There are five reasons that all hotel members in the United States need to comply with all the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements before the March 15, 2012 deadline. By acting now, you can save your business countless productive working hours and thousands of dollars in penalties.
1. The March 15, 2012 deadline is the effective date for the most sweeping changes to the ADA in 20 years.
2. These changes directly affect every hotel owner and operator in the United States.
3. Experts expect that a tidal wave of private lawsuits and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement actions will start the day after the deadline, on March 16, 2012, and that it will dwarf the approximately 12,000 lawsuits filed over the past five or six years under the original ADA.
4. Owners and operators are each jointly and separately liable for violations of the ADA, and they both will likely be sued. Most ADA claims are not covered by insurance, but most management agreements will require owners to pay or indemnify operators for such claims.
5. It is much cheaper to prevent lawsuits than to fight them. You can pay a little now to avoid the problem, or you can pay a lot more later to deal with it.
Why act now? It is the law. It is the right thing to do. It is much more cost-effective to prevent lawsuits than to fight them.
If you wait and get sued or investigated by the DOJ, in addition to the cost of making the property fully compliant, you may get hit with fines, plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs. Some states can award damages as well. In addition, the DOJ can fine hotels up to $55,000 for the first ADA offense and $110,000 for each subsequent offense.
Your general liability insurance carrier will not pay for any of these costs either. The best action to take as a business owner is to hire an ADA expert to analyze your hotel operations and determine deficiencies so you can fix them before there is a problem.
SIA Group can provide you with an insurance policy that provides your hotel with coverage in the event that your hotel is sued for not being ADA compliant, and the cost is very inexpensive, especially considering the possibility of facing fines and lawsuits without having it. Contact Bradley Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Patterson at email@example.com or call and ask for either person at 1-800-682-7741 for more information.