The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was a landmark law intended to grant more opportunities to the disabled. Over the years, the ADA has broadened to cover the way companies conduct their businesses, including online. Website accessibility allows all individuals the ability to purchase goods and services via the Internet. But failing to comply with accessibility requirements could land your business in legal trouble. And it’s not just large corporations who could be feeling the heat. Our business lawyers are here to help you ensure your company follows these guidelines and not face the possibility of an ADA Lawsuit.
Understanding the Risk of Litigation
By one estimate, over 2,200 federal lawsuits were filed in 2018 and 2019 over accessibility issues. Most of these were aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses. Some of the suits included website access and the question of whether a site is ADA-compliant. If your business is hit with a judgment over accessibility, it could be financially devastating. It may even drive your company into bankruptcy.
No matter what sort of company you have, or its size, website accessibility should be a concern. That’s not to say that all businesses will face the same threat of litigation. No company wants the hassle of dealing with an ADA Lawsuit and lawyers in any context. And it takes relatively little to address any issues you may be facing. However, some companies are more likely than others to be sued.
Any business that has a physical location and a website should be wary. Websites are viewed under the law as a digital extension of the business, and therefore subject to ADA rules. Some federal court decisions have concluded that websites without a physical location must also comply. Increasingly, business in the United States is done online, and without an actual brick-and-mortar operation. So it makes sense to be careful, regardless of which industry you are in.
Which industries may be vulnerable to an ADA Lawsuit?
Here are just a few sectors that have seen litigation over website accessibility issues:
One business was sued over its website allegedly being inaccessible to blind users. In particular, the site lacked alt text for images. Alt-text is a website design feature that describes images to users who cannot see them.
Visually impaired users need to be able to access information on healthcare and health-related websites. Lawsuits in this area involve screen reader devices conveying website content to users. A number of healthcare and hospital websites have come under attack.
Car dealerships and automotive specialty shops are two more businesses that rely on visual images. And again, failure to comply with ADA accessibility rules could result in lawsuits. One litigant claimed that a number of websites did not work with his screen reading software.
Public schools are most certainly subject to ADA rules, so websites should be accessible to all users. Public and private colleges can also be sued. The hearing-impaired have had problems with being able to interact with websites. Non-compliant online teaching platforms may be vulnerable to litigation.
Other potential sectors in which websites may be subject to heightened ADA litigation include:
- Food and restaurant
Remember, an ADA Lawsuit could cost your business thousands of dollars to litigate or settle. It makes sense to review all aspects of your business, including your website, to ensure you’re compliant with the law. That’s where a dedicated New York business law attorney can help.
Trust The Experienced Legal Counsel Of Rosenbaum & Taylor
Our law firm helps businesses prosper by eliminating threats that come from regulatory and legal issues, such as the ADA. If you’re unsure whether your website is ADA-compliant, let us review it with you. We can also examine other aspects of your business to ensure there are no other problems looming on the horizon. You can count on Rosenbaum & Taylor for the legal needs of your New York business. Call us today.