On this last day of 2013, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Top Ten List. This list is for the exterior of the building and in no way should it be considered an all inclusive list. This is simply a list of issues that are high on the plaintiff’s hit list based on my experience over the last several years.
(1) Tow Away Sign – Is there a tow away sign at each vehicular entry way and more importantly, does it have the contact information completely fill out? Also, is it the sign the correct size and is it mounted at the proper height?
(2) Accessible Parking Spaces – All businesses with parking must have at least one van accessible parking space. If you have a parking lot and no accessible parking spaces, you will probably see a lawsuit in the next couple of years. In addition, depending on the total number of spaces in your parking lot, you may be required to have more than one accessible space.
(3) Slope of Accessible Parking – Currently there is a flood of lawsuits for accessible parking spaces with excessive slope. The accessible parking and accompanying aisle must be virtually flat; otherwise you are subjecting yourself to a lawsuit. This is one of the most important issues for businesses as we begin 2014 and it should be addressed as soon as possible.
(4) Size of Accessible Parking – The size of the accessible parking stalls and associated aisles is based on the total number of parking stalls required by code. By determining the number required accessible spaces, you can determine the parking stall and associates aisle size. The parking stall size is frequently the subject of lawsuits against business owners.
(5) Accessible Parking Pavement Signage – Your parking space should have a profile view of a wheelchair with an occupant painted on the pavement at the rear of the parking stall that is at least 36” x 36”.
(6) Accessible Parking Pole Signage – There must be certain signage at the head of the accessible parking stall based on the type of accessible stall. In addition, the signage needs to be the correct size and mounted at the correct height. Lack of proper signage is a big red flag to serial plaintiffs looking for businesses to file a lawsuit against.
(7) Public Way Access – It’s not uncommon for older properties to not have any access to the property from the public way. You must have an accessible route that is not the driveway. In addition, you must have an accessible route between all buildings on a site.
(8) Detectable Warnings – I have not previously discussed this in my blog, however, if an accessible pathway crosses a vehicular way in a parking lot then there should be a detectable warning at each end of the pathway as it crosses the vehicle way.
(9) Access to the Door – There must be access from the public way or accessible parking stall to the main entry door. The pathway must be the proper width and it must not exceed the slope as acceptable for a ramp. Additionally, the accessible way must not have any changes in vertical elevation of more than ½”.
(10) Protruding Objects – The accessible pathway to the door should be free of protruding objects that are not detectable by a sight impaired person using a cane. Objects that protrude and are too high to be detected by a cane are dangerous for sight impaired individuals who may accidently injure themselves by walking into them.
Hopefully this list has provided some insight into the issues that business owners should be reviewing at their property. I will provide additional list in a future blog that discussed additional issues inside the business.