The ADA prohibits any private businesses that provide goods or services to the public, referred to as “public accommodations,” from discriminating against those with disabilities. Federal courts have ruled that the ADA includes websites in the definition of public accommodation. As such, websites must offer auxiliary aids and services to low-vision, hearing-impaired, and physically disabled persons, in the same way a business facility must offer wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and sign language interpreters, among other forms of assistance.
All websites must be properly coded for use by electronic screen readers that read aloud to sight-impaired users the visual elements of a webpage. Additionally, all live and pre-recorded audio content must have synchronous captioning for hearing-impaired users.
Websites must accommodate hundreds of keyboard combinations, such as Ctrl + P to print, that people with disabilities depend on to navigate the Internet.
Defendants in ADA lawsuits typically pay plaintiff’s legal fees, plus their own web acccessibility auditing and remediation costs. In all, the average cost can range from tens of thousands of dollars and above six figures. Furthermore, if the remediation is incomplete, copycat suits and serial filers can follow, meaning double or triple the outlay. There are also high intangible costs for a business, such as added stress, time and human capital, as well as reputational damage.
Federal lawsuits filed in 2017 increased 225% over 2016; this percentage would be significantly higher if it included litigation filed in state courts against thousandsof businesses. Retail businesses have been hit hardest, followed by hotels, restaurants, colleges, hospitals, casinos, and banks. But any business that maintains a website, regardless of its size or industry, is vulnerable.
If you have been summoned, it is important to retain the most qualified attorney who is not only versed in the Americans with Disabilities Act, but also understands technology and intellectual property law. Contact us and we can refer you to the best attorneys to help defend you against any potential online ADA litigation. In addition to having an adept attorney, we recommend having Subject Matter Experts like INNsight by your side. We can help determine your defensibility or if the claims against your website are frivolous in nature based on our audit of your technologies.
Bring to the table win-win survival strategies to ensure proactive domination. At the end of the day, going forward.
Since accessibility is a civil right, it is ingrained into government and legislation, and this is how it’s been perceived for too long. Due to this, traditional accessibility providers are used to catering to government and federal agencies who have always needed compliant websites.