Website accessibility is a hot topic for website owners and developers. For business owners and managers, they’re just starting to become aware of the issues.
The fact is that there’s a growing chance that your business could be targeted for an ADA website lawsuit. ADA accessibility lawsuits have been on the rise over the last few years, with most of these lawsuits over the accessibility of websites.
What should you do if you find yourself in a lawsuit over the accessibility of your website? Read on to find out.
What Is an ADA Website Lawsuit?
You may be wondering how you can possibly get sued over your website. As you can tell, website accessibility is not a joke. It’s actually the law.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1989, the commercial use of the internet didn’t exist. It was used by government agencies and educational institutions.
There was no way to predict how the internet would impact our lives over the next 30 years. Today, we depend on the internet for information, shopping, research, and so much more. The average adult spends almost 6 hours a day online.
Imagine that you have a disability and use assistive technology to access information online. If you don’t have equal access to the internet, you’re shut out of a big part of life.
That’s why ADA compliance is such a big issue. Not only that, it’s the law.
There are several provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act that deal with different types of accessibility issues and hiring practices.
The one that concerns business owners and managers is Title III. This is the part of the law that prohibits discrimination in “places of public accommodation.” This is any establishment that is open to the public, whether that’s a business, hotel, university, or government agency.
You may think that your business is in compliance because your building has ADA compliant entrances and exits.
Your website is actually a place that’s open to the public, too.
What Do You Do if You Get Sued?
There is a growing concern among attorneys that businesses are being targeted because it’s “easy money” for the plaintiff and the attorney. That doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore a notice that your business is being sued.
If you received a notice for a lawsuit or settlement, it would be easy to hit the panic button. Your first step is to remain calm and get outside help.
When you find yourself in this situation, your steps are to assess where your website is out of compliance and remedy the situation as soon as possible.
That starts with working with a team of experts to help you assess the situation and put your mind at ease. They’ll provide guidance so you can handle the lawsuit and get your website in compliance as soon as possible.
Should You Settle or Go to Trial?
The big question that you’ll face in an ADA compliance lawsuit is if you should settle or go to trial. The vast majority of ADA website lawsuits get settled out of court. The main reason why is that it is much less expensive for businesses to settle than to go to trial.
Of course, if you find yourself in an ADA website lawsuit, you’ll need to have professional advice either from an attorney or from an ADA accessibility expert.
Don’t Wait to Get Sued: Prevent an ADA Website Lawsuit
In an ideal scenario, you won’t get sued because you’re ahead of the pack when it comes to ADA accessibility. Here are a few things that you can do now to prevent an ADA website lawsuit.
Have you ever heard of WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines? These guidelines are an international standard to ensure that websites are accessible to everyone.
You’ll want to know the basics of these guidelines. That’s an important first step to take because the more you know, the easier it will be to understand the issues around website accessibility.
Audit Your Website
Another step you can take to prevent an ADA lawsuit is to get a complete website audit. This will show you accessibility issues on your website.
For example, an audit may uncover that your PDF files can’t be read by assistive technology devices. It could also uncover issues around the alt-tags of images on your website.
There are a lot of factors that go into ADA compliance. The audit will see where your site stands now and give you the steps you need to take to get it on track.
Make the Necessary Changes
After your audit, you’ll need to make the appropriate changes to your website. This accessibility remediation will ensure that your website is completely up to date.
Keep Up with Changes
You have to understand that the law and guidelines around website accessibility are dynamic. That means that they’re going to change.
Getting your website in compliance now is a big step, but you’re not completely off the hook. You’ll need to keep up with any changes to WCAG guidelines and always make sure your site is in step with the changing times.
Make Sure Your Website Is ADA Accessible
One of the biggest fears of business owners is getting sued. If your website isn’t ADA compliant, that fear can become a reality.
If you do find yourself the target of an ADA website lawsuit, the most important thing you can do is to stay calm and get help immediately. If you’re not the target of a lawsuit now, you can take active steps now to prevent that from happening.
Our team understands the complexity of ADA accessibility using the WCAG guidelines and can help you make decisions to protect your business and get your website in compliance as soon as possible.
Would you like to know more about making your site ADA accessible? Contact us today and schedule a time to speak with us.