Avoid Digital ADA Lawsuits with the Help of EcomBack
EcomBack has a dedicated team of trained experts who can fix your website according to the ADA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
Fixing the accessibility errors of your website is time-consuming but can make a big difference. It’s important for your customers with disabilities to have an equal experience when they are browsing or shopping on your site.
You can avoid expensive ADA federal lawsuits with these necessary steps listed below. We can help your website be ADA-compliant with our expert ADA Accessibility & WCAG Compliance Services.
The Answer You Need to Know: What is ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is federal legislation that guarantees equality for people with disabilities. This landmark law bans discrimination against disabled persons and mandates that all public places of accommodation be accessible. Electronic media, websites, apps, and ATM machines are examples of today’s technology that fall under this definition.
How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to websites?
According to the Census Bureau, 56.7 million Americans have a disability. 59.6% of the U.S. population with disabilities were living in a household with internet access (Statista). Because technology is as essential to them as it is to able-bodied individuals, a website must be usable by everyone regardless of impairment.
It is critical that your website be accessible by keyboard and mouse, include captions on videos, and have alternative text for images. The material must be readable, broad, and free of seizure-causing elements. Last but not least, the website must be responsive and function in a structured manner across various devices.
A website’s navigation should be simple enough that no more than a few steps are required to comprehend, process, or finish an online transaction.
What are the ways in which people with disabilities use a website?
People with various disabilities use AI-assistive technologies and screen reader software to access digital information and content. There are also several types of assistive tools, such as blind or mobility devices, that help an individual access a website with little to no difficulty.
Who is qualified for ADA protection?
Your website needs to be accessible for users with:
- Hearing loss
- Low vision
- Learning disabilities
- Cognitive limitations
- Limited movement
- Speech disabilities
There are three reasons why a person is qualified for ADA protection. If a person has a long-term condition that affects their basic life activity, they are eligible for disability benefits. This also included people who are regarded as having a disability. Lastly, if they associate themselves with a person with a disability, they too can qualify.
The ADA refers to physical or mental impairments that substantially restrict one or more major life activities for six months or longer.
What happens if your website disobeys guidelines for accessibility?
You may face personal plaintiffs’ claims and hefty penalties from various government agencies.
In the United States alone, there were only three ADA non-compliance website lawsuit cases in 2015. In 2021, 4,055 lawsuits were filed. Because users were not able to read, process, or understand the site’s content, or they were unable to complete an online transaction in one way or another, 74% of these litigations have been directed towards e-commerce websites.
Because a lawsuit can be easily filed against an e-commerce firm, there is a lot of focus on them from a legal standpoint. This is due to the fact that e-commerce platforms are complex; they evolve rapidly, and many third-party features are added to the website, making it critical for online store owners to keep an eye on accessibility and functionality for all elements introduced to their site.
ADA standards apply to businesses and organizations in every country. The U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and many other nations, must follow ADA rules. Places of public accommodation are covered by ADA requirements in the United States. This includes e-commerce websites, service-based firms with brick-and-mortar operations, government websites, and non-profit organizations.
Americans with disabilities, their friends, family, and caregivers, as well as private employers with 15 or more workers, organizations working for public benefit, as well as state and local governments, are all affected by the law.
Keep reading to learn how EcomBack can help you avoid ADA violations.
Digital ADA Lawsuit Statistics:
- The top states where lawsuits have been filed are mainly New York, California, and Florida. The number of lawsuits in New York more than doubled compared to California digital ADA lawsuits.
- Settlements that target smaller and midsized businesses the majority of the time are in the $5K- $20K
- The study finds that plaintiffs continued filing lawsuits at a rate of 10 per day in 2021.
- 90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology (AbilityNet).
- 98.1% of home pages had detectable WCAG 2 failures. (WebAIM)
- In 2021, Desktop websites had 3,235 legal claims for accessibility; Mobile apps had 296 claims; Video Accessibility had 150 claims; Combined Web & App had 16 claims, and Mobile Websites had three claims. (UsableNet)
- Based on a study of one million websites, low contrast is the most common reason (86.3%) for WCAG2 failures. (WebAIM)
What makes California stand out from other states when it comes to accessibility laws?
