced in defending ADA cases. However, it is worth noting that whether or not the complaint is from a legitimate customer, if an ADA violation is present, you will need to address that sooner or later, not just legally but also from an ethical point of view. Your business cannot discriminate against disabled customers by blocking their access.

2 - Gathering Evidence for Your Defence

If you feel that the ADA lawsuit is unjustified and have made reasonable adjustments for your disabled patrons, you will need to gather evidence to prove this. This might include taking photographs of your property, especially the specific areas mentioned in the complaint. Even if you did not have a CASp inspection prior to the lawsuit, you could still have one carried out, as this will help you identify problem areas that need to be addressed to be ADA compliant.

3 - Work With an ADA Concrete Contractor

As noted, if an ADA violation is present, it does need to be addressed sooner rather than later. You can get started before waiting on the outcome of your lawsuit, and the courts may take your willingness to resolve the issues into consideration. It is important to work with an ADA concrete contractor who fully understands the requirements in a way that a general contractor may not. There is almost no margin for error regarding ADA compliance, especially when the work is being carried out in response to a federal lawsuit! The last thing you want to do is pay twice to carry out ADA construction work because it wasn't entirely compliant the first time around! In our time as an ADA concrete contractor, Protrk Construction estimates that our work can be split into three categories as follows:

  • 54% of our customers have lost an ADA lawsuit and are solving the issues raised in the complaint.
  • 25% are having to redo work done by a general contractor because it is not actually ADA compliant and has failed a CASp inspection.
  • 21% are taking care of ADA compliance violations pre-emptively to avoid a future ADA lawsuit.

Your best defense against an ADA lawsuit is compliance, but if a lawsuit has already been filed, it is not too late to take steps toward making your business accessible to everyone. Contact an expert ADA concrete contractor as soon as possible and start making plans.

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Design | Build | Certified

Why Wait to be "Forced" into ADA Compliance. If you are a public business or public property owner, save money, lawsuits, time and headaches by being prepared and avoiding it all in the first place. It’s time to call in the ADA pros. Use Protrk, an ADA construction expert, to Get it Done Right Prior to Forced Compliance. 

Call 415-813-9877 today or visit www.protrkconstruction.com for more details.

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Being involved in ADA design and construction has given me the opportunity to help a lot of business owners and commercial property owners prevent costly ADA compliant lawsuits.

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Owner & Founder Protrk®

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