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.
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.