The Americans with Disabilities Act is a piece of federal legislation that enshrined the rights of access that all individuals with disabilities hold. Many people face barriers on a daily basis, but those barriers can be more frequent and have a greater impact on people with disabilities. Some such situations are where a physical environment is not accessible, or services that lack the relevant assistive technologies, or even a negative and dismissive attitude towards people with disabilities. These barriers can make it near impossible for people with disabilities to function.
Barriers to communication experienced by those who have disabilities affecting hearing, speech, reading and writing and who use different means of communication that those without a disability can be particularly affected. Imagine being a person with vision impairments who accesses a website with important health information, only to find there is no large print version of the materials or any accessible screen reader function in order to get that information. Or imagine being a person with hearing impairments trying to access an important video without closed captioning or only being offered auditory communications. Though these are just a few examples, Marcus & Zelman is experienced with assisting individuals with disabilities in correcting these barriers and making sure their rights of accessibility are protected.
“Disability” is a legal definition under the ADA. The Act defines a disabled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activity.” This definition is largely inclusive of those with a limiting disability and those with a record of an impairment that may have been improved.
There are a number of ways to see how accessible a website or app is. Numerous applications and extensions allow for screen reader functions for the visually impaired. There is also free software like JAWS and NVDA which can be used as a screen reader to test that website and apps are appropriately accessible.
Yes. The ADA covers many types of accessibility barriers, including physical features of a public establishment. The failure to have a visible entrance ramp or a lack of handrails, or any other missing feature that could reasonably create a difficulty of accessibility for a person with a disability is a violation of the ADA and potentially actionable grounds for a lawsuit.
If you feel you’re right of accessibility is being infringed due to your disability (whether physical, communicative, or otherwise), you should reach out to a licensed attorney to assess your situation. Marcus & Zelman offers consultations free of charge and can help you determine whether taking legal action is an appropriate step for you.