The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created in 1990 as a civil law that prohibits any discrimination based on disability. It protects workers, consumers, and any United States citizen from discrimination in employment in private settings.
Part of the ADA requires that businesses keep their premises ADA compliant for any disabled customer that may visit their business. These requirements might seem tedious – but they ensure that those with disabilities have equal access to all businesses, while simultaneously protecting them from injury.
All businesses are required to be ADA compliant, including:
- Convention Centers
- Grocery Stores
- Laundry Facilities
- Daycare Centers
- Public Transportation Hubs
- Movie Theaters
How Does the ADA Apply to Injuries in Savannah Businesses?
The ADA contains specialty accessibility laws and guidelines to ensure businesses are safer and more accessible. Public facilities, hospitals, companies, sidewalks, and housing units must comply with the ADA, and these laws are there to prevent unnecessary injuries. When you are injured at a business or premise that is not ADA compliant, you may have a claim against that company for your injuries and losses.
Examples of ADA Standards
The ADA Accessibility Guidelines is quite extensive, but some examples of what public spaces must do to remain compliant include:
- Installing ramps for wheelchairs
- Making curb entrances to sidewalks for those unable to step up or those in a wheelchair
- Positioning shelves so that merchandise is accessible
- Installing hinges for doorways to open wider or installing wider doors to accommodate wheelchairs and assistive devices
- Installing flashing alarm lights to notify deaf patrons
- Leaving space in between obstacles so that those in a wheelchair can maneuver around them properly
- Removing high pile carpeting that creates a tripping hazard
- Installing grab bars in bathrooms and installing raised toilet seats – or having a handicap accessible restroom on the premises
- Adding raised markings for those who need Braille
Owners of local businesses typically hire a consultant to review their updates and ensure they are ADA compliant.
Georgia’s Laws on ADA Compliance
The state of Georgia is no stranger to ADA compliance. In fact, the statute requires that all businesses and any facility used by the public that was constructed or renovated after 1995 meet the ADAAG standards. Any violation of those rules is considered a misdemeanor, which means a business may face criminal penalties in addition to civil claims.
Under Georgia Code Section 51-1-6, the state has a negligence per se statute that does allow a victim to recover damages when a business breaches their legal duty. The courts allow a victim to seek compensation when:
- Accessibility standards are mandatory, and the company could face criminal penalties for violating those obligations while knowing the regulations were in place.
- The statute specifies that the business is required to protect disabled visitors.
- The business violated the ADA requirements and failed to correct known hazards on their property.
Can You Sue a Business for an ADA Violation?
If you are injured because of an ADA violation, you can file a complaint with the government. In addition, you can file a premises liability claim against the business where you were hurt. Premises liability is an area of injury law where a person is injured on private or public property.
A property owner has a responsibility to prevent injuries on their property; therefore, they must correct hazards and remain in compliance with all ADA standards.
How Does a Premise Liability Case Work?
In a premise liability case, the property owner is the defendant. In these types of cases, the property owner could be a private homeowner, business owner, real estate company, or management firm.
While slip and fall claims are the most common type of premises liability case, companies that are non-ADA compliant may have various other types of premise liability cases. For example, a company could be sued for a fall in the bathroom because they failed to install a grab bar.
For a premise liability case, you would need to hire an attorney. An attorney will investigate the premise, look for past violations, and negotiate with the owner’s insurance company to seek compensation for your injury.
Filing a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
In addition to submitting your claim, you would file a complaint with the U.S. DOJ. It’s important to understand that the DOJ does not represent you – and will not help you recover compensation. What they will do is review the complaint, investigate the premises, and then determine if further litigation is necessary. This is a government process that holds the property owner responsible for their violations. So if the company is found in violation, the company may face criminal penalties.
To receive financial compensation for your injuries, you must hire an attorney to file your premise liability claim. Your attorney can help you file a complaint with the DOJ for the ADA violation. Then, your attorney can pursue civil damages.
Do I Have to File a DOJ Complaint?
Yes, you need a DOJ complaint to move forward with your case. The outcome of the DOJ’s investigation will weigh heavily in your case. In other words – if the DOJ finds the business guilty of an ADA violation, it makes it easier to prove your injury case.
Speak with an Injury Attorney about Your ADA Violation Accident
As a disabled individual, you should be able to run errands and enjoy your town just as much as those without disabilities. Whether you were trying to run an errand, visit a new restaurant, or going shopping, an injury that is the result of an ADA violation gives you the right to seek compensation through civil action.
Georgia law allows you to seek compensation in your case, and attorney Clarke Nash can help.
To explore your options for compensation, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with Clarke. Call his office today at 912-200-5292 or request more information online.