Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Do if a Doctor or Hospital Refuses to Provide an Sign Language Interpreter and I Need One to Effectively Communicate?

Emergency Situations

1. Put your request for an interpreter in writing and put it on every form you sign. Keep any papers you can that involve requests for interpreters.

2. Tell every person you come in contact with that you are Deaf and you need a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate.

3. Ask to speak with the patient care representative or the head of the department and make your request for an interpreter with them in writing.

4. Contact the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and let them know about the situation and see if they will make a phone call on your behalf.

5. Send a letter to the doctor or hospital certified mail with return receipt requested as soon as you leave the hospital explaining what happend with your communication access during your visit.

Non-Emergency Situations

1. Call the Hospital or Doctor ahead of time and let them know that you require a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate. Please let them know as soon as you make your appointment. Give them the number of the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing if they don't know where to find a qualified interpreter.

2. If the hospital or Doctor is resistant to giving you an interpreter, write a letter to the doctor or hospital certified mail with return receipt requested making your request. Also contact the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing informing them what happened.

What Do I Do if a Police Station Refuses to Provide an Sign Language Interpreter and I Need One to Effectively Communicate?

1. If possible, make your request in writing and ahead of time and send it certified mail with return receipt requested.

2. Put your request for an interpreter in writing and put it on every form you sign. Keep any papers you can that involve requests for interpreters.

3. Tell every person you come in contact with that you are Deaf and you need a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate.

4. Ask to speak with the Chief or the police officer on duty that is in charge and make your request for an interpreter with them in writing.

5. If you can, contact the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and let them know that you are not getting accommodations.

6. Follow up certified mail with return receipt requested as soon as you leave the police station explaining what happend with your communication access during your visit

What Do I Do if a School Refuses to Provide an Sign Language Interpreter and I Need One to Effectively Communicate?

1. Call the School ahead of time and let them know that you require a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate. Let them know as soon as you know you will enroll. Give them the number of the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing if they don't know where to find a qualified interpreter. Most colleges and universities have a department that deals with accommodation requests, try to contact that department first.

2. If the school is resistant to giving you an interpreter write a letter to the school and send it certified mail with return receipt requested making your request. Also contact the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing informing them what happened.

What Do I Do if I Want to have a Sign Language Interpreter in a Place of Public Entertainment?

1. Find out who is in charge of the venue and contact them making your request for an interpreter as far in advance as possible. Give them the number of the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing if they don't know where to find a qualified interpreter.

2. Follow up with a letter with your request certified mail with return receipt requested.

3. Contact the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and let them know if you are not getting accommodations.

Things to Know

1. A place of public accommodation cannot require you to pay the cost of a sign language interpreter.

2. A place of public accommodation cannot require you to use a family member for communication.

3. The Interpreter must be qualified if you cannot understand the interpreter you have every right to request a different interpreter.

4. Speak up. If you need an interpeter do not be afraid to stand up for your rights.

5. If after taking these appropiate steps you are still denied an interpreter contact an attorney as soon as possible to see if your rights have been violated.

Address

Turnpike Metroplex
190 Highway, 18N Suite 200
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Phone

Telephone:  (732) 843-6600
VP: Available by appointment
TDD: (732) 843-6601
Fax: (732) 843-6602

Insurance Accepted

The Law Office of Clara R. Smit accepts Hyatt, ARAG, APWU, and Legalwise