There are two California laws that allow plaintiffs to seek compensation in ADA cases. The California Disabled Persons Act and the Unruh Act allow empowering plaintiffs to demand anything from $1,000 to $4,000 per infraction.
The Unruh Civil Rights Act, which you may not have heard of before, prohibits businesses from discriminating against individuals based on their sex, race, age, religion, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, disability, medical condition, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, and primary language.
California’s Unruh Act has resulted in a large number of ADA lawsuits, accounting for 42% of all cases filed throughout the country.
Websites may be visited from nearly any place, regardless of whether you are based in California or not. You could be selling products and services in California, transporting them there, or having a client who is a resident of the state. Whatever your business depends on, you’ve availed yourself of California’s regulations by conducting business there.
The fact is that you may be sued from anyplace. Don’t put yourself in a position where you might be sued by people from all 50 states because your website isn’t accessible to everyone.
EcomBack are specialists who can assist you in reducing this risk.
What happens when a business owner is sued for a non-ADA-compliant website?
When someone is sued for having an inaccessible website, they have two choices.
- Defend the case, usually in federal court.
- A private settlement, which is what most plaintiffs and their attorneys want.
In both cases, the website would have to be updated in order to avoid future copy-cat lawsuits.
The chance of winning is quite low, and even if you do, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to recoup your legal expenses. If you lose, the plaintiff’s law firm will undoubtedly charge you a large sum of money in legal costs.
This is one of the many reasons why there are so many lawsuits. Plaintiff’s firms find it profitable to “surf” websites, seeking for any non-compliance, and filing a lawsuit on behalf of numerous clients.
How do you know if your site is ADA compliant? What do you need to do to fix these errors?
It’s fairly simple to check for website errors. Try Chrome extensions like WAVE by Web Aim or Google Chrome’s Lighthouse tool. However, the errors that are shown are only the automated ones, which are only 30-40% of the problem. Things that require manual review are tab navigation, pop-ups, and captioning.
These mistakes must be fixed as soon as possible since they have the potential to seriously harm your business. There’s a potential that it could be used in a lawsuit as proof of wrongdoing.
Rather than trying to fix the numerous issues that your website may have, you should seek expert help with substantial knowledge of ADA compliance, such as EcomBack.
There are tons of software that claim to provide AI-Assisted widgets or overlays, but they just provide the appearance of a compliant website. They do not address the serious and structural problems, which is, in essence, like covering up a hole in the wall with scotch tape.
In order to stay up-to-date and adjust to any new developments, our team of developers and designers keeps in touch with ADA expert attorneys to keep aware and adapt as needed.
Another service we provide is training you and your team on how to maintain your website’s compliance without paying any future compliance check or inspection fee. This will help you keep an eye on your website’s non-compliance areas, allowing you to identify the errors firsthand and fix them before it’s too late.
The Benefits of Having an ADA-Compliant Website:
- Small and medium-sized enterprises may receive a tax credit of up to $5,000 from the Government.
- You can reach a larger audience because about 20% of people in the United States have a disability.
- An ADA-compliant website provides a better user experience, resulting in improved conversion rates and higher rankings in Google search results.
- As a good business practice, having an ADA-compliant website is simply the right thing to do. As we would remove physical barriers at our brick-and-mortar businesses, we should also remove digital barriers for our online ones.
- It reduces the risk of litigation because having an accessible website is the best defense against legal actions.
- If you don’t have an ADA-compliant website, it may be a target for serial lawsuit plaintiffs, and you may be the next victim of a rapid settlement-driven lawsuit. This needs to be addressed ASAP.
We encourage you to take action right now.
Choose EcomBack for Your ADA Compliant Website Services
EcomBack starts with a free comprehensive audit to review the critical errors, alerts, color contrast, media, captioning, ARIA, page flow, and other requirements to ensure your website is fully accessible for people with disabilities.
We then have a 7-point plan to address the issues on your website.
We also provide an Accessibility Statement, free assistive widget, and general know-how – all with the aim to defend the current claim and avoid future lawsuits.
Contact us for a free website audit consultation and discuss the right ADA compliance strategy for your website and business.
- Fill out our free audit and consultation form
- Full accessibility audit of your website
- Accessibility repair
- Launch revised theme/code website training
- Accessibility overlays and statements