What Are Accessibility Lawsuits? Things You Need To Know


The web and the internet are essential in our daily lives nowadays. Everyone needs to use the web in some capacity. And that also includes people with disabilities. That’s why websites are required to be accessible under the ADA law.

There was a record number of ADA accessibility lawsuits last year. So, here is all you need to know about the ADA-compliant website law and more. If you have a website, there’s never been a better time to check how accessible your website is.

What Are Accessibility Lawsuits?

ADA web accessibility law states that places of accommodation should have equal access to their services, goods, and facilities. And this includes people with disabilities as well. Websites also fall under this rule; they are also considered “places of accommodation’ according to the law.

So, an accessible lawsuit can be filed by a private plaintiff if they feel like a website has not been designed or coded to be accessible. However, in some cases, the justice department can also file lawsuits.

If there is a “general public importance”, which means that if an act of violation affects a lot of people, the DOJ can start investigating themselves.

Recently we have seen a hike in ADA complaint lawsuits. Especially during the Biden administration. The DOJ has increased its web accessibility enforcement activities.

Is The ADA Law Being Exploited?

Business owners who also happen to have a website might think about whether it’s all a scam or not. And are these plaintiffs abusing the law to gain some kind of monetary benefit? Well, while the ADA doesn’t allow any kind of monetary gain for plaintiffs, state laws might vary.

For example, in California, the Unruh Civil Rights Act gives out $4,000 in monetary damages for each offense. Sometimes, the ADA can allow the plaintiff to cover the cost of legal services from the business.

No matter how you look at it, fighting a lawsuit can be very expensive. And this is regardless of whether you choose to settle or litigate it. Protracted litigation can go into the six figures—around $100,000. Settling can be around $14,000.

Of course, these are solid numbers. These are just from past cases. The cost will most definitely vary from case to case.

How To Ensure That Your Website Is ADA Compliant?

This is where things get a bit tricky. ADA does not provide any kind of guidelines for creating an accessible website. This makes things a bit challenging.

But the WCAG 2.1 guidelines help a lot. It stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and it is accepted as a reasonable standard when creating an accessible website. The bottom line is that if your website conforms to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, your website will be accessible to most users.

However, private plaintiffs can file a lawsuit for any reason. But according to historical data, most lawsuits will cite the failure to meet WCAG guidelines as the primary issue. An expert web accessibility consulting service can help you with your ADA compliance.

You need to ensure that you meet the criteria and guidelines of WCAG 2.1. And accessible websites for law firms are even more important.

Web Accessibility Is Worth It

Although web accessibility lawsuits can be a hassle, at the end of the day, an accessible web is better, whether you’re an eCommerce site or any kind of site. You might argue that web accessibility for law firms is even more important.

The point of the matter is that the internet is so ubiquitous nowys that companies and brands should provide an accessible experience. Because in the long run, this will contribute to the goodwill of the company.

Having an inaccessible website can create a negative image of the brand. At least for disabled customers. And the brand can lose a large chunk of the potential customer base in that sense. Which can result in more revenue loss in the long run compared to a lawsuit.

Wrapping Up

ADA compliant website laws help disabled people enjoy an inclusive web experience. And it’s always in a company’s best interest to give all of its potential customers a smooth experience.

Our experts at ADA for Web can help you in achieving that. So, don’t be shy to get in touch with us for a website accessibility audit.

Working on a website can be difficult. Adding new media and updating pages is chore, even though you know your company website needs to evolve and become more accessible to the many users you are trying to reach. Maybe when you first built it, accessibility wasn’t even really discussed. But now you’ve taken a step back, looked at your customer base with a desire to include everyone and you’ve realized just how important it is to make your site accessible. However, the thought of building a robust site that can do all the things you want it to do is overwhelming.

What is Web Accessibility

A practice of designing and coding the website in order to provide complete compatibility in accessing it by people with disabilities. In addition, it is a way to improve search engine optimization only an ADA Compliant Web Designer will help you to make your website Compliant. Is your website compatible? By going through the checklist below, you can get the answer.

