What should you do if you face an ADA Website Lawsuit?

Author: | Category: ADA Compliance
ADA Compliance Website Lawsuit

Navigating ADA Website Lawsuits: A Comprehensive Guide

In the realm of website ownership and development, the issue of website accessibility is gaining significant traction among business owners and developers. While awareness of accessibility concerns is on the rise, many are still unfamiliar with the potential legal ramifications.

The reality is that businesses are increasingly susceptible to ADA website lawsuits. Over recent years, such lawsuits have surged, predominantly revolving around the accessibility of websites.

So, what steps should you take if you find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit over your website’s accessibility? Let’s delve into the matter further.


What Types of Businesses Must Comply with ADA?

Based on how the courts have interpreted ADA standards, ADA web compliance is mandatory for websites that fall under two categories:

🏣 Websites for, or funded by, state or local governments:
Title II of the ADA requires organizations within this category take steps to ensure their web content is accessible to those with disabilities.

🏢 Websites for businesses:
Businesses that are open to the public (also referred to as public accommodations) must provide full and equal access to web content to all users, according to Title III of the ADA.


Understanding ADA Website Lawsuits:

You might be wondering how a website could land you in a legal quagmire. Contrary to popular belief, website accessibility is not merely a matter of convenience—it’s a legal obligation.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1989, the commercial use of the internet was still in its infancy, primarily utilized by government entities and educational institutions. Fast forward three decades, and the internet has become integral to everyday life, serving as a vital source of information, commerce, and communication.

Consider the perspective of someone with a disability reliant on assistive technology to navigate online content. Without equitable access to the internet, they are effectively excluded from vast swathes of modern life. This underscores the critical importance of ADA compliance—it’s not just a matter of ethical responsibility; it’s enshrined in law.

Title III of the ADA pertains to accessibility standards for “places of public accommodation,” encompassing entities open to the public, including businesses, universities, and government agencies. Crucially, this extends to websites, which function as virtual public spaces.


Navigating Legal Challenges:

In the unfortunate event that you receive notice of a lawsuit or settlement regarding your website’s accessibility, it’s natural to feel a surge of anxiety. However, the first step is to remain composed and seek external assistance.

Your immediate priority should be to assess your website’s compliance status and take prompt action to rectify any deficiencies. Collaborating with a team of experts can provide invaluable guidance, enabling you to address the lawsuit while swiftly bringing your website into compliance.


Settling or Proceeding to Trial:

A pivotal decision you’ll face amid an ADA compliance lawsuit is whether to settle or proceed to trial. The majority of such lawsuits are resolved outside of court, primarily due to the significantly lower costs associated with settlements compared to trial proceedings.

However, it’s imperative to seek professional counsel from either an attorney or an ADA accessibility expert to make an informed decision tailored to your circumstances.


Preventing ADA Website Lawsuits:

Ideally, proactive measures can help avert the prospect of facing an ADA website lawsuit altogether. Here are some steps you can take:

Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), an international standard ensuring website accessibility for all users.

Conduct a Website Audit: Undertake a comprehensive audit of your website to identify accessibility issues, such as incompatible PDF files or missing alt-tags for images.

Implement Necessary Changes: Address identified accessibility shortcomings promptly to ensure your website aligns with ADA standards.

Stay Updated: ADA compliance standards are subject to change, necessitating ongoing vigilance to ensure your website remains compliant with evolving guidelines.


Ensuring ADA Accessibility:

Fear of litigation looms large for many business owners. However, proactive measures can mitigate this risk significantly. Whether you’re currently embroiled in a lawsuit or seeking to prevent one, our team possesses the expertise to guide you through the complexities of ADA accessibility using WCAG guidelines. Get in touch with us today to learn more about safeguarding your business and ensuring your website is ADA accessible.


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