How do I File a Disability Lawsuit?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 14 February 2020
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To file a disability lawsuit, the first step is gathering thorough documentation. Documenting discrimination due to a verifiable disability begins with your contact information, the name of the discriminating party, and a specific description of the actions that may be grounds for disability litigation. These records can be submitted to the appropriate local, state, or federal government agency that oversees the enforcement of laws against disability discrimination. Once the agency determines the law has been violated, you can contact a lawyer with experience in disability lawsuits.

If you demonstrate a legitimate disability lawsuit claim, the disability agency will issue you a written notice of your right to litigate. This legal document will also outline other relevant details concerning your legal rights; you can review any questions regarding these with your lawyer. In most jurisdictions, you have a limited number of days to begin the litigation procedure after receiving this right-to-litigate notice.

Depending on your area of residence, a disability lawsuit can be filed at either the state or federal level. Both the plaintiff and defendant should be notified in writing of the initial case merits within a reasonable time period. The plaintiff's attorney should carefully consider if the case could best be resolved through mediation or a trial. In many instances, disability discrimination litigation is more beneficial for both sides if it can be settled through mediation.


If your disability lawsuit proves difficult to resolve through mediation, a hearing before a judge is the next course of action. Some states allow the filing of disability discrimination lawsuits without first going through a governing agency regarding disability law; this is known as a private right of action. In most areas, you have the right to equal access regarding public buildings, business services, employment, and education. The scope of such laws is broad, and past disability lawsuits have helped in narrowing the laws down to specifics.

In jurisdictions that allow a private right of action, the process of your disability lawsuit may take less time. Written descriptions of the incident submitted to the court provide important information for both sides to review. Some disability lawsuits are more straightforward than others, depending in part on the nature of the disability. If you were denied equal access to employment, services, or education due to a physical handicap, for example, the law is a bit more specific and established in terms of penalties. If the denial was due to a nonphysical disability, a physician's documentation regarding the condition is likely to be required as well.


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I live in El Paso, Texas and am in a wheelchair. The jail here in El Paso isn't ADA compliant, so they won't take me. Any help?

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