The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990, grants certain rights to individuals who have some form of disability. One of those rights is access to public buildings and public-facing hospitality environments. If you require accommodations such as wheelchair ramps, Braille lettering, or written transcription to be able to access a public building, then this provision of the ADA likely helps you go about your day and perform essential tasks.
Unfortunately, not all businesses with public-facing spaces provide accommodations according to the law. If you encounter a retail store, a restaurant, a hotel, or another business that disregards ADA compliance standards, a disability lawyer can walk you through the steps needed to file a claim.
File an ADA Complaint With the DOJ
The first step is to file an official complaint with the Department of Justice. The DOJ will collect your contact information, as well as your lawyer's if you have legal representation, and request documentation about the nature of your complaint. From there, the DOJ will either contact you for more documentation or begin an investigation into whether the business is violating ADA law. It can take some time to investigate your complaint, so working with a disability lawyer can be helpful in making sure your concerns are addressed as quickly as possible.
The DOJ may determine that the best way to address the complaint is through mediation. This process is voluntary, so if the business you've filed a complaint against refuses to meet with you and a trained mediator, then a lawsuit might be your next step.
File a Lawsuit
A disability lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the business. Failing to provide ADA-compliant accommodations for a disabled individual counts as discrimination under the law, so your lawyer is responsible for proving how the discrimination harmed you. Your lawyer might seek a settlement to compensate you for the harm you suffered without accommodations at the business. In addition to being issued fines by the DOJ and orders to add accommodations, the business might also face punitive damages in your lawsuit. Your lawyer can help you determine the amount in damages to seek and provide guidance every step of the way.
If you are denied services by a hotel, restaurant, retail store, or other business because the company has not made accommodations for your disability as required by law, then you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Ask a disability lawyer for more information on your legal options.