People often think that they understand what it takes to start a business, yet, it is all too easy to overlook important matters that could lead to major issues in the future.
For example, if you open a business with a physical location or a website, you might eventually face a lawsuit based on claims that you failed to properly accommodate people with disabling medical conditions, under the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ) and similar state laws such as the California Unruh Act. This has long been a risk but there has also been an explosion in the number of disability-related lawsuits under the ADA as well as the Unruh Act brought against businesses in recent years.
Per this example, an experienced ADA lawyer could help you to identify accessibility issues with your business model and prevent a very expensive ADA claim against your company. This is just a single example of the kinds of legal issues your business could face if you aren’t proactive in approaching liability risks. Here are just a few other kinds of common consumer claims related to disability access.
Issues with inaccessible facilities inspire claims
Every business model and location has its own unique accessibility issues, but there are certain considerations that apply broadly to most businesses. For example, for when doing business with the public, having the proper parking lot spaces, with the proper slope and signage, providing a lower transaction counter, and even providing Braille at exit doors may be necessary.
Websites are another common source of ADA lawsuits
If a company offers certain services exclusively through its website, the website may need to be compatible with specialized software that helps those with vision issues access the internet. Screen reading software may seem like a minor concern, but failing to properly design your website could very easily lead to a lawsuit. Since the website can be viewed by a person anywhere, the business should consider how the ADA is interpreted in all state, not jus the state where the business is located. Some judges in some states have given the ADA a very baud interpretation, especially in New York and Pennsylvania.
Proactively reviewing your business model and services for accessibility issues that could lead to ADA complaints is generally much more cost-effective than risking the possibility of someone filing a complaint against your company. Additionally, discussing your business plans and facilities with an ADA lawyer could also help you to avoid an ADA lawsuit against your new company.