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Examples Of ADA Architectural Violations In Businesses

| Dec 18, 2022 | Americans with Disabilities Act |

If you are a disabled individual, you encounter barriers to access almost every day.  Despite encountering many barriers, you may be unsure which barriers constitute discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In 1991, the Department of Justice issued the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).  The guidelines instructed businesses on how to make their facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  In 2010 the Department of Justice updated the guidelines and improved upon the previous standards.  The updated guidelines are known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADAS). Encountering a barrier that violates the above guidelines, absent an exception, constitutes discrimination so long as the barrier applies to your disability.

Below are a few examples of common ways these regulations are violated:

1.  The accessible parking space fails to have an access aisle. All accessible parking spaces are required to have an access aisle.  Failing to have an access aisle makes it more difficult for disable people in enter and exit their vehicles (1991 ADAAG 4.6.3, 2010 ADAS 208.1).

2.  There is a slope in the access aisle. Having a slope in an access aisle makes it more difficult for someone in a wheelchair to navigate while trying to enter or exit their vehicle (The access aisle must not have a slope greater than 2.08%. 1991 ADAAG 4.6.3, 2010 ADAS 502.4).  Below you can see an improper slope.  Having a ramp inside the access aisle is not allowed.

3.  There is a ramp up to the entrance door. The area in front of an entrance door must be flat.  There must not be a ramp directly in front of the entrance door.  Having a surface that is not level in front of the entrance door makes it difficult for someone in a wheelchair to open the entrance door (Ground in front of entrance door must not exceed a slope of 2.08%. 1991 ADAAG 4.13.6., 2010 ADAS 404.2.4.4).

4.  Door has round door knobs. Having round door knobs or difficult to open door hardware prevents people with limited mobility in their hands and arms from operating the door (The entrance door or bathroom door hardware cannot require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate.  ADAAG 4.13.9, 2010 ADAS 404.2.7).

5.  There is a lack of clear space under the bathroom sink. A bathroom sink must have clear floor space underneath it so that someone in a wheelchair can pull up close enough to use the sink (Lavatory must have knee and toe clearance 1991 ADAAG 4.19.2, 2010 ADAS 606.2).  The sink below fails to have any clear floor space underneath it as the cabinet prevents someone in a wheel chair from reaching it.

6.  The pipes under the bathroom sink fail to be insulated. Pipes under the bathroom sink must be insulated to prevent someone in a wheel chair from burning themselves against the hot water drainage pipes (1991 ADAAG 4.19.4, 2010 ADAS 606.5).  The sink below fails to have its drainage pipes insulated.

7.  The sales counters are too high. Any sales counter must be low enough for someone in a wheel chair to reach from a seated position, or there must be a section of the sales counter that is low enough for someone in a wheel chair to reach from a seated position (Service counter must have a section that does not exceed thirty-four inches (34”) above the finished floor. 2010 ADAS 904.4.1).  The counter below fails to have any area that is accessible to someone seated in a wheel chair.

8.  There are no accessible dining tables. So long as dining tables are provided, either inside or outside, some of dining tables in each area must be accessible.  Accessible dining tables allow someone in a wheel chair to utilize them by being the correct height and not having table legs or support beams that prevent a forward approach by someone in a wheelchair (1991 ADAAG 5.1, 2010 ADAS 226.1).  Below is an example of an inaccessible table.  There is no place a person in a wheelchair can approach from a forward position.

Please remember that the above sample violations are only a fraction of the violations found at various businesses.  In addition, these violations were chosen randomly and in no particular order.  Finally, the explanation of the above violations was simplified and there are exceptions, missing details, and nuances to the above information.  If you are disabled and believe you have encountered these violations call us today for your free consultation.

These blogposts shall not be constituted as legal advice and are for informational purposes only.  Each and every case is different and requires an attorney to examine the specific case in question to arrive at an adequate legal conclusion.  In addition, these blogposts are not updated, or edited, after the date of their initial post, and as such, the information contained within them may be outdated.  Finally, the above blogpost discusses the law as interpreted within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit.  Various federal circuits may have differing interpretations of the law.  Consult with your own personal attorney for more information on the subject matters.