Have you ever heard about a lawsuit based on a case of ADA non-compliance and been upset about it? Someone slipped and fell and even though they weren’t severely injured, they decided to sue the company in question for everything they’re worth.
I heard of a small, family-owned pizza place in the Sacramento area just recently that went bankrupt because of an ADA lawsuit. It’s sad to see small businesses go under for issues that seem like little more than a building code. Sometimes, I can look at something like that and assume that the person filing the lawsuit overreacted. After all, expecting every business in the country to pay lots of money to comply with a law that only affects a small percentage of the population is unfair, right?
Now imagine you were in a car accident later today. You are now paralyzed from the waist down, and you will never be able to walk again.
After a lengthy recovery time in the hospital, you sit in a wheelchair for the very first time and realize that your life will never be the same. You’ll never be able to kick a soccer ball with your kids, run a marathon, or hike that section of the Pacific Crest Trail you always wanted to.
So you learn to push your own wheelchair everywhere in order to be as independent as possible. You insist on it, all the time. One day you visit a restaurant with your family, and there is a 2-inch ledge on the doorway that you don’t see. Not expecting the ledge, you hit it very hard, and suddenly you’ve fallen from your chair and hit your head.
The embarrassment alone is enough to seriously upset you, but you’ve also got a huge lump on your head, not to mention the pitying glances of everyone around you.
It could happen to any of us.
That’s what ADA is about. It’s not just about a building code, or even only about serious accidents. Just because someone wasn’t seriously injured doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have been. It’s a civil rights law, and it means that no matter if you’re in a wheelchair, have a walker, or have any other mobility issue, you should be able to get around safely. You shouldn’t have to over-prepare for every outing, or wear kneepads in case you fall from your wheelchair. It’s not an overreaction to demand a safe path of travel so that you don’t injure yourself while doing normal daily activities.
This is an issue of everyone having the same rights, the same access to public places. It’s not necessary to have a relative or close friend in a wheelchair to understand that this is an issue either. Still, it doesn’t hurt to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try to understand the struggles they go through every day, simply with getting around the way you are able to all the time.
ADA is a civil rights issue, and it was passed in 1990, and enacted in 1992. If your building was built after 1991, it should already be up to code. These facts, combined with the affordability of SafePath products (especially when you compare the cost of our products to the cost of a lawsuit) means that there’s really no excuse for not having your entrances accessible. Our products are designed to exceed ADA standards; we have multiple solutions that can help you solve any transitional issues that you have. You can make your environment safer for everyone!