How to stay safe from ADA lawsuits – Sign Wise
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How to stay safe from ADA lawsuits

Posted by Tayten Tullis on

How to stay safe from ADA lawsuits

Many companies big or small. Have potential lawsuits from a variety of causes. We often hear about workplace accidents or violations in the news. Yet one facet of management seems to often go unnoticed. That is the keeping up to code with ADA laws. “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications”

Next time you visit an office or store take a look at the signage in their parking lot. Does it look nice? Is it bent and faded? Are the lines on the pavement noticeable or is it a free for all? Once you notice something like this, it often becomes a regular occurrence. Gone are the days of parking lot upkeep bliss. Now that space in your brain is forever filled. As a side note and something else to put in your brain, have you ever bought a new car or heard a phrase then suddenly you see it everywhere? It actually has a name; Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some nugget of information—usually an uncommon name or object—and soon afterwards you see the same subject again and again. 

Now that we’ve cemented ourselves in your brain, what can we do to fix the actual problem of businesses not following ADA regulations. If you own your place, looking to build, or just managing, adhering to complicated rules will dominate your life.  This article hopes to clear up some of the ADA codes and make that section of your life easier.

When a company or property fails to follow ADA signage and regulations they open them up to all kinds of litigations. Oftentimes what happens is a property is built and throughout the years the buildings are upgraded but the parking lot becomes a second thought. While that fresh coat of paint looks nice, that expensive lawsuit from a disabled tenant sure wont. Even if a company makes a mistake or forgets to upgrade/replace, they can still be a target for attorneys.

Regardless of the size of the business or property, ADA compliant signage should be prominently displayed both outside and inside. For outside parking lots should have reflective parking signs that adhere to your states regulations. Many states will approve of the common R7-8 style sign, which can be seen below and purchased here: Sign Wise R7-8  Along with reflective signage, parking spaces should be clearly marked and the lines repainted regularly. Many paints now have glass beads in them for increased reflectivity at night.

handicapped reserved parking sign r7-8

How many accessible parking spaces are needed?

One of every six accessible parking spaces, or fraction thereof, must be "van-accessible."

For example: A parking lot with 400 spaces requires 8 accessible spaces with two of those eight must be van-accessible. These spaces must connect to the shortest possible route to the building entrance they serve.

Total Number of Parking Spaces

Minimum Number of Accessible Parking Spaces Required




















2% of total


20, plus 1 for each 100


When a facility has multiple buildings with several entrances, accessible parking spaces should be places to allow parking near as many entrances as possible. If a separate parking facility serves a building or facility, accessible spaces may be group together.

Accessible parking spaces are to be eight (8) feet wide (96"); van accessible spaces are level (11) feet wide (132"). Access aisles for either type of space are five (5) feet wide. These dimensions are minimums. These Adjacent aisles can be shared between two spaces and provide room for vehicle mounted wheelchair lifts. 

The access aisles must be marked or painted with hatch marks. This is important where the alternate design is used and an access aisle at a van accessible space is roughly the same size as the space.

The parking surface should be as smooth and stable in all directions. This helps the people with wheeled mobility devices to safely load and unload.  

ada parking space sizes



Accessible parking spaces must be identified by signs the include the International Symbol of Accessibility. Signs at a van-accessible space must include the phrase "Van Accessible"

These signs should be mounted with the lower edge of the sign at least (5) feet above the parking surface. This helps the visibility of the signs and clearly marks the parking space. 

The most common sign you will see to comply with parking is the Federal R7-8, which can be purchased here

The Federal R7-8 Handicapped Reserved Parking Sign is used in these states: AK, AL, AR, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VT, WY



Sign Wise has built a selection of our most popular Accessible Parking that including combat veterans and state specific signs. We have seen a large increase in orders for these signs as the laws change and people want to make sure they meet regulations.  As well as these signs, Sign Wise manufactures thousands of other signs including parking signs, safety signage, OSHA/ANSI signs, and much more. These signs are made with the highest quality of materials and made right here in the old US of A. If you’d like a quote or are looking for a custom sign please give us a ring at (877) 631-0197 or email us at or check us out online at 

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