The coronavirus put a damper on the filing of new ADA cases for architectural barrier and website claims. But as the economy and the courts start to come out of their COVID-19 hibernation, DPA Attorneys at Law is predicting a return to “business as usual” as far as ADA lawsuits. California is the #1 hot spot for ADA lawsuits, and it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Our recommendation is that hotel owners/operators seize the moment and get your ADA house in order:
• ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS: Now is a good time to get an inspection by a Certified Access Specialists (CASP) to find out where your hotel may be out of compliance, and the inspector’s recommendations on what needs to be done to become compliant. If you don’t already have a CASP inspector on speed dial, we have relationships with top-notch CASP inspectors and through our office we can arrange an inspection for you.
• WEBSITES: Every hotel website MUST have sufficient information to enable a disabled visitor to your website to determine for themselves if you have accommodations that will suit their needs. Saying on your website that your hotel has accessible rooms is not enough. The disabled visitor does not have to take your word for it; he must be able to make that determination for himself. Now is a good time to take a long, hard look at your website. Put yourself in the shoes of the disabled visitor. Does your website tell them (or show them) enough so that THEY can decide if your facilities will meet their needs? This is a growing area for ADA lawsuits because anyone anywhere can visit your website without leaving home. If you need guidance on ADA website compliance, call us.
We want to offer one additional practical tip on architectural barriers. Work from the outside in when bringing your property into ADA compliance – disabled parking and signage, pathways into the hotel lobby, then transaction counters in the lobby. Also, if you have a pool, make sure you have an ADA-compliant lift. If these highly visible features are compliant, it is unlikely that an ADA plaintiff will look further inside your hotel.
An ADA lawsuit is in almost every hotel’s future. The odds are against you. However, you can change the odds in your favor if you act NOW to get your ADA house in order.