Over the past decade, the amount of lawsuits related to accessibility has skyrocketed. Back in 2013, when the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) established further support for those with disabilities in America, there were only 2,722 total lawsuits filed. However, last year in 2021, there were 11,452 total lawsuits, representing a 320% increase in total lawsuits filed related to disabilities.
While these lawsuits relate to a range of different sectors and individual battles, there is one common thread that has equally been on the rise over recent years – internet accessibility lawsuits.
Mitigate Your Chance of a Web Accessibility Lawsuit in the First Place
A claim can be brought on against any company, by anyone, at any time, and for any number of reasons, meaning it’s impossible to create a company website that is completely protected. However, if you follow these four general steps, you should be well on your way to having an accessible site that can prove its level of accessibility against any claim that comes your way:
- Follow WCAG 2.1 Guidelines – The WCAG 2.1 checklist is a large list of all the different accessibility elements that are protected under the ADA. Move through this checklist, ensuring that you adhere to every single point. When in doubt, always go back to the guidelines.
- Perform an Audit Scan – Many web accessibility companies provide a free, web-based accessibility evaluation, with you only needing to put your website’s link into the service for them to do a rudimentary scan of your site. Find where you’re falling short and remediate the issues and, in doing so, you’ll be able to increase your accessibility score as much as possible until you’re covering all your bases.
- Increase Visibility – Visibility options are one of the major sections where websites will fail the accessibility guidelines. Whether it be poor color schemes that don’t allow some people to read or flashing images, there are a range of ways that visual elements can interfere with accessibility. Always be sure to make a list of different visual elements that you must adhere to as per the WCAG guidelines and stick to them.
- Think Going Forward – While your current content may be perfectly optimized for accessibility, that doesn’t mean that once you release a new blog post or product page, that it will automatically carry over those same attributes. Keep accessibility guidelines in mind while uploading new content so that you won’t have to go back and make the remediation all the time.
If manually remediating your small business website deems expensive and time-consuming, you can always turn to automated web accessibility solutions, such as overlays. These widgets essentially sit on top of your website’s pages, remediating content to be accessible without actually changing the source code.
By following these four steps, you’ll be able to mitigate your chance of a lawsuit in the first place, but again, nothing is 100%.
A Look Into accessiBe’s Litigation Support Package
Now that we’ve gone over how to mitigate the chance of a lawsuit in the first place, let’s take a look at an excellent option if you have been hit by one.
Web accessibility company accessiBe has a Litigation Support Package for companies in this situation. Clients will receive monthly audits of their site and an accessibility statement, which should be enough to stop the lawsuit, but just in case, there’s more.
You will receive documentation and testing, including line-by-line assessment and responses to every accessibility complaint, a range of legally-vetted suggestions for all case scenarios, two third party audits performed, and ongoing support from their team.
All of these items will most likely be enough to prove to the court that you are a responsible business owner who is putting the importance of having an accessible website on the top of your list.
Web accessibility lawsuits are on the rise, and every business is at risk. It is more important than ever to be on top of your business site’s accessibility. Help your site become more accessible to the over 1 billion people worldwide that have a disability. Continuously check the WCAG guidelines, use accessibility checker tools, and use an overlay solution if needed.
If a claim is made against you, accessiBe’s Litigation Support Package is there to help.
Sponsored by accessiBe