In this era of technology, everyone should be able to access the internet, regardless of their disabilities. ADA for websites and web accessibility redemption vouches to make your website inclusive to everyone worldwide. Besides the obvious ethical obligations, an accessible website has various other benefits too!
For instance, web accessibility development for your website can actually save your law firm from litigation. How? Keep reading to find out!
What Are The Requirements For A Website To be Accessible?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 is a comprehensive set of standards for making websites accessible for people with disabilities. It consists of 13 guidelines that can fall under four concepts:
- Perceivability: The website should present information and parts of the user interface to users in a way they can understand.
- The navigation and user interface components must be operational.
- Understandability: The content and navigation of the user interface must be straightforward.
- Robustness: The content has to be solid enough to be reliably interpreted by a wide range of user interfaces, including those using assistive technologies.
Legal Requirements Of Web Accessibility
Surprisingly, no new laws have passed in recent years regarding website accessibility. The increase in litigation is not the result of a shift in the legal landscape. However, the number of ADA lawsuits filed and won against major corporations in 2016 increased from a handful before 2017 to between one thousand and two thousand in 2018.
Corporations that were the targets of the investigation include big names like Fox News, Harvard, Nike, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza, among others. The WCAG specifies two distinct kinds of case causes:
- Federal legislation (Section 508 article): This law requires all government-run websites to meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards. This is not a concern for your company.
- Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act: This is federal legislation that requires all government agencies to take measures to eliminate disability-based discrimination.Given that the ADA is not specifically about the internet or how things should look online, there is no legally defined WCAG level within the ADA.
Since the “Section 508 article” referenced WCAG 2.0 AA, lawyers have begun using it in cases as the only criterion for determining whether or not a website is accessible to people with disabilities.
Possible Legal Consequences For Not Adhering To Web Accessibility
The risk of a lawsuit or demand letter increases if your website contains features restricting users with disabilities from utilizing them. Unfortunately, plaintiffs cannot seek monetary damages in federal cases brought under the ADA. Therefore, a plaintiff’s only options are to have their legal bills covered and make the inaccessible area accessible again.
So, what legal consequences can you face for not adhering to the web accessibility laws? Let’s take a look:
Lawsuits Regarding Web Accessibility Is On the Rise!
UsableNet has released its 2021 results report on virtual ADA cases in the US, and the trends it reveals are undoubtedly worth noting. First, in 2021, there were 15% more lawsuits than in the previous year.
About 10 cases were filed daily, for a total of a staggering 4,055 cases! The tally includes all federal and state cases that mention an ADA violation. Remember that the figures presented here account for lawsuits, not demand letters.
Notices Of Demand
UsableNet’s study does not include demand letters threatening legal action and asking for a quick settlement for defendant firms. However, it’s common knowledge that demand letters often exceed federal and state cases.
Although this strategy has been linked to “ambulance-chasing” by some, it is grounded in the law because all websites must be freely accessible to all users. In most cases, small and medium-sized enterprises receive demand letters with settlement amounts in the $5,000–$20,000 range. Of course, this cost does not include the cost of remediation.
Multiple Legal Actions
You can still be the target of another lawsuit or demand letter even if you have already been sued or received one. ADA lawsuits are common for many businesses. It’s not a rare sight for a company to face legal action from various parties concerning its website and mobile application.
Unfortunately, no matter how often you settle a lawsuit or demand letter, if your online properties remain inaccessible, you still risk receiving more. Moreover, settling exposes you more because you practically admit that your website is inaccessible. This is why we need to take steps to make all digital assets more accessible.
Web accessibility remediation opens opportunities for your firm’s growth and protects it from litigation fines. In this article, we clarify your confusion about web accessibility development for those confused about ADA for websites.
Consult an expert web accessibility company to protect your website against litigation and maintain your finances. Thanks for reading!