Assessing Current Web Pages and Content

  • The website must include a feature like a navigation link at the top of the page. These links have a bypass mechanism such as a “skip navigation” link. This feature directs screen readers to bypass the row of navigation links and start at the web page content. It is beneficial for people who use screen readers to avoid to listen to all the links each time they jump to a new page.
  • All the links should be understandable when taken out of the context. For example, images without alternative text and links without worded as “click here”.
  • All the graphics, maps, images, and other non-text content must provide text alternatives through the alt attribute, a hidden/visible long description.
  • All the documents posted on the website should available in HTML or another accessible text-based format. It is also applicable to other formats like Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • The online forms on the website should be structured so assistive technology can identify, describe and operate the controls and inputs. By doing this, people with disabilities can review and submit the forms.
  • If the website has online forms, the drop-down list should describe the information instead of displaying a response option. For instance, “Your Age” instead of “18-25”.
  • If the website has data charts and tables, they should be structured so that all data cells are associated with column and row identifiers.
  • All the video files on the website must have audio descriptions (if necessary). This is for the convenience of blind people or for having a visual impairment disability.
  • All the video files on the website must have synchronized captions. People with hearing problems or deaf can access these files conveniently.
  • All the audio files on the website should have synchronized captions to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • All web pages should be designed so that they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font.

About Website Accessibility Policy and Procedures

  • One must have a written policy on website accessibility.
  • The website accessibility policy must be posted on the website at a location where it can be easily found.
  • The procedure should be developed to ensure that content is not added to the website until it has been made accessible.
  • It should be confirmed that the website manager has checked the code and structure of all new web pages before they are posted.
  • While adding the PDFs to the website, these should be accessible. Also, the text-based versions of the documents should be accessible at the same time as PDF versions.
  • Make sure that the in-house and contractor staff has received the information about the website accessibility policy and procedure to confirm the website accessibility.
  • It should be confirmed that in-house and contractor staff has received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of the website.
  • The website should have a specific written plan if it contains inaccessible content. Also, it should include timeframes in place to make all of the existing web content accessible.
  • A complete plan to improve website accessibility should be posted along with invited suggestions for improvement.
  • The homepage should include easily locatable information that includes contact details like telephone number and email address. This is useful for reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessibility services with information.
  • A website should have procedures in place to assure a quick response to the visitors with disabilities who have difficulty in accessing information or services available on the website.
  • Feedback from people who use a variety of assistive technologies is helpful in ensuring website accessibility. So make sure to ask disability groups representing people to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website.
  • Testing the website using a product available on the internet is helpful, These tools are of free cost and check the accessibility of a website. They may not identify all accessibility issues and flag issues that are not accessibility problems. However, these are, nonetheless, a helpful way to improve website accessibility.

Checklist of Action Items for Improving the Accessibility of a Website

In addition, while considering the above suggestions, the following checklist initially prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal Agencies provides further guidelines on ways to make websites more accessible for persons with disabilities.

This practical advice, as well as another checklist, are available at:

Satisfying all of these items does not necessarily mean that a website complies with ADA, but it will improve the website’s accessibility and decrease the risk of litigation. Again, an Expert or Web Accessibility Consulting & Services provider should be engaged to conduct a comprehensive review of your website.
Nothing brings you closer to reality than actually facing it. This is the premise of my latest attempt to spread awareness about Web Accessibility.
For better understand, here is a link in which a practical example is shown to make the websites’ user experience better by following the guidelines. Also, it tells the issues affecting various users on the internet with solutions.
You can make your website ADA compliant in an easy way by consulting the professionals, who can do this job effortlessly. Also, you can get a quick website audit from To Be ADA Compliant that offers complete web accessibility consulting & services in California, USA.

Resource: https://dev.to/chinchang/an-interactive-and-practical-introduction-to-web-accessibility-22o1