If you own a business, you should be aware of all the laws and ordinances and be ready comply with every single one of them. By doing so you will be displaying a professional presence, but also you may be protecting yourself from a lawsuit. People get injured in places of business all the time. And disabled people may be particularly vulnerable to injury. If someone who is vision-impaired visits your restaurant or shop and they fall down, you could get sued for not displaying Braille Signs that indicate stairs, exits and bathrooms.
A law you need to know
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) put government regulations into action that order all businesses to display ADA Signs. People with disabilities have every right to be able to function in society with greater accessibility. If you don’t have appropriate ADA signage and if a disabled person is injured on your property, you could be sued without any legal life preserver to cling to.
Protecting your business
Be sure to have an ADA compliance sign or decal displayed at your main entrance and be sure it has Braille to accommodate those with vision impairments. You will also want to have signs with Braille that display the appropriate restrooms, as well as signage that signals to steps and exits. It may seem excessive, but if someone is too enamored from looking at your menu to pay attention and the fall down a few stairs and hit their head, you could be held for greater liability.
What are the odds?
According to data from the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D) the number of disabled Americans borders between 35 to 43 million people. Over 25 million are either blind or suffer from severe vision loss. They engage in all of the same things able bodied people do such as dining out, attending concerts, and shopping at retail stores.
Furthermore, the number of disabled US veterans is rising. More soldiers are returning home suffering from permanent vision loss or they are in wheelchairs. There is also an increase in vets who rely on crutches or canes for greater ease of mobility. If a wounded war veteran were to get injured on your property, the negative press could really damage your brand and reputation. Furthermore, the legal assistance that most veterans receive often equips them with lawyers who are relentless in seeking retribution for injuries.
Personal injury lawsuits are the most common ones filed in America, and within that pool the “slip and fall” cases are one of the highest. Customers are legally referred to as “business invitees” meaning that business owners are responsible for their safety. If you don’t have signs alerting disabled guests to certain obstacles, entrances or exits, you could face closing your doors forever if someone is significantly hurt on your property.
It’s a no-brainer
Signs are inexpensive. Not only should you display them to fulfill the requirements set by law, putting a few up in the recommended places could protect you from a serious lawsuit. But aside from using them as an insurance policy, you will be showing your local community that you welcome disabled people, and you value their business.
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