Defending Against Drive-By ADA Lawsuits

ADA Lawsuit Defense Lawyer: Serving Clients in Chicago and other Illinois cities

As they focus on the needs of their customers and improvements in their products or services, businesses have become increasingly susceptible to lawsuits for legal violations outside their particular trade. One area of concern to some entities is the growing occurrence of “drive-by” lawsuits involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law enacted to prevent discrimination and provide equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities. In particular, Title III ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to all public places and private businesses. This section also includes provisions regulating physical structures and requiring modifications to make public and private business buildings and facilities accessible.

While businesses that serve the public or operate out of owned or leased business space usually have implemented ADA requirements, many are unfamiliar with the complexity of the laws and the changing developments that pertain to them. One of the unintended consequences of the evolving federal law is that businesses may unknowingly violate regulations, leaving them open to costly litigation.

“Drive-By” ADA Lawsuits Initiated by Attorneys

Drive-by lawsuits are often the result of the predatory practice of specialized attorneys who target businesses that have not yet implemented all of the accessibility requirements mandated by the ADA. Practiced in intentionally seeking out violations, these attorneys then contact appropriate plaintiffs to initiate a lawsuit against an unsuspecting business. In many cases, these claims are motivated by monetary gain. Plaintiffs’ lawyers typically pursue quick settlements from companies that are technically but not intentionally violating the law, taking advantage of the concern that attorney fees may be awarded to successful plaintiffs under the ADA.

Protecting Your Business from “Drive-By” ADA Lawsuits

How can you mitigate harm to your business when a lawsuit is filed for an ADA violation? There are several options to consider. Depending on the type of violation and your business finances, an efficient settlement may be a good alternative to consider. However, there are several strategies to defend against these lawsuits as well, including a challenge to the plaintiff’s standing. To establish a claim under the ADA act, the plaintiff must:

  • Have a recognized disability, and
  • prove that he or she intended to return to the business.

Since many of the plaintiffs involved in drive-by lawsuits are not regular patrons but simply visit with the sole purpose of suing, this may be a useful defense.

Implementing Regulations Will Protect You From Liability

Finally, to prevent a drive-by or other ADA lawsuit against your business, understanding and implementing all pertinent federal regulations will protect you from liability. Qualified professionals, including engineers, legal experts, business insurers, and others, can provide invaluable guidance in keeping your business facility in compliance.

Discuss Concerns about an ADA Lawsuit with a Chicago Lawyer

At Voelker Litigation Group, we understand that changes in ADA laws may affect your business and leave it vulnerable to liability. Seeking consultation from an experienced ADA lawsuit defense lawyer can be just as beneficial in preventing a potential lawsuit as it is in defending against a lawsuit.

Voelker Litigation Group: Experienced, resourceful, effective.