A Serial litigant is someone that files many accessibility related lawsuits for financial gain. There are several serial litigants active in every US city but they are especially active in California where litigation is a common. With minimal effort to gather evidence and an average settlement award of $7,000 - $10,000, serial litigants are not slowing down.
So what are they looking for?
Serial litigants are looking for barriers that are easy to visually identify. The easiest place for them to do this is in the parking lot. It used to be that serial litigants would conduct "drive-by" operations where they would drive down the street and snap pictures of parking lots to gather evidence. Now they don't even have to waste fuel driving around. By using satellite imagery found on Google, it is easy to target businesses with barriers in their parking lot. Below is an example of a parking lot that we found after zooming in on a random city in California.
Based on the Google photos above, we can identify 4 ADA violations without even having to use a tape measure or digital level. If you know what you are looking for, it is incredibly easy to gather evidence.
What can you do to reduce your exposure to a lawsuit?
Hiring a CASp inspector to evaluate your parking lot and exterior path of travel will go a long way toward reducing the likelihood that your facility will be targeted. A CASp will identify every architectural barrier that exists in the surveyed area and assist you with prioritizing barrier removal so that you can be better protected. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your parking lot contractor followed the correct standards when they last resurfaced or re-striped your parking lot. Unfortunately, we have seen dozens of violations found in brand new parking lots. The best way to evaluate your exposure and create an action plan to call Certified Access Services for a free estimate.