Companies that have a presence online may be vulnerable to lawsuits if their websites are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. California businesses, including their web design contractors, should be especially vigilant about compliance. Statistics show that 84% of ADA lawsuits are filed in California, Florida and New York. Throughout the country, more than 2,200 website-related lawsuits were filed in 2018. In 2019, there were more than 11,000.
Why lawsuits may be on the rise
The ADA was created in 1990 to protected the rights of people with disabilities. In 2009, it was amended to expand its definition of who was qualified as disabled. The number of people who are increasingly shopping online compared to brick-and-mortar shoppers has been growing for years. ADA lawsuits may also be incentivized by the fact that legal fees are covered for the plaintiff if the lawsuit is successful.
Lack of total compliance high
An ADA lawsuit can be expensive for a company, costing as much as $1 million. An analysis by one company of 10 million web pages found that few of them were completely compliant with ADA regulations. Companies may not realize the standards they need to meet in order to be compliant. A company and the agency that designed the website might both be held responsible for a lack of compliance. This can damage company reputations as well as finances.
Companies that are facing ADA website lawsuits may want to contact legal counsel to discuss how to proceed. Attorneys may look at several different elements to a case, starting with whether the claim that the website or app is not compliant is actually legitimate. If it is, attorneys may also be able to find a solution, including modifying the site to make it compliant, instead of becoming involved in multiple rounds of costly litigation.