ADA Compliance stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. It entails the accessibility of all digital information and technology to people with disabilities. No business or company is exempt from adhering to the ADA and should be familiar with its requirements as stated. More specifically, web accessibility for law firms is crucial!
Most expect law firms to be among the most knowledgeable groups of people who deal with legal requirements. As this industry deals directly with the law, lawyers are typically the last people who would want to get involved in legal issues.
However, is the matter so severe that you need to hire an ADA compliance company to review your website? So to answer all your questions and for law firms to become experts on this topic, this article will cover all you need to know about web accessibility for law firms.
What Does ADA Compliance For Websites Entail?
Numerous laws in the US give disabled people civil rights. These laws include the 1990-enacted Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 2008-enacted Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA). These laws forbid discrimination against individuals with disabilities and call for institutions to provide them with reasonable accommodations.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Title III states that no individual shall be subject to discrimination based on their disabilities. They have the right to experience the equal and complete enjoyment of services, goods, facilities, advantages, and privileges of any public accommodation by the person who owns, leases, or operates it.
The law covers both physical and online businesses, including service providers and retailers on the internet. In other words, your website content must be available to all users if your company has an online presence. Adjusting your website to make it more user-friendly and accessible for people with disabilities is a vital part of this.
Why Should Law Firms Ensure Their Website Is ADA Compliant?
Undoubtedly, ADA compliance for websites can be a headache with many rules and regulations. Some law firms disregard the law entirely when developing their websites. But if Kylie Jenner and Winn-Dixie can get sued for their websites not being accessible to everyone, you may face severe consequences as well. Some possible consequences you may face include –
1. Legal Fees
Attorney fees can be pretty high if a company defends itself in court. Also, keep in mind that if the company loses the case, it will likely be responsible for paying the plaintiff’s legal fees and other costs.
Target eventually settled a class-action civil lawsuit in 2008 and paid more than $6 million for damages. They also had to pay an extra $4 million for the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees in addition to this charge.The cost of ADA non-compliance to the company, including personal legal fees, was probably over $15 million.
2. Civil Penalty
Your company might also be required to pay a fine to the government if your website is inaccessible to specific people. Other than court costs, you may also need to pay fines to the government.
A company that violates the ADA’s accessibility regulations may need to pay between $55,000 and $75,000 in fines. Continuous violations can incur even more considerable penalties of $150,000 or more.
3. Staff Training
Let’s say you forgot to make your website accessible. Your actual storefront may fully meet the ADA requirements. However, the court might insist that you and your staff undergo ADA training.
Consider how a 2012 update rendered the website inaccessible to screen readers, leading to a lawsuit against Seattle Public Schools. The school had to settle and spent about $750,000 on an accessibility coordinator, ADA staff training, lawyers’ fees, website upgrades, and website maintenance.
How Can Law Firms Make Their Website ADA Compliant?
It’s best if you kept some factors in mind to make your law firm’s website ADA compliant. They are –
1. Optimized media: For videos, images, and audio files on your website, you must include alt tags or text descriptions incorporated into the website’s source code. Screen reader websites can read and describe the content of your website, which people with visual impairments frequently use.
2. Simple, User-friendly Website: An essential practice for law firm websites is to have a simple, user-friendly design accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. The elements of your website, such as the menus, links, and everything else in between, should be simple to understand and use.
3. HTML standard tags: This is an essential requirement for ADA compliance. For people with disabilities to easily read or hear the contents of your webpage, everything should be available in plain-text format.
4. Navigability with a Keyboard: Many disregard the ability to navigate a website using only the keyboard. But many people with disabilities won’t be able to use the website without this feature.
Nowadays, website accessibility for law firms is a pressing issue, but many often tend to disregard it as they are not knowledgeable enough about it. So here we shared everything you need to know about web accessibility for law firms.
Hope this article has informed you about the importance of hiring an ADA compliance company ASAP! Thanks for reading up till now.