Defending Against Drive-By ADA Lawsuits

Commercial Litigation Attorneys Serving Clients in the Chicago Area

As they focus on the needs of their customers and improvements in their products or services, many businesses have become increasingly susceptible to lawsuits for legal violations outside their particular trade. One area of elevated concern to some entities is the growing occurrence of “drive-by” lawsuits involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Voelker Litigation Group is comprised of commercial litigation lawyers who serve Chicago and other cities in Cook County as well as elsewhere in Illinois. We understand that changes in ADA laws may affect your business and leave it vulnerable to liability. Our litigators provide clients with aggressive representation, knowledgeable advice, and professional guidance in a variety of business matters.

Protecting Your Interests against “Drive-By” ADA Lawsuits

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that was 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. As a result, 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 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. These attorneys are experienced in seeking out violations and contacting 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 businesses that are technically but not intentionally violating the law, knowing that attorney fees may be awarded to successful plaintiffs under the ADA.

There are several options to consider in order to mitigate the harm to your business if a lawsuit is filed for an ADA violation. 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. In order to establish a claim under the ADA, the plaintiff must have a recognized disability. In addition, the plaintiff must also 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 for the purpose of accessing the property to sue, this may be a useful defense.

Lastly, to prevent a drive-by 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 a Dispute Involving Your Business with a Chicago Lawyer

Seeking consultation from an experienced lawyer can be just as beneficial in preventing a potential lawsuit as it is in defending against a lawsuit. At the Voelker Litigation Group, our Chicago attorneys offer assistance in a broad range of business disputes that affect entities across Cook County and in other areas of Illinois. We are proud to represent clients in Evanston, Palatine, and Schaumburg as well as in DuPage and Kane County communities such as Naperville, Aurora, and Elgin. Contact us by phone at 312-870-5430 or online to schedule a free consultation.

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