ADA Lawsuits Are On The Rise in 2022
Recently, the courts have been inundated with lawsuits claiming that business websites are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. Since 2018, website accessibility lawsuits have exploded with ADA Title III filings in federal courts. These lawsuits, are mostly from people with sight or hearing disabilities who allege accessibility discrimination. California leads the pack with over half of the total nationwide cases, followed by New York and Florida.
With ADA accessibility lawsuits on the rise, it's time to consider if your business' site is protected.
What Is The ADA Law For Websites?
Title III of the ADA law requires that public-facing businesses provide “equal access” to their goods, services and facilities. Title II of the ADA law covers Website Accessibility. Plaintiffs are using these regulation to file lawsuits against non-compliant offenders. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), to address the issue. The WCAG created a list of Level A compliancy requirements for web sites. An updated list of Level AA is now available and serves as the roadmap for online developers. Our web development team uses the Level A checklist as starting point for all projects. The checklist includes features and requirements like:
Images should have alternative text or alt text that screen readers can translate.
All videos should have text captions.
Video or audio content should have either a text transcript or audio descriptions.
Make sure, and ‘b’ or ‘i’ HTML tags are replaced with ‘strong’ and ’em’
The site is navigable via keyboard, and the keyboard does not get stuck on any page elements.
Automatic scrolling or blinking content has an option to be stopped
No strobing light, or rapidly flashing lights or colors used in the website design
Any bad form input is immediately identified to the user
Any Website Business Can Be Sued
Legally speaking, an inaccessible website is a target for legal issues such and lawsuits. 2,352 website lawsuits were filed in 2021 due to accessibility issues. Don't think that you're protected because your site is too small to be targeted by plan tiffs. Small and medium businesses have been subjected to a 300% increase in lawsuits in recent years. The average settlement has been around $25,000 per suit. Even small Shopify sellers have been hit. It can happen to any mom-and-pop site however many larger retailers are being targeted like Target, Netflix, Nike and Amazon. So, what can you do to protect yourself? You need to audit your website and online services to ensure it meets the WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 compliancy.
You don’t want to fall victim to lawsuits, so whether you have a new or old site, the first step is to run an audit to see if it meets the WCAG (Level A - AAA) accessibility compliancy. The WCAG recommends that businesses make their website as accessible as possible.